MORGANTON – Two regional titles in hand and Bryce Jergenson was not satisfied.
“I think me and the 4×400 meter relay team are going to have another one for sure,” Jergenson said minutes before this race.
Jergenson’s words proved prophetic. Polk County picked up a fairly easy win in the 4×400 and clinched a third-place team finish for the Wolverine boys in the process.
The relay win pushed Polk ahead of Owen in the team race, behind only regional champion Bandys and host school East Burke. Bandys took the regional title by one point, with his fifth place finish in the 4×400 earning the points needed for that championship.
Wrapping the 4×400 just minutes before a downpour soaked the East Burke track, Polk County won a seventh event with qualifying for next week’s 2A State Championships at North Carolina A&T State University at Greensboro. Jergenson helped report on three of those events, winning both the 200 and 400 meters and anchoring the 4×400 win.
Braxton Edwards ran the third leg of the 4×4 and also finished third in the 800 meter race and third in the pole vault (the top four in each event qualify for national competition). Nathaniel Rhein ran the second leg of the 4×4 and also placed third in the 300 meter hurdles.
Polk’s 4×800-meter relay team of Nathaniel Martinez, Cade Bryant, Jayln Thomas and Mark Teague clinched fourth place for the Wolverines’ other state qualifying effort.
Polk also earned three fifth-place finishes – Teague in the 1,600 meters, Rhein in the 110 meters hurdles and Steven Chupp in the long jump. Rhein added seventh in the triple jump, John Quay-Wright moved up to ninth in the long jump and Kris Littlejohn was ninth in the long jump.
Kanye Staley in the discus, Martinez in the 800 meters, Rhein in the long jump, and Polk’s 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams also competed and earned regional finishes.
Jergenson’s victory in the 200 meters was the slimmest of margins, with Jergenson just three hundredths of a second ahead of East Burke’s Spencer Goins. His 400-yard winning margin of nearly four-tenths of a second over Owen’s Davis Kendall seemed like a walk in the park by comparison.
” I have felt it. I knew he was there,” Jergenson said of the 200-meter finish. “I knew I had to get a good lean and I did. That’s what got him.
Jergenson’s return to Polk County gave the Wolverine team a spark this spring. The senior spent two years at Polk before transferring to Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy and then returning to the Wolverine campus at the start of the spring semester.
” I loved. Honestly, I didn’t know how much I missed it until I came back,” he said. “It’s definitely the track program I wanted to be with, that’s for sure.”