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WINSTON-SALEM — He didn’t know it until he did it but senior Dionte Alston became the first state indoor track and field individual champion in Hunt High history on Friday when he won the boys long jump at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A championship meet.
Alston, who entered with the second longest qualifying jump at 22 feet, 10.5 inches, set a personal best when he soared 23-5.5 on his last jump in the preliminary round at JDL Fast Track. That effort held up and Alston became just the fourth overall track and field state champion in Hunt history.
“I’m very excited!” he said in a telephone interview after his jump. “It’s an honor. I worked very hard throughout the season and I’m glad I did what I did.”
Alston was also happy that Hunt teammate C.J. Ward claimed a pair of fourth-place finishes in the long and triple jumps. Ward jumped 22-2 in the long jump and posted a leap of 43-8.25 in the triple jump, where he reached the finals, despite competing with a hip injury. Alston didn’t get out of the first round in the triple jump and finished 12th at 42-2.
“He’s been pushing me for long jump and I’ve been pushing him for triple,” Alston said.
Hunt jumps coach Will Edwards said that both seniors have been working extremely hard in preparation for the championship meet.
“The last couple of days we’ve prayed for courage, we’ve prayed for faith and we’ve prayed for growth and I think we hit all three of those today!” Edwards said.
Ward, who posted a personal record in the long jump as well, finished seventh in the triple jump at the NCHSAA 3-A outdoor championship last May. Alston, whose best long jump last spring was 21-8, didn’t qualify for the state 3-A outdoor meet.
“I think he saw last year where he kind of fell short,” Edwards said. “So we kind of overcame some obstacles from last year and once we overcame them, he came back willing to work and we put in the time. He’s just been a really hard worker.”
To put Alston’s winning jump into perspective, the state 3-A outdoor long jump champion last spring, Jamar Davis of Hillsborough Orange, won with a distance of 23-5.
“We put in a lot of work the last couple of weeks just tweaking little things and every time he jumped, he seemed to get a little bit better,” Edwards said. “So now I’m excited about this indoor but I can’t wait for outdoor season!”
Two other area athletes competed Friday, both in the boys 55-meter hurdles. C.B. Aycock’s Keontai Taylor was 13th in the prelims in 8.17 seconds while Fike junior Chase Eaton was two spots behind him in 15th in 8.20 seconds.
Led by meet MVP Kyle Durham, Weddington repeated as 3-A boys champion while Cuthbertson won its third straight girls championship.