South’s Miles wins state title
By Bret Strelow
GREENSBORO ó The bar stopped wobbling as Maverick Miles descended to the mat, and his father, Jim, followed an enthusiastic yell with an emphatic fist pump.
Miles landed and repeated those maneuvers once he realized the bar was still suspended overheard.
Miles, a sophomore at South Rowan, cleared a personal-best 14 feet, 6 inches to win the pole vault at the 3A state meet Friday afternoon. Four athletes made successful attempts at 14-0, and Miles gained separation from Southern Lee’s Logan Shearer, Western Guilford’s Ryan Doolittle and South Johnston’s Josh Bland by converting his second try at the next height.
Miles vaulted over the bar and clipped it on his way down.
“I was very pumped, but I had my doubts,” Miles said. “You get your luck sometimes, and fortunately for me that’s what happened right there.
“When it stayed, that’s when I started yelling.”
Baseball obligations forced Miles to leave the NPC track meet prematurely, and he won a regional title one day after R-S Central ousted South from the baseball playoffs.
Miles set his previous record of 14-3 last weekend at the regional in Asheville. He exited North Carolina A&T on Friday with the intention of returning to Landis and picking up his jersey for the upcoming American Legion baseball season, which begins today for South in the form of a doubleheader.
“Knowing that I’m playing baseball right now and haven’t had much practice, this is awesome,” Miles said. “I always wanted to win the state meet since last year because I didn’t make it. I’ve always had that goal this year.”
Miles overcame a rough start to remain in contention.
He entered the mix at 12-6 and soared over the bar on his first try, but his pole dislodged the bar. More pressure mounted when Miles missed on his second attempt, and he advanced on his final vault.
Miles also needed a third attempt to clear 14-0, the height that eliminated East Rowan’s Wayne Parker and Franklin’s Evan Spence.
“I was a little nervous at 12-6, a little scared,” Miles said. “I made my jump, though, and went on from there.”
While setting a personal record, Miles also earned bragging rights within his family.
His father cleared 14-3 as a South Rowan athlete in 1974, and he encouraged his son throughout Friday’s competition. Miles’ grandfather offered advice from the stands.
Caleb Henley established a new standard at South when he finished first at the 4A state meet in 2005 with a vault of 15-0, and Miles made three unsuccessful attempts at 15-1 on Friday.He didn’t set a school record, but he capped an eventful spring season with a state title.
Parker, an East senior headed to Western Carolina, settled for sixth place in the pole vault.
When Parker cleared 13-6, his pole dropped in front of the bar and his sunglasses flew off his face. They landed beyond the end of the mat.
Parker won the county title in mid-April but suffered an ankle injury during the meet. He returned to action last weekend at the regional.
“I’ve had a rough time coming back, but that’s no excuse,” Parker said. “I should be able to at least jump 14 feet. At least there’s four more years waiting on me when I get out of here this year.”
Parker tied a personal record with a vault of 14-1 at the county meet and spent the next three weeks rehabilitating his ankle.
He competed with a brace covering the ankle Friday.
“Before I got hurt, I was moving up through poles and it seemed like everything was clicking for me,” Parker said. “When I got hurt, it was like I started back over at the beginning again. There’s always couldas and shouldas.”
West Rowan senior Justin Avery, who didn’t qualify for the state meet last year, participated in two events.
He had the 10th-fastest time in the 200 (22.88) and finished sixth in the 400 (49.73). His preliminary time of 49.70 ranked fourth in the field.
Parkland’s Jarrell Elliott ran a 48.17 in the final and edged Matthew Jones of Overhills by 0.04 seconds.
“I ran good, but it wasn’t what I wanted,” Avery said. “I was trying to make it to the finals, but I didn’t have it to win.”
Jamel Allison, the boys MVP, led Mooresville to the team title. South’s B.J. Grant, who placed sixth in the high jump, helped the Raiders tie for 14th.
Nathan Robbins (eighth in the discus) and Nolan Stehr (11th in the shot put) also represented East, and Carson’s Daniel Yates finished seventh in the long jump.
Jacksonville won the girls title, and South Rowan’s Taylor May was the only county athlete to score in that meet.
May took fifth in the discus with a throw of 110-5 and beat her personal record by nearly five feet. South senior Olivia Jacobs closed a fine career with a 15th-place finish in the 1,600.
Clarissa Beaty (12th in the shot put) and Courtney Cress (13th in the high jump) competed for Carson.
Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or email@example.com.