1A Track: North Rowan girls finish second
By Paul Hershey
GREENSBORO — Friday was full of mixed emotions for North Rowan’s girls track team at the 1A state meet.
The Cavaliers won three event titles, Meloney Ramos claimed four top-four finishes and the 4×100 relay team broke its own meet record.
However, that all seemed somewhat hollow because none of it led to North’s ultimate goal of winning a repeat team championship.
An uncharacteristically tough day for standout Teaunna Cuthbertson left the door open and Hendersonville took advantage with its distance strength late in the day and rallied to beat the defending champions by nine points.
Hendersonville scored 19 points in the 3200 meters, the second to last event, and finished with 84 for the meet. North had to settle for second with 75, while Monroe was third with 67.
“I knew it was going to be close meet going in,” North coach Robert Steele said. “I knew Hendersonville and Monroe were going to be factors. It was close all day and Hendersonville had just a little bit too much for us today.
“There were some things that we just didn’t quite get done today. It’s a group that won last year and sometimes you go through that transition of being a champion because the champion becomes the hunted. Sometimes it’s as not easy to keep that emotional lift that you need to be successful.”
The Cavs were heavily reliant on Ramos and Cuthbertson for their point production and while the former had an outstanding day, it certainly wasn’t the best for the latter.
Cuthbertson did earn a repeat title in the long jump, but struggled to sixth-place finishes in the 100 hurdles and triple jump.
“Right now, I feel very, very bad,” she said. “I feel like we didn’t accomplished anything. We accomplished some, but I feel like we could’ve done better. I felt like we could (win) it again.”
Ramos claimed the 100 hurdles title, was runner-up in the long jump and triple jump and placed fourth in the 300 hurdles. She totaled 31 points by herself, earning her Most Valuable Performer honors.
However, even that didn’t seem to make up for a missed opportunity at her first team state championship.
“Overall I did pretty good,” said Ramos, who was part of Salisbury’s runner-up finish in 2A last season. “We should’ve been first, but it didn’t turn out that way.
“To be honest, I haven’t won a state title as a team any of my high school years so it’s disappointing going out without a ring.”
The day started out as expected for the Cavs as Cuthbertson and Ramos went 1-2 in the long jump. Cuthbertson’s jump of 17-10, was an inch and a quarter better than her teammate’s.
“The long jump wasn’t about winning,” said Cuthbertson. “It was about me and my teammate going 1-2. That’s what we came out here to do.”
However, Cuthbertson’s day turned for the worse in the 100 hurdles. She started well out of the blocks, but hit a hurdle at the midway point and lost ground as she tried to recover.
“I was leading and I don’t know how, but my foot hit the hurdle and I stumbled trying to get my speed back up and couldn’t get it together,” she said.
Ramos, meanwhile, took over the lead and surged to the finish, clocking a time of 15.34.
Something was lacking, though.
“It should’ve been 1-2 with me and Teaunna,” Ramos said.
Cuthbertson hoped to bounce back in the triple jump, but her leap of 35-1 was just behind teammate Tinka Bush, who placed fifth (35-31/2). Ramos’ jump of 35-7 gave her second.
“I really don’t know what happened,” Cuthbertson said of the event. “Honestly, I was thinking 1-2-3 with my other teammates, but it didn’t go as planned. I tried the best I can. I guess my best wasn’t hard enough.”
The day wasn’t a total loss for her, though, as she anchored the 4×100 relay team that set a meet record for the second straight year. Christen Jones gave the Cavs a strong start, Tianca White kept it going in the second leg, Tameisha Allen increased the gap in the third and Cuthbertson closed it out, racing not against this field, but their own time of 49.48 from a year ago. The new mark was set at 48.31.
“That meant a lot to us,” Cuthbertson said. “We’ve never run that fast before so when we looked at it it was like ‘wow, is that North Rowan? Is that us?’ ”
Ramos then finished off her day with the fourth-place finish (47.42) in the 300 hurdles. She started out strong, but Monroe’s Janieyah Collins came on strong to pull away.
“The 300 hurdles I felt good coming out of the blocks and about midway, I thought I could turn it up a little bit, but towards the end I died,” Ramos said. “I was too tired and there was too much going on today.”
Bush added a third-place finish (26.11) in the 200 meters and was part of the 4×200 relay team that was runner-up to Monroe. Jones, Allen and Akevia Charleston combined with Bush to finish in 1:43.74.
However, those points weren’t enough when Hendersonville placed three in the top four of the 1600 meters and three in the top five of the 3200 meters, and capped the meet with a runner-up finish in the 4×400 relay.
“They did very well in the mile and I’m sitting there thinking to myself they’re probably also going to do very well in the two-mile,” Steele said. “And sure enough they did and that created just enough of a margin.
“We came up a little bit short today on the girls side, but we’ve had a good year and we’ve got some things to look forward to and hopefully we’ll get better.”