CHAPEL HILL -- You'd be hard-pressed to find a half-point as valuable as the one Steven Bell of Southeast Raleigh scored at Saturday's state 4-A indoor track and field championships. Bell finished tied for fourth in the high jump, netting his Bulldogs squad 4.5 team points.
Of course, it took a clutch run from a quartet of Bell's teammates to wrap up an unforgettable day for Southeast. The Bulldogs held off New Bern in the team point tally, taking the team championship 62.5-62.
A fourth-place finish in the meet-closing 4x400 relay -- exactly the position Southeast had to earn to hold its lead until the end of the meet -- brought the title home.
"This was all team effort," Bulldogs coach Eddie Hardin said. "Everybody wants to talk about our superstars like Wayne Davis, but when you look at winning a state meet, it's all about a team effort. We gave a team effort today, and our 4x400 team was a perfect example of that."
Although New Bern -- carried by superstar brothers Andrew and Anthony Hendrix -- rolled to a meet record win in 3:21.79, the Bulldogs' Malcom Nunley made up a 10-stride deficit for fourth place on the anchor leg of the race.
"Malcom is one of our hardest workers, but he's always been a bit of a practice star," Hardin said. "We've challenged him to turn into a meet star and stop being a practice star. He did exactly that today."
Paris Reddick-Simmons, injury substitute Kevin Howell and Davis kept the Bulldogs in the race long enough for Nunley to get the spot the Bulldogs needed.
The top-six finish was one of 11 on the day for Southeast.
Davis broke his own national record in winning the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 7.05 seconds. Nunley was fifth in the same event and also sixth in the 500.
Bell added a third-place finish in the triple jump and a fourth in the long jump to go along with fourth in the high jump.
Jalen Holt was third in the high jump (6-0) and sixth in the triple jump. Reddick-Simmons was second in the 1000.
Garner's Ashton Anglin-Stone picked up the shot put state championship with a throw of 50-7, while Torrance Hunt of Durham Jordan came home with a new moniker -- the fastest man in the state, indoors. Hunt won the 55-meter dash in 6.25 seconds.
Green Hope finished a distant third (with 31 points) behind Southeast and New Bern. The Falcons did their scoring in the distance events.
Green Hope's Zak Roshdy led a Wake County 1-2-3 in the 1,600, winning in 4:20.71. Southeast Raleigh's Kurt Zehnder was second (4:25.16), while Cary's Mohammed Abushouk finished third.
Abushouk took the win in the 3,200 meters later in the meet. He was just short of his goal time of 9:30, winning in 9:31.01. A pair of Falcons joined him on the medal stand. Doug Black was second, while teammate Brian Spreitzer finished third.
Knightdale's Steven Merritt picked up the bronze medal in the 1,000. Wakefield joined Southeast Raleigh and New Bern on the medal stand in the 4x400 relay. The Wolverines were third at 3:27.74.
D. Clay Best - Correspondent