High school girls indoor track: Salisbury freshman could be next big thing

Published 12:01 am Thursday, March 23, 2023

By Mike London

SALISBURY — Romar Morris was the fastest high school athlete in the state in his heyday with the Salisbury Hornets, so the coach knows a born sprinter when he sees one.

“Coach (Todd) Parker kept telling me we had a cross country runner who was good, but that she wasn’t really a cross country runner,” Morris said. “She qualified for states in cross country, so when she does make it out to  indoor track practice, I’m seeing her run for the first time. Then I see her open it up and my jaw drops. I’m like, ‘Yes, this is the one!'”

The girl Morris was introduced to was Christyonna Lewis, who did fine in cross country, but sprinting definitely is her meat and potatoes. In a county where there’s an awful lot of good things happening athletically, the wide-smiling young Hornet who gallops like her feet are on fire could be the next big thing.

“I can remember being a Salisbury freshman and just kind of getting blown out of the water at the state level by the older guys,” Morris said. “But Christyonna isn’t going to be blown away by anyone. The potential is there for her to be great, but you know what they say about potential. Potential just means you haven’t done anything yet. So until she wins that first state championship, we’re not going to be saying a lot, but I do believe that day will come for her. She’s as talented as anyone I’ve seen. She’s just got to do the work and she’s willing to do the work. My job is to try to figure out ways that I can help her get better.”

Lewis is the Post’s Female Indoor Track Athlete of the Year as a freshman. If she stays healthy and keeps at it, it will be the first of a mountain of accolades for her. The moon and stars are the limit.

Morris guided a resurgent Salisbury indoor track program. The girls scored 33 points and placed fifth in the 1A/2A State Championships. They were a factor, second among the 2A schools.

“Last year, Salisbury had one girl at the state meet (Sutton Webb),” Morris said. “We took six quality athletes this time, and we’re going to keep after it.”

Lewis was at the forefront of Salisbury’s effort in the state event. Individually, she took second in the 300 meters (40.87 seconds) and seventh in the 55 meters (7.42).

“In the 300, she was second to a big-time senior (Albemarle’s Akala Garrett) and it was a close race,” Morris said. “That gives you an idea of how talented Christyonna is.”

Garrett is a University of Texas recruit, who transferred to Albemarle from Harding. She is an international phenom, the reigning Junior World Champion in the 400 meter hurdles.

Lewis and the Hornets shone brightest in the relays in the 1A/2A State Championships held at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem.

Lewis anchored the 4×400 relay team that won the gold medal in 4:15.59. Dashia Canada led off that event, with Cora Wymbs and Millie Wymbs in the middle, and Lewis anchoring.

Lewis took the baton home with a sizzling 1:01.14 on the anchor leg after her teammates set the table with 1:04 and 1:05 clockings.

The Salisbury crew won gold by nearly nine seconds. That’s an eternity at the state level.

Lewis was busy in Winston-Salem. She anchored the 4×200 relay unit that finished second in 1:48.69. She ran that event with Arnasjelle Corpening and the Wymbs sisters.

Millie Wymbs, a junior who was the Post’s Rowan County Girls Tennis Player of the Year in the fall, is quite an athlete and took fourth in the 500 meters in 1:22.52. Garrett won that race easily, but Wymbs wasn’t far from second place.

Corpening placed ninth in the long jump.

Morris took Lewis and Corpening to last weekend’s Adidas Indoor Nationals in Virginia Beach.

Lewis placed fourth in the 200 meter race for freshmen (25.71) and was honored as a Freshman All-American.

Corpening produced a PR long jump of 16 feet, 5.75 inches.

After the success of indoor track, Salisbury outdoor track has momentum. Morris reports 55 to 60 boys and girls are participating in the outdoor track season. The Hornet boys won back-to-back 2A state titles during Morris’ time (2009 and 2010), and he wants to see that happen again.

“We’ve got Salisbury alums like Ibn Ali and Nick Summers out here helping coach, and they’re pouring all the knowledge and experience they’ve got into these young athletes,” Morris said. “It’s good to see Salisbury track strong. It’s like a breath of fresh air.”


Girls indoor track

Performer of the Year — Christyonna Lewis, Salisbury

Coach of the Year —  Romar Morris, Salisbury

1A/2A State Championships

Tai’lah Ward, North, 4th, 300 meters

Aniya Brown, North, 4th, 55 hurdles and 5th, triple jump

Brittany Ellis, North, 7th, shot put

3A State Championships

Macy Miller, South, 4th, high jump