Prince Edward indoor track state champs receive rings

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 15, 2021

A major achievement in Prince Edward County High School (PECHS) sports history was recognized Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 12, at the Prince Edward County Career & Technical Education Center.

The 2019-20 PECHS varsity girls indoor track and field team was the focus of a ring ceremony commemorating its 2020 state championship win.

PECHS Athletics Director Rodney Kane confirmed this was the school’s first team state championship win since the varsity girls basketball team earned one in 1999.

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“I was excited to finally present this group of girls their rings for winning the 2020 Girls Indoor Track State Championship,” he said. “We wanted to present the rings in front of a big crowd at a football or basketball game, but the pandemic kept us from doing that.

“I was extremely proud to present Coach James Baker his state championship ring after 43 years of coaching. He has coached many individual state champions but never a team state champion.”

Baker, who was named 2019-20 Virginia State Girls Indoor Track Coach of the Year, said he felt very proud of the team’s young ladies in their effort to become state champions.

“Personally, it was gratifying to finally achieve this milestone,” he said. “I’m really grateful for the young ladies who made this possible. I want to thank them and my assistant coach.”

Dawn Woodard served as his assistant coach.

A PECHS Athletics press release noted each of the girls on the indoor track and field team made the all-state team in their various events and also received a state championship T-shirt. The release highlighted their individual results that contributed to the team win.

Makayla Morris was the state champion in the girls high jump, with a 5-foot-4-inch leap; she won the girls triple jump, with a 35-11 result; she achieved a personal record in the girls long jump, with a second-place 17-1 leap; she was fourth in the girls 55-meter hurdles, with a time of 9.35 seconds; and she was part of the girls 4-x-200-meter relay team that placed fourth with a time of 1:53.53.

Haniyyah Johnson won the state championship in the long jump with a personal-record 17-9 jump; she won the state title in the girls 55-meter dash, with a time of 7.46 seconds; she placed second in the girls shot put, with a personal-record 38-foot throw; and she also ran a leg for the 4-x-200 relay team.

Saye Woodard placed fifth in the girls 500-meter run with a personal-record time of 1:26.78, and she also ran a leg of the girls 4-x-400-meter relay team that placed fifth with a time of 4:35.01.

Shania Jennings and Naomi Jones also ran legs of the 4-x-200 relay team.

The other members of the 4-x-400 relay team included Jones, Keira Walker and Laila Jones.