Indoor track: Seconds galore for Rowan athletes
By Bret Strelow
CHAPEL HILL ó Teaunna Cuthbertson was one of five runners-up from Rowan County.
There’s no shame in taking a back seat to Burlington Cummings star Sherice Walker, a back-to-back MVP of the 1A/2A/3A state indoor track championships.
North Rowan’s Cuthbertson (55-meter hurdles), East Rowan’s Keith Leonard (pole vault), East teammate Daishion Barger (55 hurdles), Salisbury’s Alisha Bradshaw (shot put) and South Rowan’s B.J. Grant (high jump) all placed second in their best events Saturday on the campus of North Carolina.
Cuthbertson, a freshman, started her day with a third-place finish in the long jump. Her top effort was 17 feet, 71/2 inches, and Walker won with a mark of 18-111/4.
Cuthbertson completed the 55 hurdles in 8.52 seconds to hold off third-place Meloney Ramos of Salisbury. Walker, a senior who’s headed to North Carolina A&T, crossed first in 8.02 seconds.
“It was scary a little bit, and I had to get used to the competition,” Cuthbertson said. “It was good to have someone that could push me. That’s what I needed.”
Cummings won the girls meet, and North tied Salisbury for 10th place. Cuthbertson accounted for 14 of the Cavaliers’ 17 points one day after grabbing 19 rebounds in a varsity basketball victory against Lexington.
Southwest Guilford edged Asheville for the boys title, and East Rowan took seventh.
Leonard was the top seed in the pole vault, and he occupied the driver’s seat late in the event.
Four competitors cleared 14-0, but Leonard was the only one to do so on the first of three available attempts. He would have won if nobody had succeeded at 14-6.
Rockingham County’s Evan Sandling cleared that height on his second try, and the three remaining vaulters missed on every attempt.
“Today wasn’t the day,” said Leonard, a senior. “Just felt a little sore and had a lot of time off. It’s been two weeks since my last track meet. We had planned for 15 (feet) today.
“I’m just hoping to go somewhere else with it. I’m hoping I’m not done.”
Barger has a bright future. Last year, as a North Rowan representative and newcomer to high school athletics, he was third in the 55 hurdles.
SW Guilford’s Cordell Livingston, the boys MVP, overcame an early deficit in Saturday’s final and won with a time of 7.47 seconds. Barger had a 7.59.
“I wanted to win it,” said Barger, who later took ninth in the 300 meters. “I’m happy I at least get to go home with something and I placed, but I think I could have done better.”
Bradshaw felt the same way after stepping off the platform with a medal for her performance in the shot put. Her best throw went 36-5, and East Rutherford’s Gayshawna Watkins crushed the field with a mark of 40-61/2.
Bradshaw beat third-place Latoya Wright of Harnett Central by 31/2 inches.
“It wasn’t my best, but it was OK,” Bradshaw said. “I wanted to win first, but second is OK.”
South’s Grant pumped his left fist as he landed on a successful clearance at 6-4 in the high jump, and he clapped when Western Alamance’s Logan Elliston soared over a bar set at 6-10.
Elliston tied the 1A/2A/3A meet record previously set by North Rowan’s DeMarcus Stalling in 2005.
Other top-10 finishes by area athletes came from West Rowan’s Trey Mashore (55 meters, fifth), Carson’s Courtney Cress (high jump, tie for sixth), East’s Evan Webb (pole vault, sixth), North’s Yasarian Bush (long jump, sixth), Salisbury’s Dasia McGill (triple jump, seventh), Salisbury’s Emily Shields (1000 meters, eighth), Salisbury’s Ramos (long jump, ninth), North’s Dirika Mitchell (shot put, ninth), North’s JaLesa Stalling (triple jump, ninth) and Gray Stone’s Hunter Latimer (3200, fifth). South’s 4×800 relay team of Michael York, Tyler Kowalczyk, Dalton Johnson and Nathaniel Winslow placed seventh.
nLocal results are in Scoreboard.