Lady Dukes win multiple events at state track competition

Published 12:35 pm Sunday, June 4, 2023

For the second straight year, the Cumberland Lady Dukes competed for the state track championship. And for the second time, they brought home trophies. This time around, the team was recognized as one of the top five programs in Virginia. 

Over a two-day event from Friday, June 2 to Saturday, June 3, Cumberland finished in third place, picking up 59 points. Northampton was second with 66.5 points and Auburn High took first with 70 points. 

It all came down to the final event of the day on Saturday, the 4 x 400 relay. Cumberland finished seventh, securing third place overall. But while the team didn’t finish first overall, several of the girls won their events. 

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Seniors Nalonda Henderson  and Lakyra Bartee led the way, winning multiple events during the weekend. Bartee took first place in the 100 meter and 300 meter hurdles. She broke the 300 meter hurdles record of 47.09, set by Cumberland alumnus Annesha Harris in 2015, finishing in 46.35. Both seniors were part of the winning 4 x 100 relay team, in addition to Nakyra Bartee and Nevaeha Hobson. 

Henderson also recorded a school record, placing second in the pole vault with a jump of 9 feet. She also placed second in the discus throw and finished third in the 100 meters. In other events, Nevaeha Hobson placed seventh in the 300 hurdles and the team of Samara Long, Nevaeha Hobson, Nalonda Henderson and Nakyra Bartee placed seventh in the 4 x 400 relay. 

Lady Dukes look back and ahead

But now that it’s over, several team members are looking to the future. For Henderson and Bartee, who graduated this spring, it marks the end of one journey and the beginning of another. 

Honestly, I’m optimistic about my future on and off the track,” Henderson said. “Although we came a little short of the state title, I’m happy we collectively kept the main thing the main thing. Giving 110%, I left everything I had on the track and in my field events. I can walk away from high school track and move onto the collegiate level with a new and improved mindset on what to anticipate and accomplish in the coming years.” 

The same goes for her teammate Bartee, who said she felt good about the results. 

“We fought to the best of our abilities and as long as we did our absolute best, that’s all that matters,” Bartee said. “Let the next chapter in our book bring prosperity. I’m (also) feeling good about our new school records, so I’m satisfied.”  

“(It was) a fantastic season for the Lady Dukes, with tremendous parent, administration and community support,” said Cumberland head track coach Kenneth Jasey, adding that he was proud of the team and all they’ve achieved. That included winning both the regional and district championships, along with Nalonda Henderson earning the female 1B Region Track Athlete of the Year award.