Prep Track: North's Cuthbertson goes out in style as girls finish fourth in 1A meet

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 12, 2012

By Mike London
GREENSBORO — When North Rowan senior Teaunna Cuthbertson answered her phone on Friday at 9:30 p.m., coach Robert Steele was on the other end of the line.
Steele’s words were more than surprising. He told her she’d be needed in the 4×200 relay at Saturday’s 1A state meet at North Carolina A&T.
Never mind that she hadn’t competed in that event for a very long time.
“I think the last time was seventh grade,” Cuthbertson said with a laugh. “But I told him I’d do the best I could. Whatever he needs. Whatever helps the team the most.”
Cuthbertson isn’t one of those tiny rabbits who populate the dashes. She’s a powerful, muscular jumper/hurdler first, but she gave a fine account of herself as a sprinter in the final meet of a brilliant prep career.
Her last mission for North was carrying the baton on the anchor leg of the 4×100, and she chewed up the track, as the Cavaliers grabbed second place. Latesha Surles, Aniyah Johnson and Chasity Byrd ran the other legs that led to a silver time of 50.6 seconds.
And that 4×200?
Not too shabby. North managed to place fifth for four more points.
Individually, Cuthbertson won the long jump — by the margin of a quarter of an inch — for the third straight year.
She nearly produced two golds, but she was nipped at the tape in the 100 hurdles by Monroe’s Reneazia Collins.
The difference in first and second in that event was three-hundreths of a second.
“She was just able to stick her head out a little bit before I did,” Cuthbertson said.
Cuthbertson accounted for 18 points individually and was part of relays that produced 12 more.
North’s total was 41 for fourth place, exceeding a lot of pre-meet estimates.
“There’s been a lot of adversity, but these girls also have shown me a lot of resiliency,” Steele said. “They could’ve folded a couple of weeks ago, but they kept working, and they did a very good job today. Realizing it was her last time, Teaunna was focused today and competed exceptionally hard.”
Monroe, led by sisters Janieyah and Reneazia Collins, won the title easily with 101 points. Hendersonville (54) was second. North Stokes (42) nipped the Cavaliers for third.
North picked up its other points from Surles (fourth in the 200), Amber Carter (eighth in the shot put) and Sabrina Vann (fourth in the discus). Vann turned in a season-best of 111 feet, 6 inches.
“It was a battle out there with a lot of adrenaline, but at the same time, it was friendly competition,” said the affable Vann, who walked toward the awards area still holding hands with several of her most serious competitors.
Vann, Surles and the relay ladies allowed Cuthbertson, who racked up eight individual golds and silvers in state meets for North, to exit with a smile on her face.
“It’s a young team, but we did all we could do,” she said. “We accomplished a lot.”

NOTE: Gray Stone scored 29 points for eighth place— with 10 coming on Hunter Latimer’s victory in the 800 and eight from a second-place finish in the 4×800.