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Lady Bulldogs cruise to AAA 4 x 400 relay title
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CELEBRATING THEIR SECOND CONSECUTIVE AAA state title, the Camden 4 x 400-meter relay team of Carleigh Vaughn (kneeling left), Imani Wyatt, Deniah Arthur (standing left) and Staci Sumpter grasp the baton which they passed and carried to victory. (Photo courtesy of Lu Vaughn.)

Leading virtually every step of the way, the Camden girls’ 4 x 400-meter relay team won their second consecutive AAA state championship in a dominating performance Saturday at Spring Valley High School’s Harry Parone Stadium.

As a a team, the Lady Bulldogs finished tied for third in the AAA portion of the event hosted by the South Carolina High School League. Camden closed the two-day meet with  46 points. Bishop England scored 70 in winning the AAA state championship.

Camden’s 4 x 400-meter relay team comprised of Deniah Arthur, Staci Sumpter, Carleigh Vaughn and Imani Wyatt ran the mile trek in a winning time of 4:04.77. Bishop England was more than six seconds behind in second place with a clocking of 4:10.95.

Sumpter, a junior, ran the opening leg of the event as Camden started from lane five. By the time the race reached the 200-meter mark, Sumpter had taken the lead and the defending state champions were off and running. By the time Sumpter handed the baton off to Vaughn, a sophomore, the lead  was more than five seconds.

By the time Vaughn handed the baton to classmate Wyatt, the lead was extended to some eight seconds. Like Sumpter and Vaughn, Wyatt would extended Camden lead as all that needed to be done was a smooth handoff to Arthur, a junior, who raced away from the pack to the finish line.

Camden girls’ track coach Angie Brennen said the quartet goes above and beyond what is required to become a two-time reigning state champion.

“These four girls embody our school motto, ‘Hard work pays off,’ Brennen said. 

“They have given up so much of their time on weekends and over spring break to put in the extra work. They truly earned it. I’m so proud of them knocking off six seconds from last years’ time.”

Each of the four relay team runners figured in Camden’s final point total with three of the girls finishing, at least, second in one individual event.

Sumpter ran the 100-meter dash in a time of 12.21 seconds which was good for second behind Waccamaw senior Tyaisha Edwards who ran an 11.95. Sumpter’s time was good enough to earn her MileSplit Silver Level. This is an elite status across the country.

Vaughn was second in the 400-meter race in a time of 58.50 seconds. Isabella Darce of Academic Magnet won the race in 58.46 seconds.

Wyatt was second in the 400-meter hurdles as she stopped the clock at 1:07.18. Maggie Massey of Strom Thurmond ran a 1:06.85 to win the event. Wyatt was fourth in the 100-meter hurdles which she completed in 16.34 seconds. Addison Berry of West-Oak posted a winning time of 14.80 seconds.

Sumpter came home fourth and Vaughn seventh in the 200-meter dash. Sumpter ran the event in 26.02 seconds while Vaughn was timed in 26.45 seconds in a race won by Edwards in 24.57 seconds.

“They are amazing,” Brennen said of the all-underclassmen foursome who took on and defeated teams which had many more state qualifiers this past weekend. “To have four girls go to the state meet and have them finish third overall in the state ... they’re a special group!”

The Camden boys finished with four points to take 27th place in the AAA meet.

The Bulldogs’ 4 x 100-meter relay team of sophomore Joseph Byrnes, junior Matthew Cassidy, senior Shymeik Corbett and senior Jalen Johnson took sixth in the event with a finishing time of 43.94 seconds. Keenan won the race in 41.61 seconds.

Camden senior Darrion Allen finished seventh in the shot put with a throw of 43-05.50 feet. Blake Arnoult of Mid-Carolina took the event with a heave of 49-00.25.