City League Roundup: Africentric Nubians capture pair of state track titles

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Africentric's Justin Fudge hands the baton to Deangelo Fuller during the 400 relay in the Division III state meet June 5 at Westerville North. The Nubians finished eighth in the event, but they won the 800 relay and Fudge captured the title in the long jump.

The celebration continued late into the day for Africentric’s Justin Fudge when he received an ice bath from his teammates several hours after winning the long jump in the Division III boys state track and field meet June 4 at Westerville North. 

What Fudge is just as excited about is the baseline for success he believes the Nubians set this spring with him being the only senior at state. 

Fudge, who went 21 feet, 11 inches on his first jump and had it hold up in winning the state title, led a program that had four other boys and four girls also compete at state. 

“I came in from the regional not having the best jumps and I came out here and did my best and became a champ,” Fudge said. “This team is a young team. I’m the only one who’s going to be gone, so this isn’t going to be the last time you hear about Africentric. ... They’ll be back next year and the year after that and I’m just glad I could be a part of it.” 

Fudge, who has committed to compete in track and football at Tiffin, helped the Nubians tie for sixth (21) behind champion Minster (41) as 63 teams scored. 

He also ran on the championship 800-meter relay (1 minute, 29.57 seconds) with juniors Josiah Smith, Kaylin Spence and Dan Wagner. 

In addition, Fudge, Spence, Wagner and sophomore Deangelo Fuller were eighth in the 400 relay (44.36), and Wagner was 10th in the 100 (11.26) and 11th in the 200 (23.01). 

“(Fudge) earned it,” Nubians coach Marcus Vaughn said. “COVID took last year from him and it hurt me tremendously, all the things he’s been through. Coming in to state, he was ranked 11th, but any given day, you’ve got to compete. 

“I believe you’ve got to keep your kids involved, to give them a reason to run. Track is a hard sell, but if you make it fun, you get them out.” 

Competing at state for the girls team was its 800 relay of sophomores Rachael Dwomoh, Makiah Ferguson, Ariel Grace and KyAshia Perry. The relay finished 17th (1:50.66). 

Beechcroft's Jayden Douglas competes in the 300 hurdles during the Division I state meet June 5 at Hilliard Darby. Douglas placed second in 38.24 seconds.

Douglas, Gossett 

place second at state 

A pair of City League boys runners earned state runner-up finishes June 5.

In the Division I state meet at Hilliard Darby, Beechcroft sophomore Jayden Douglas ran 38.24 to finish second in the 300 hurdles after placing third (38.73) in the regional May 28 at Pickerington North. 

Douglas also was a regional qualifier in the 110 hurdles. 

“Everybody told me (I was) going to do great,” he said. “I came in (to the state final) as the eighth seed (in the 300 hurdles) and I just wanted to prove everybody wrong and that I could do it. I’m always putting in the work to do better and it paid off.” 

In the Division II state meet at Pickerington North, Centennial junior Daishawn Gossett finished second in the 300 hurdles (38.69). 

Gossett also made the regional in the 110 hurdles but was disqualified during the final. He also ran on the 12th-place 400 relay (45.24) with seniors Aaron Bendolph, Ronald Darling and Terrick Gunnell. 

Gossett attended Marion-Franklin as a freshman. 

“He’s a hurdles specialist and was in the top three or four in every meet,” coach Bobby Witcher said. “After the City (meet), he made it to the regional finals in the 110s and 300s and in the 300s, he finished second (at state). It was impressive.” 

Others eligible to return for the Stars include juniors Khmari Loveless (discus, shot put) and Colin Murphy (middle distance), sophomore Azyiah Taylor (shot put) and freshmen Quentin Doss (sprints), Elliot Kohler (middle distance) and Jay Miller (discus). 

“We’re losing 11 seniors who were at district,” Witcher said. “We did a lot of positive and great things in a matter of months.” 

The Eastmoor Academy boys team twice landed on the Division II state awards podium June 5. 

Junior Isaiah Pressley finished fifth in the 400 (49.33) and ran on the third-place 400 relay (42.73) with seniors Cameron Foster and Larenz Lacking and junior Jaeden Valdez. 

“It’s a real good group,” coach Jason Lewis said. “All we were trying to do was come out here and represent the city of Columbus the best we can and let the chips fall where they may.” 

Also competing at state for the Warriors were the 3,200 relay of senior Kalani Booker, junior Devin Lloyd, sophomore Preston Davis and freshman Dominick Lloyd (10th, 8:10.1) and the 1,600 relay of Booker, Lacking, Pressley and sophomore Christian Monroe (10th, 3:27.35). 

“With how everybody recovered and got back in shape, we had a great season,” Booker said.  

Girls shine at

state in 400 

Two girls competitors from the City reached the state awards podium in the 400 with top-eight finishes June 5. 

In Division I, Independence senior Kapri Dawkins finished seventh (57.58) and Northland junior Nahdia Alcorn was 17th (1:00.21) 

“It was a good race,” said Dawkins, who will compete for Central State. “The background I went through helped motivate me to keep going. (The 400) has always been my best race.” 

Alcorn finished eighth in the 100 and fourth in the 200 at regional.  

“Imagine how much easier it’s going to be running next year,” coach Tom Fast said. “She’s a junior and had a fantastic (season).” 

In Division II, South junior Spiritual Wilson Foster Wright finished eighth in the 400 (57.8). She also was a regional qualifier in the 200. 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

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