PEMBROKE — With his competitors bowing out a few rounds prior, St. Pauls senior Dakota Oxendine kept raising the bar in the High Jump competition at Saturday’s NCHSAA 2A Mideast track and field regional being hosted at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and moved it to a mark he had never reached before.
After beating out his closest competition’s best mark by four inches with his jump at 6-feet 8-inches, Oxendine had his eyes set on a new personal record at 6-feet 9-inches.
“It was just different. It messed with my mentality,” Oxendine said. “I just got to get the mindset that it is just 6-8 or 6-6 and just jump it regularly.
“I’m going to take the bar and set it up at 7-feet and jump up and knock it off with my knee. That will help get my up there so I can throw my body over the bar. I feel like once I do that, 6-9 will be nothing compared to it.”
Oxendine was unable to complete his three attempts at 6-feet 9-inches, but still was the regional winner in the boys high jump, and is one of the nine athletes or relay teams from Robeson County qualify at the 2A regional for the NCHSAA track and field championship held Friday and Saturday at North Carolina A&T.
The regional title was the second title of the day for him after beating out the field in the boys Triple Jump. After winning the boys indoor High Jump in February, Oxendine has already improved his marks in the two jumping events.
“I’ve got to have a different approach this year. It’s my job to win it and be the indoor and outdoor champion,” he said. “I’m pretty confident that I can go out there and actually win it.”
Oxendine was also on St. Pauls’ boys 4×400 meter relay team that took fourth place to qualify.
The other multiple event winner from a Robeson County high school was Red Springs’ Jerome Bass. While winning the Shot Put title was expected coming in, the win in the Discus for Bass came as a surprise for him.
“I thought I was going to get fifth at best,” Bass said of the Discus competition. “Shot Put is what I practice all year round. I was just trying to get back to states this year and do good.”
After posting the best distance in the field after his third throw in Discus, Jon Carter from the North Carolina School of Science and Math edged out Bass in his final attempt at 120-feet 8-inches on the attempt before Bass closed out the event with his fifth throw.
His final throw proved to be Bass’ best, and he knew it once he let it go. The distance, 123-feet 4-inches.
“It felt good. Discus really isn’t my strong suit, but there’s a lot of great guys out here I’m competing with,” Bass said. “I just had to show them who was the best.”
Earlier in the day, Bass took first in the boys Shot Put, on his first throw of 48-feet 9-inches to beat out Donovan Pinnix of Reidsville at 47-feet 4-inches.
Jordan Waters won the boys Long Jump as well as finishing fourth in the boys 100 meters to qualify for states in those events.
St. Pauls’ state qualifiers include its boys 4×800 meter relay team and Triston Lupo in the boys 800 meters. Red Springs’ Dimitri Sinclair qualified in the boys 200 meters. Fairmont’s other qualifiers includeKiara Page in the girls Shot Put and the boys 4×200 meter relay team.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.