Chatham County athletes win outdoor track and field state titles

Three area athletes won four state titles


Chatham County athletes took home plenty of first place medals from last week’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association outdoor track and field state championship meets.

On North Carolina A&T’s Marcus T. Johnson Track, the county’s athletes competed in the 1A and 2A competitions, and three of them won titles in individual events. They combined for four championship wins in total.

In the 2A meet, the Seaforth boys finished third in the final team results with 38 points. Northwood’s boys followed in 46th place with two points. For the girls’ team results, Northwood finished in 12th place with 21 points while Seaforth finished 30th (six points) and Jordan-Matthews finished 40th (three points).

On the 1A side, Chatham Charter’s boys finished eighth with a score of 22 and Woods Charter’s boys finished 41st. In the 1A girls’ results, Chatham Charter finished 29th with six points and Woods Charter finished 36th with three points.

Here’s a recap of the individual state champions from last week’s meets:

Jack Anstrom (Seaforth)

Seaforth junior Jack Anstrom won two state titles in the 2A meet Friday, finishing first in the boys’ 1,600 meter run with a time of 4 minutes and 24.23 seconds and the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:30.24.

With those two wins, Anstrom now has five state titles to his name, adding to his 2022 and 2023 2A cross-country titles and the 2024 1A/2A indoor 3,200 meter run title.

“It feels good,” Anstrom said after the 1,600-meter run win. “It shows off the work I’ve been doing. Never mad to get another state ring.”

Anstrom won both races by a comfortable lead, finishing the 1,600-meter run six seconds ahead of the second-place runner and the 3,200-meter race 12 seconds ahead of the next finisher.

In the 3,200-meter race, Anstrom kept up with the pack for about six laps before he kicked into an extra gear and held a safe lead until reaching the finish line.

“I think there’s a lot of confidence in knowing what you’re going to do for a race, and I kept that true,” Anstrom said.

Will Cuicchi (Seaforth)

Seaforth junior Will Cuicchi also brought in another big win for the Hawks, claiming the 2A boys’ 800 meter run state title with a personal-best time of 1:53.83.

That was Cuicchi’s third state title in his career as he won the 2023 and 2024 1A/2A indoor 1,000-meter runs.

“It felt great,” Cuicchi said. “It’s been a very fun season. I’m glad I have one more year because I’m really loving it right now.”

Right before the race, the meet got postponed for nearly an hour due to inclement weather. To stay prepared for the event, Cuicchi said he focused on staying out of his own head, performed a-skips, wandered and meditated.

Laney Babo (Northwood)

Northwood sophomore Laney Babo ran away with the 2A girls’ pole vault state title, successfully vaulting 11 feet.

Because none of the other athletes vaulted higher than nine feet, Babo clinched the title after performing a successful 10-foot vault. She went higher to try to reach her goal of 12 feet which would have beat her personal best of 11 feet, 6 inches.

Babo recently won her first pole vault state championship in the winter, clinching the 2024 1A/2A indoor title with a 10-foot, 6-inch vault.

“It makes me feel like I’ve improved,” Babo said. “All my work paid off. I made improvement throughout the season, and I was able to show that.”

Other notable performances

Chatham Charter senior Lucas Smith finished second in the 1A boys’ 100-meter dash (11.08), third in the 200-meter dash (21.80) and second in the 400-meter dash (47.80).

Seaforth sophomore Ryan Yoder finished second in the 2A boys’ pole vault finals with a mark of 12 feet, 6 inches.

Northwood junior Julia Hall ran a 5:22.77 in the 2A girls’ 1600 meter run finals, earning her a third-place finish.