Lady Dukes claim individual awards, regional track championship

Published 1:45 am Saturday, May 27, 2023

After another dominant performance, the Cumberland High Lady Dukes are regional track champions. Competing Wednesday, May 25 at Sussex Central High, the team scored 134 points, compared to second place Riverheads, which finished at 103. 

It wasn’t just a team victory. Individual players also won regional awards, led by senior Nalonda Henderson, who was crowned the female 1B Region Track Athlete of the Year. This marks the third time Henderson has won the award. She also won the pole vault, 200 meter race and was part of the winning 4 x 100 relay with teammates Kaliyah Braxton, Nakyra Bartee and Christina Jones. 

“The feeling is indescribable,” Henderson said. “(Now) heading to states, my teammates and I have a mutual optimistic yet focused mindset on what strategic business to take care of. Since this is our last time ever on the same team, we plan on leaving our legacy as a remarkable one for the Cumberland Dukes.” 

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Also picking up awards at regionals was Nevaeha Hobson, who won the 300 meter hurdles and Henderson’s fellow senior, Bartee, who won the 100 meter hurdles. 

“Finishing the season out with this group, this team that we have, is a win to me,” Bartee said. “I’m honored to do this with them.” 

Regional scores, by the numbers

As mentioned, the Lady Dukes finished with 134 points and Riverheads came in second with 130. Also competing at regionals was Altavista at 102, Galileo with 80, Lunenburg with 29, host school Sussex Central at 28, Rappahannock County at 14 points, Franklin finished with 13, Surrey County had 10, William Campbell wrapped up with 5 and Buffalo Gap had 4 points. 

Cumberland boys also competed at the event, but they did not score. Senior Corey Frye came the closest, barely missing the regional finals in the discus. 

On the boys side, Riverheads took the regional title with 129 points. Lunenburg came in second with 97, Altavista was third with 66, Rappahannock County had 50, Sussex Central had 48, Franklin had 42, William Campbell had 26, Carver Academy ended with 24, Galileo had 21 and Buffalo Gap wrapped up with 20 points. 

What’s next for Lady Dukes? 

Now Cumberland High heads to the state championship for the second straight year. It’s being held at James Madison University on Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2. The team is looking to improve on last year’s result, where they finished as the first runner-up. 

“It’s going to be a tough fight at states,” Bartee said. “We are all gonna try our best and just execute everything the way we should.” 

Her comments were echoed by Cumberland High track coach Kenneth Jasey, who said the staff was very proud of the team and their accomplishments. 

“(We’re) keeping it still one meet at a time,” Jasey said. “We’ll continue to trust the process. I must admit, I’m feeling very emotional about our seniors’ last high school championship and our great relationships.”

Herald reporter Rachel Austin contributed to this report.