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Prep track: Two Rowan high jumpers win state titles

East Rowan junior Brittany Small didn’t have long to celebrate her high jump championship in Saturday’s 3A state indoor track meet in Winston-Salem.

“An hour and a half later, we were making the five-hour drive to Washington, D.C., to play in a volleyball tournament,” Small said with a laugh.

Small’s Piedmont Volleyball Club team had a championship weekend as well.

Small has spring, timing and technique, and those attributes help her excel in both sports. She won an international high jump competition in Australia last summer and was an all-county and all-conference performer for East Rowan volleyball in fall.

“She can do whatever she sets her mind on,” East Rowan coach Laurie Wyrick said. “She’s just so athletic, and it shows in every sport she plays. She’s s a self-made high jumper.  She always does what needs to be done, and she does it with a smile on her face and a great attitude.”

In the outdoor track season last spring, Small had success in the 400 meters, placing sixth in the Rowan County Championships.

In the high jump pit, she won the county title with a jump of 5 feet, 4 inches. She placed second in the South Piedmont Conference meet (5-2) and third in the Midwest Regional before improving to a personal best 5-6 for second place in the 3A State Meet.

That jump was one inch short of the girls county record that’s been held by East Rowan’s Pat Poole for more than three decades.

Saturday’s state meet marked the first time Small has cleared 5-6 indoors.

“It was a cold, very windy day, so it was a great thing we were jumping indoors,” Small said. “It was exciting to win a state championship.”

Small cleared 5-foot-6 on her second try. Hickory Ridge senior Elizabeth Olesen, who bested Small in the SPC Championships last spring, also cleared 5-6, but she made the height on her third attempt.

Small’s championship marked the second high jump gold medal in less than 24 hours for a Rowan County athlete.

North Rowan junior Michael Streater continued his surge with a championship in Friday’s 1A-2A State Championships at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem. He jumped a personal best 6 feet, 4 inches.

That’s an astonishing leap, given that Streater, a backup cornerback on North Rowan’s football team, stands only 5-foot-7.

Streater has come far in a short time. Outdoors, last April, he was only ninth in the Rowan County Championships, clearing 5-6.

But two weeks after that, he jumped 6 feet to take second place in the Central Carolina Conference Championships behind towering teammate Kenyon Tatum.

In early May, Streater topped the bar at 6-2 for fourth place in the 2A Midwest Regional. He was 10th in the state meet, clearing 6-1.

“He’s a great kid, works hard in the classroom and in athletics, and he’s capable of really special things,” North Rowan coach Phillip Bush said. “When we went to that meet Friday, I told him that he had a chance to win it if he did everything right. He got his frame of mind right, and the kid was just amazing. He got it done.”

An explosive athlete who also has competed in the 100, 200, 400 and  long jump, Streater was the only competitor to clear 6-2.

“He hit it perfectly and got 6-2 pretty easily,” Bush said. “After that, he was jumping by himself for a while, but he had teammates there who were clapping him on.”

Spurred on by those teammates, Streater jumped 6-4 for the first time. Then he barely missed at 6-6.

“He had a good jump, but he his foot brushed the bar on the way down,” Bush said. “He had a great day at a great facility. That track in Winston-Salem is one of the best things North Carolina has going for it.”

For both Small and Streater, the outdoor season starts this week.

“We’re excited about going outside,” Bush said. “We’re expecting even more.”

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