Hitting his Mark: Sprinter gives boosts to Blue Comets

Asheboro’s Valentino Mark leads at the beginning of the final leg of the 400-meter relay in the Randolph County Championships. (Bob Sutton/Randolph Record)

ASHEBORO – Valentino Mark is in a hurry, and that’s showing.

Mark set two personal-best times in a dominating performance in Tuesday’s Randolph County championships.

“Time is ticking,” Mark said of his urgency as a senior.

Mark, the triple jump champion, won the 100 and 200 meters and anchored the winning 400 relay as part of host Asheboro’s team championship.

Teammate Lance Everhart was a four-time winner as the Blue Comets racked up 220 points to runner-up Randleman’s 166, with Wheatmore third at 89 among the seven teams.

“We’re strong in the jumps and the sprints and the relays,” Asheboro coach DeNeal McNair said.

Asheboro’s Valentino Mark (Bob Sutton / Randolph Record)

Mark went sub-11 in the 100 preliminaries at 10.95 for his personal best. He posted 10.98 in the finals, ahead of teammate Elijah Woodle (11.28).

Winning the 100 after finishing behind then-senior Adam Cole of Southwestern Randolph a year ago was special for Mark.

“Redeem myself,” he said. “That’s the main event.”

Dipping below the 11-second level was important as well to Mark, who was wearing new spikes.

“Big deal,” he said. “I knew I could do it. I was already feeling confident. I slept good last night. I felt good the whole day.”

Mark, a 5-foot-10, 150-pound athlete, later had another personal best in the 200. His 22.51-second time put him ahead of the Wheatmore duo of Sa’Cory Maryland (23.88) and Dakota Ludwick (23.93).

Mark is in his third season on the track and field team. With the postseason just a few weeks ahead, he wants to be in top gear.

“I got better at it,” he said. “The form, the technique.”

In the triple jump, Mark posted a mark of 42-3½ for the title ahead of a trio of Randleman entrants. Mark joined Jaylon Moore, Woodle and Jalial Timmons on the winning 400 relay (43.68).

Everhart’s victories came in the 110 hurdles (15.44), high jump (6-6), long jump (23-11) and pole vault (11-6), repeating as titlist in the long jump and pole vault. Randleman’s Chase Farlow, who won the high jump in 2023, was a challenger at 6-4.

Asheboro’s 800 relay won in 1:34.53 with Moore, Woodle, Timmons and Luke Brumley. The Blue Comets ran away with the 1,600 relay with Matthews, Zacheus Jones, Cayne Duranceau and Brumley finishing in 3:44.26.

Zach Hazelwood of Wheatmore was first in the 1,600 (5:00.43) and the 3,200 (10:45.21), winning the latter by more than 1½ minutes. He also won both events in last year’s meet.

Trinity’s Giovanni Jaimes was a three-time winner. He won the 800 in 2:17.75, with Hazelwood second at 2:19.54.

In the 400, Jaimes edged Asheboro’s Kai Matthews for the victory with a time of 53.37 (with Matthews at 53.59). To McNair, that race was an example of Asheboro’s depth because Duranceau and Brumley were third and fourth, respectively, allowing the Blue Comets to rack up 19 points in the event.

“It’s a numbers game,” McNair said.

Trinity claimed the 3,200 relay with Riley Foster, Tommy Smithers, Mitchell Marin-Pulido and Jaimes in 9:26.5.

The winner in the 300 hurdles was Randleman’s Jay Richards (43.77).

The top thrower was Randleman’s Ty Moton, who captured the discus (126-7) and shot put (40-4).

By Bob Sutton