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CCC track: Salisbury boys win

By Bret Strelow
Salisbury Post
WALLBURG ó Smiling faces belonging to Salisbury athletes pushed through every open window on the right side of the school’s activity bus.
North Rowan’s bus was parked nearby in the lot outside Ledford’s stadium, and jubilant members of the Hornets’ track team celebrated a long-awaited sweep of the CCC championship meet by ribbing some of their respected rivals.
Salisbury’s boys, forced to play second fiddle to North for most of the last two decades, won a conference title for the first time since 1988.
“It’s been a long time,” Salisbury coach Mike Allen said. “A lot of times we’ve been second to them, and a lot of times we’ve been down the line. They finished second to us today, so maybe that’s a new trend.”They’ve got some good athletes, so I can’t take anything away from them. We were probably more loaded in some of the jumps that they used to dominate in. We had a lot of guys that stepped it up.”
When the Hornets won the CCC meet at Ledford 20 years ago, the result marked their seventh consecutive league championship counting four first-place finishes as a member of the NPC.A dominant run by North Rowan began with a victory at the YVC championships in 1994. The Cavaliers had claimed first place in 13 of their last 14 conference meets, and they finished second Wednesday with 120 points. Salisbury totaled 145.
West Iredell interrupted North’s streak by winning the CCC meet in 2005, and the Cavs bounced back to secure regional and state titles that same season.
“We’re a small team, and it’s hard for us to compete in these bigger meets,” North coach Matt Price said. “We had a rough meet, but we’re going to gear it back up and hopefully come out a different team (next) Saturday.”
North’s John Bostick, Daishion Barger and Rodney Smith swept the top three spots in both hurdles races, but Bostick accounted for the Cavaliers’ only two victories.
The Hornets had seven first-place finishes, including triumphs by Ibn Ali in the triple jump and long jump. He contributed to a pair of relay wins as a fill-in member of the 4×100 and 4×200 teams that featured mainstays Romar Morris, A.J. Ford and Robbie Pulliam.Morris (100 meters), Ford (shot put) and Darien Rankin (high jump) also prevailed as individuals.
“North Rowan is known for winning these things every year, so for the boys and girls to be able to win, I think it’s pretty good to crack on them just a little bit,” Ali said with a smile. “The junk talking is all in fun ó it’s no beef. They know they’re good, and we know we’re good. We just try to come out here and have fun.”
Salisbury’s Patrick Evans (third in the triple jump, sixth in the high jump) and Ray Hawkins (fourth in the high jump) finished second and third, respectively, behind Ali in the long jump.Ali, who hadn’t participated in a relay this year, helped the 4×100 team cross first in 44.05 seconds. Completing his leg of the 4×200 was more difficult, and Salisbury won with a time of 1:32.39.”The 4×200, I was kind of worried about it,” Ali said. “I didn’t think I would even be able to finish because I was not in shape at all. I’ve been lifting a lot, but I haven’t been running. After that, I went and threw up for a good 15 minutes.”
The victories by Ford and Rankin, as well as a pair of second-place showings by distance runner Philip Tonseth, pleasantly surprised Allen.Daniel Overcash, who joined North teammates Anthony Imes and Antonio Walker in making personal-best throws in the discus, finished second to Ford in the shot put.”I was one of the smallest ones over there,” said Ford, a running back in football. “It’s working hard in the weight room and momentum. You need to get your legs strong, and you have to explode.”
Contact Bret Strelow at bstrelow@salisburypost.com.

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