First Flight athletes set school records at indoor state championships

Published 7:21 am Saturday, February 16, 2019

First Flight senior Heidi Sabatini won the girls indoor high jump state championships February 9 when she cleared 5’4” at JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem.

With 18 other jumpers eliminated at or before the five foot mark, the 1A/2A NCHSAA girls indoor high jump state championship was between Sabatini and Kathlyn Mauck, a Mount Airy junior.

When the bar went to 5-2, Mauck, who had cleared every other height on her first attempt, was over again with a single attempt, but it took Sabatini two tries to make the height. Moving the bar up to 5-4 proved to be too much for Mauck and after three attempts, she was out. The pressure was now on Sabatini. If both jumpers went out at 5-4 the championship would go to Mauck on the basis of fewer misses.

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Rising to the challenge, Sabatini was over the vertical barrier on her second attempt at 5-4, which earned her the state championship and, as a bonus, a new school record to boot.

state championships

First Flight senior Heidi Sabatini clears the bar Saturday on her way to winning the 1A/2A NCHSAA girls indoor high jump state championship at Winston-Salem. Sabatini’s first place finish helped the First Flight girls place fifth in a field of 48 scoring teams. photo by Jeff Sides of

Sabatini’s win helped the First Flight girls place fifth in a field of 48 scoring teams. First Flight boys, with a first place finish in the 4×800 meter relay, placed among 54 teams in the meet that scored at least a partial point with more, like Currituck County, who did not score at all.

It was not the only Nighthawks state championship for the day nor was it the only new school record.

Finishing more than two seconds ahead of second place, Tyler Sylvia, Aidan May, Warner Campbell and Zach Hughes combined their talents to take first place in the boys 4×800 meter relay with a time of 8:26.14, just short of the 8:25.17 school record set in January at the Southeastern District Invitational meet.

state championships

In a race that saw the first three finishers run faster than the previous state meet record set in 2018, First Flight junior Zach Hughes, right, finished second in the boys 1A/2A NCHSAA 1600 meter indoor state meet championships Saturday with a time of 4:24.91. Hughes beat Lincolnton’s Daniel Hopkins by a fraction of one second who finished third with a time of 4:24.97. Jason Thomson from North Lincoln was the winner at 4:21.11. photo by Dan Loughlin of

Then, although they finished back in sixth place, the quartet of Jill O’Dell, Madison Pugh, Emma Byard and Maggie McNinch were still fast enough to establish a new girls 4×400 meter relay school record with their 4:24.96.

Another race of note included the boys 1600 meter run where the top three finishers were all juniors with times under the previous 1A/2A record of 4:25.45 set in 2018. Jason Thomson from North Lincoln was the winner at 4:21.11, while First Flight distance ace Zach Hughes was in second with a time of 4:24.91, just a fraction of a second ahead of Lincolnton’s Daniel Hopkins third place 4:24.97.

Results from the February 9 NCHSAA 1A/2A Indoor Track State Championships at JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem include:

Girls Team Rankings – 16 Events Scored
1) Cummings, Hugh M. – 76
2) Lexington – 43
3) Croatan – 33
4) NC School of Science & Math – 31
5) First Flight – 29
6) Carrboro – 24
7) Hendersonville – 22
7) Durham School of the Arts – 22
9) Ledford – 20
10) Research Triangle – 19
23) Northeastern – 8
27) Hertford County – 6

Boys Team Rankings – 15 Events Scored
1) Croatan – 80
2) North Lincoln – 66
3) Ashe County – 30
4) Kinston – 26
5) West Stokes – 25
6) Atkins – 22
6) First Flight – 22
8) Mountain Island Charter S – 19
9) South Davidson – 16
10) Northeastern & Walkertown – 15
18) Pasquotank County – 8
43) John A. Holmes 3

EVENT 9  GIRLS HIGH JUMP: 1 Heidi Sabatini (First Flight) 5-04.00
EVENT 13  GIRLS 4X800 METER RELAY: 2 First Flight (Jill O’Dell, Summer Banning, Madison Pugh, Emma Byard) 10:45.60
EVENT 21  GIRLS 4X200 METER RELAY: 11 First Flight (Mia Albright, Emma Hartnett, Maddy Wagner, Maggie McNinch) 1:58.17
EVENT 23  GIRLS 1600 METER RUN: 14 Madison Pugh (First Flight) 5:58.62
EVENT 25  GIRLS 500 METER DASH: 4 Maggie McNinch (First Flight) 1:23.38
EVENT 27  GIRLS 1000 METER RUN: 6 Emma Byard (First Flight) 3:21.59; 12 Maddy Wagner (First Flight) 3:31.64
EVENT 35  GIRLS 4X400 METER RELAY: 6 First Flight (Jill O’Dell, Madison Pugh, Emma Byard, Maggie McNinch) 4:24.96

EVENT 6  BOYS LONG JUMP: 9 Johmar Hernandez (First Flight) 17-09
EVENT 10  BOYS HIGH JUMP: 13 Christian Spencer (Currituck)  5-06
EVENT 14  BOYS 4X800 METER RELAY: 1 First Flight (Tyler Sylvia, Aidan May, Warner Campbell, Zach Hughes) 8:26.14
EVENT 24  BOYS 1600 METER RUN: 2 Zach Hughes (First Flight) 4:24.91; 11 Tyler Sylvia (First Flight) 4:43.88; 12 Warner Campbell (First Flight) 4:49.40
EVENT 26  BOYS 500 METER DASH: 7 Henry Stecher (First Flight) 1:09.98
EVENT 28  BOYS 1000 METER RUN: 11 Zach Hughes (First Flight) 2:46.32
EVENT 30  BOYS 300 METER DASH: 12 Henry Stecher (First Flight) 38.55
EVENT 34  BOYS 3200 METER RUN: 23 Max Bowlin (First Flight) 10:39.85
EVENT 36  BOYS 4X400 METER RELAY: 7 First Flight (Henry Stecher, Warner Campbell, Tyler Sylvia, Zach Hughes) 3:43.96