2A Track Meet: Salisbury's Brown second; Smoot scores 20
By Ronnie Gallagher
GREENSBORO — After jumping 6 feet, 10 inches in the regional track meet last week, Salisbury’s William Brown was the favorite to win the 2A state championship Friday at N.C. A&T.
And then, with the bar at 6 feet, 8 inches, he made his second jump.
Something wasn’t right as Brown rammed into the bar and plopped into the mat, grimacing.
“I got a cramp in my leg,” Brown reported later.
He then watched Topsail’s Will Thomas clear 6-8 on his third and final try. The sore Brown had one last chance and didn’t make it, ending his high school career with a bitter taste in his mouth, placing second.
He did give Salisbury eight points, joining Jaleesa Smoot as the only Hornets to score.
“I know it hurts,” said Salisbury coach David Johnson. “There’s always more pressure when you’re sitting on top. He saw the kid hit it before him and it puts more pressure on.”
Brown said it wasn’t pressure. It was his cramp.
“I tried to do some stretches,” he said, adding it didn’t help.
Brown actually came in wanting to hit the 7-foot mark. In last week’s regional, he was clearly over at seven feet but his foot grazed it and knocked the bar over.
“He wanted to go seven feet today and didn’t get the chance.” Johnson said. “He knows he could’ve gotten that.”
Instead, Brown looks ahead to his college football career at Fayetteville State, which, ironically, doesn’t have a track team. He said he will try to go to some college meets as an independent.
Johnson tried to console Brown.
“It just wasn’t William’s day,” he said.
And then, there’s Smoot, a freshman, who was in her first state meet. Johnson knew there might be some nerves so he gave a pep talk to the 14-year-old phenom beforehand.
“I told her, ‘You’re going against competition three and four years older. Just have fun.’ ”
Fun? How about single-handedly scoring 20 points and sending Salisbury to a tenth-place finish.
Smoot was second in the 200 (25.71) and 400 (57.01).
Her first race was the 100 meters and she showed no nerves at all. Her 12.56 in her preliminary was her career-best electronically and it qualified her for the final. She ran a 12.81, placing fifth.
“I thought I could do it,” Smoot smiled afterward about her big day. “It felt great. I can do better.”
She will, Johnson assured. Smoot has been running AAU for quite a while and running against older competitors.
“She has natural talent and speed and a great work ethic,” Johnson said. “Every coach tells me what a great athlete she is.”
In other events, Resean Bledsoe was ninth in the triple jump (42-7). Brown leaped 19-2 in the long jump.
DaQuan Robertson was 15th in the triple jump (40-2) and long jump (17-0). Terrence McElrath and Montana Harmon were 14th and 16th in the discus.
NOTES: Carrboro girls won the title with 67 points and the Cedar Ridge boys won. Cummings was second in each. … The first six places scored points. … Ethan Smith of Cedar Ridge established a new state 2A record in the pole vault by clearing 15 feet, three inches.