Prep Track: The elite meet Tuesday at East Rowan
GRANITE QUARRY — Carson basketball coach Brian Perry should consider visiting his alma-mater Tuesday afternoon.
The former East Rowan star might get to see his record of 6 feet, 9 inches in the high jump disintegrate.
Salisbury’s Darien Rankin leaped 6-8 at a recent meet in Mooresville and, with all eyes watching, went for 6-10.
“He barely, barely hit the bar and it went off,” Salisbury coach David Johnson said. “But he promised me, ‘I’m going to get 6-10.’ I believe him.”
It could happen Tuesday afternoon when arguably the greatest assortment of athletes in Rowan track history gathers at East for the annual county meet.
“I think its going to be a dogfight like none other because of the senior athletes who are going to be out here,” East coach Rick Roseman said. “I mean, they are world-class senior athletes.”
Three to keep an eye on are East’s Sam Sherman in the shot, Rankin in the jumps and North’s Johnny Oglesby in the jumps and hurdles.
Don’t stop there, Roseman says.
“You’ve got the best sprinter in the state,” he said, referring to two-time state champ Romar Morris of Salisbury.
“You’ve got some of the best hurdlers in the state from North (Sam Starks and Oglesby) and Daishion (Barger of West Rowan).
“You’ve got a high-jumper that could break the county record,” he said of Rankin.
“What the distance runners from South have done is incredible,” Roseman said, pointing to Michael York and Caleb O’Neal.
“The shot put and discus will be so competitive,” Roseman added. “It might take 45, 46 feet just to place.”
And don’t forget the speed of West, where C.J. Ellis and Tevin Gregory could challenge Morris. West could win all the relays.
Just thinking about Tuesday’s county meet left Roseman — and other county coaches — shaking their heads.
“It’s just incredible the amount of talent that’s going to be on that track,” Roseman said.
Roseman was gushing during his NPC meet on Thursday at South. East assistant Sean Rinehart, a former thrower himself, looked over at Sam Sherman, who was preparing to throw the shot and announced his best throw of the year was 53-9.
Moments later, Sherman heaved it 55-9.
“Early on, he was struggling to find his rhythm,” Rinehart said. “He’d call me on weekends to help him out. It’s nice to see kids care and not come out just to come out. They want to get better, not just for themselves, but for the team.”
“To be really good, you have to be cocky,” Sherman said. “I try to be. If you don’t have self-confidence, you’re not going to do anything.”
East will enter the county meet undefeated.
“It’s been a long time (since losing),” Sherman said. “I don’t want that feeling.”
Neither does Oglesby, who has been blistering his opponents in the hurdles and jumps. What’s his best event?
“That’s a good question,” North coach Robert Steele smiled. “It’s hard to pick a best one.”
Oglesby ran a 13.65 in the 110 hurdles on Thursday and is ready for the county meet.
“There’s going to be a couple of good races,” Oglesby said. “But I’ve got confidence. They’ll challenge us. They’ll do what they’ve gotta do and we’ll do what we’ve gotta do.”
Starks, who is being recruited in track and basketball, agreed.
“You better come to run,” he said. “Everybody’s coming to win.”
For Starks, it’s many of the same faces he saw in football and basketball.
“It’s that competitive spirit,” he said. “It goes from sport to sport.”
And then, there’s Salisbury, which is the defending state champ in 2A. Rankin is not a one-man show. He has plenty of help.
“There will be great athletes in every facet,” Johnson said. “There are a lot of seniors in both boys and girls who have put in the time and effort over four years. It could come down to the last event.”
“It’s exciting,” Roseman said.
Steele agreed. For the fans, it’s a can’t-miss extravaganza.
“There are real talented kids,” he said. “Anytime it’s a county meet, it’s a good meet.”
So good that Perry should join the crowd to watch. His record, as well as several others, could fall.
NOTES: The field events at East will begin at 4 p.m. … The running events are scheduled to start at 5.