North track gears up

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 29, 2012

By Ryan Bisesi
SPENCER — North Rowan track coach Robert Steele was a bit distracted Thursday in regards to talking about his team’s prospects for this season.
It’s the middle of an early-season YVC meet and that’s where his head is, as it should be. But if you’ve followed North Rowan track during the past two decades, it’s hard not to look ahead. North has 10 state titles in the last 17 years and a reputation that precedes it.
The Cavaliers boasted a boys state title last year and a girls crown in 2010. Last year’s title was the first in the 1A ranks. The midwest regional saw the Cavs win by 106 points against YVC rival West Montgomery. Steele recognizes the high expectations and counters them with youth. He says ‘young’ roughly 10 times when describing his squad.
“We’re a very young team,” Steele says. “There’s always that expectation of competing for a state championship. That is our goal. But we’re mighty young.”
The County meet looms Monday at South Rowan and that’s on the mind of most Rowan athletes. North won both the boys and girls meets last year on the way to a boys state crown and a girls’ runner up in the state.
“It’s a big meet and there’s a lot of emotion,” Steele said. “Hopefully, we’ll give a good account of ourself.”
Senior Johnny Oglesby is back and brings back individual state titles in the 110 and 300-meter hurdles as well as the long jump.
“He has to keep working for perfection,” Steele said. “It’s always good to have the veterans.”
Senior Tydler Watlington, a solid football and basketball player for the Cavs, has been solid at the shot put. Watlington threw 47 feet in a meet against East Rowan to get first place.
Meloney Ramos, who placed in the top four of four events at the state championship last year, is gone as is discus and shot put champion Garland Archie and triple jump winner Sam Starks.
Jareke Chambers (100) and Malik Ford (high jump) have made noise as has the 800 and 400 relay teams. Freshman Neegbeah Reeves placed second in the 1600 and the 3200 in an earlier meet against East.
“A lot of our guys are freshman,” Steele said.
Senior Teaunna Cuthbertson has been a player on the national level in the long jump despite battling a knee injury. Cuthbertson competed in the New Balance Indoor Nationals in New York City earlier this month. Cuthbertson has won back-to-back state titles in the long jump.
“There’s a lot of people with aches and pains and we just have to work through those,” Steele said.
Tinka Bush returns for the long jump, triple jump, 200-meter run and the 4×200 relay. Bush was third in the 200 in last year’s state meet and was part of the 4×200 team that finished second to Monroe.
“We’ve just got to work and keep getting better,” Steele said. “Hopefully by the end of the year we’ll be worthy of consideration for a state title.”