Prep Track: North boys to defend 1A title Saturday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 10, 2012

By Mike London
SPENCER — “North Rowan looks to defend state title” is a headline that’s been copied and pasted quite frequently over the years.
North has won 20 — count ’em, 20 — NCHSAA team state titles in track and field, taking 10 boys outdoor, five boys indoor, four girls outdoor and one girls indoor state meets, some of them in open classification competition when they were competing against 4As.
A pair of Cavaliers — 13-time state champ LaTasha Pharr and 11-time champ Greg Yeldell — rank among the leaders on the list of the state’s all-time prep phenoms.
Pound-for-pound, no one does track and field better than Hall of Fame coach Robert Steele and the Cavaliers, and they expect to be in the fight for yet another boys championship on Saturday at North Carolina A&T’s Irwin Belk Track.
Monroe is going to pile up points with its high-octane sprinters and relay teams, but the most serious competition for North’s boys is expected to come from the North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics in Durham.
Based on season bests, Science & Math can dethrone the Cavs, but based on regional times, North will defend its title. It’s going to come down to who produces peak performances with the pressure on.
Science & Math nipped Hendersonville for the boys championship in 2010, the first year North was in 1A, and Science & Math stayed reasonably close to the Cavaliers last year when the final tally was North 116, Science & Math 83. It was strictly a two-team race in 2011.
West Montgomery, North’s toughest YVC rival, placed a distant third with 47.
Johnny Oglesby again will be the centerpiece of North’s hopes and dreams. He’s the defending 1A champ in three events — the long jump, 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles. He’ll also be asked to contend for first in the triple jump.
The triple looms as a pivotal event for North, as always, because Corey Angle and Pierre Givens also will be counted on to provide points.
North can’t expect firsts, but it needs points from Tydler Watlington in both throwing events, from Neegbeah Reeves in the 800 and 1600, and from Malik Ford in the high jump.
North’s 4×100 and 4×200 relays also will be in the spotlight.
Science & Math poses such a serious threat to North because of its distance people. It won the state cross country championship and could dominate the 1600 and 3200 and have multiple scorers in the 800.
Monroe has three amazing individuals and figures to breeze in the 1A girls meet.
North’s girls won the state in 2010 and were a close second in 2011, but the Cavaliers are unlikely to be a force this time.
Teaunna Cuthbertson, competing for the final time as a Cavalier, will be the focus.
She nearly won the outdoor state long jump crown in 2A as a freshman and she has taken the 1A individual title each of the past two seasons. She figures to battle Monroe’s Jamie Glenn for first place.
Cuthbertson also has a chance to win the 100 hurdles.
Latesha Surles is a threat for North in the 200, while Sabrina Vann can place in the discus. North also has talented 4×100 and 4×200 relay units.
Gray Stone’s Hunter Latimer is a favorite in the 800 and a serious contender in the 1600, and she’ll also run on the Knight’s strong 4×800 unit.