Tapper, Dunford have top-three finishes

by C. Jemal Horton

Naya Tapper, a junior on the West Mecklenburg High School girls track and field team, took third place in the shot put during the Class 4A championships last week.

West Mecklenburg High School’s Naya Tapper and Hopewell’s Brandon Dunford had the highest finishes among a contingent of Mountain Island-area athletes competing in the 2010-11 Class 4A winter tack and field championship at Fayetteville’s Reid Ross Classical School on Feb. 12.

Tapper, a junior, finished third in the girls shot put with a season’s-best effort of 33 feet, 7.5 inches.

Dunford, a senior, took third place in the boys 1,000-meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 35.85 seconds. He also was on two relays that scored points for the Titans, who finished tied for 27th in the boys team standings.

Dunford joined Nate Nash, Corey Silvestri and Darius Neely to take seventh place in the 4×800 relay (8:36.73). Dunford, Silvestri, Neely and Dominique Heath finished 11th in the 4×400 relay (3:39.10).

Neely also had a 12th-place finish in the 300-meter dash (36.61), and Silvestri was 15th in the 500 (1:08.92).

West Mecklenburg finished in a 20th-place tie in the girls team standings. The Hawks’ other individual scorers included Michaela Williams, who was seventh in the girls 500-meter dash (1:20.90), and Richard Gladden, who was 11th in the boys 500 (1:08.22).

For 24 years the N.C. High School Athletic Association has offered indoor track as a sport, but the only indoor facility in the state – the Eddie Smith Indoor Arena  at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – is involved in construction this year and was unavailable. Therefore, this year’s championships were classified as “winter track” and included indoor events held at an outdoor facility.

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