Prep Track: East boys win county meet
By Bret Strelow
GRANITE QUARRY ó Wayne Parker lay on the pole-vault mat with 10 people circled around him as East Rowan coach Rick Roseman pushed through an opening with an extended right arm.Parker, his head resting on a removed shoe and ice covering his injured left ankle, slapped Roseman’s hand and declared, “I won.”
Parker returned from a hospital visit in time to celebrate an identical result for his team.
Parker produced one of homestanding East’s five victories, and the Mustangs repeated as champions of the Rowan County Track Meet. They finished with 166 points, 44 more than second-place Salisbury and 62 more than third-place North Rowan.
Parker, scheduled to participate in four events, secured first place and tied a personal record with a vault of 14 feet, 1 inch in the first hour of competition. He made one attempt at 14-7 but injured his ankle on an awkward landing.
“When he went down, I was not very optimistic,” Roseman said. “I’ve never seen a group step up in every event like this bunch did.
“To me, they’re like a bunch of mosquitoes. They’re never going to take a big bite out of anything, but they’ll just nibble away and peck away at every single thing.”
Mike Brecht won the 1,600 meters (4:53.78), took first in the 3,200 (11:02.44) and joined Eli Walton, Justin Holshouser and Brandon Dixon on the victorious 4×800 team (8:38.59).
Nolan Stehr won the shot put, and Parker finished first in the pole vault for the third straight year. He limped around with his ankle braced once he returned to East’s track and yelled out, “Watch my foot,” as he stood among a post-meet gathering at midfield.”I wanted to root my boys on,” said Parker, who will be sidelined for about three weeks. “I had three other events, and people had to fill in for me, so I wanted to cheer them on and let them know even though I was hurt I was still here with them.”
The Mustangs didn’t win a majority of the events, but they piled up 24 points in both the shot put and 3,200 thanks to sweeps of the first three places.
Stehr easily set a personal record with his throw of 52-2. Josh Patch and Nathan Robbins were second and third, respectively.
Ross Oden finished four seconds behind Brecht in the 3,200, and Walton crossed the line next.
The Mustangs had six second-place finishes, eight third-place finishes, two fourth-place finishes, six fifth-place finishes and two sixth-place finishes.
“Some teams win an event, but if we take second, third and fourth, just take all the little points, they add up,” said Brecht, the distance MVP.
Kenny Strother stepped into Parker’s spot on the fourth-seeded 4×400 team featuring Ben Hancock, Brandon Dixon and Justin Holshouser. The Mustangs took second with a time of 3:43.99.
Jacobius Jones had never run the 4×100 before, but he joined Hancock, Cameron Brown and Luke Wilkinson. The sixth-seeded team placed third with a time of 45.54 seconds.
Jones also scored with personal-best efforts in the triple jump (second, 43-8), long jump (fifth, 19-6) and high jump (fifth, 5-6).
“Jacobius was so big,” Roseman said. “Everybody was so big. It’s just amazing how they stepped up big-time in a big meet.”
East, which won back-to-back titles in 1975 and 1976, became the first boys team other than North Rowan to repeat in 21 years.
Salisbury finished ahead of North for the first time since 1987, when the Hornets won the last of their six consecutive titles. Ibn Ali was named the field events MVP after winning two events (long jump, triple jump), and the 4×100 team of A.J. Ford, Dario Hamilton, Romar Morris and Robbie Pulliam finished first.
North’s first-place finishes came from John Bostick (110 hurdles, 300 hurdles), Anthony Imes (discus) and the 4×400 team of Bostick, Corey Angle, Cameron Mallett and Rodney Smith. Daishion Barger and Smith joined Bostick in the top three of both hurdles races.
West Rowan, led by sprints MVP Justin Avery, finished fourth. Avery won the 400 (51.17), 200 (22.15) and 100 (10.69). He also ran the anchor leg on the victorious 4×200 relay team that included Jordan Lilly, Clay Browning and Trey Mashore.
Avery, a relative newcomer to the 100, edged Morris by one-hundredth of a second.
“That was the biggest surprise,” Avery said. “Adrenaline, the rush, I don’t know where it came from.”
South, which finished fifth, had first-place showings from Nathaniel Winslow (800) and B.J. Grant (high jump).
Daniel Yates led sixth-place Carson with a third-place finish in the long jump.
Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or firstname.lastname@example.org.