County championships on the line in golf, track and field
Published 12:01 am Tuesday, April 11, 2023
Wednesday will be a major sports day, with Rowan County Championships scheduled for boys and girls track and field and boys golf.
Eighteen holes of golf will be played at the Revival Course at the Crescent, starting at 1 p.m. Team scores are compiled by the top four individuals on each team.
West Rowan is the defending champion. The Falcons enjoyed a breakthrough victory last season at the Country Club of Salisbury in an event that usually has been won by either East Rowan or Salisbury.
East, which won the 2021 championship at Crescent, has been winning matches in the tough South Piedmont Conference and looks like the favorite to get back on top. East has three golfers — Landon Merrell, Jaden Sprinkle and Brady McIntyre — who have been shooting better than 40 in nine-hole matches.
Salisbury, runner-up the last two years, has a very good team, and is winning Central Carolina Conference matches with a strong group of young players such as John McCoy, Bryant Davis, Jackson Sparger and Bo Brincefield. The Hornets, who last won the event in 2019, will have a chance to knock off the Mustangs.
Carson placed second in one SPC match and could be in the running as well. Cade Cranfield is the standout for the Cougars. Harrison McCall is another veteran to watch.
East’s Merrell has won two straight individual championships, but there will be a lot of contenders for the title from Salisbury and East, along with Cranfield and West’s Tyler Kepley.
The Rowan County Track and Field Championships are always a showcase for some of the county’s best athletes, many of whom are already familiar to fans from basketball or football.
The action will be held at the East Rowan track, starting at 4 p.m.
This will be the first major countywide event since the death of long-time North Rowan coach Robert Steele, one of the county’s track and field icons.
South Rowan, which has exceptional distance runners led by Eli Julian, and East Rowan, which excels in the pole vault and usually has strong entries across the board, battled to a tie for the boys championship last season, with Salisbury’s army of sprinters and jumpers not far behind.
South’s boys also won the event in 2021. COVID shut things down in 2020.
West Rowan’s boys last won in 2019. North Rowan’s boys haven’t won since 2011.
Salisbury’s boys have enjoyed success at the state level, but numbers and depth are critical in the county meet, and the drought for the Hornets as far as boys county titles dates back to 1987.
East Rowan’s girls are the defending county champs.
Carson had a long string of county girls titles stopped by the Mustangs in a tight race last spring.
North Rowan’s girls last won the county in 2016. South Rowan’s girls haven’t taken the county meet since 2012.
Salisbury last county triumph was in 2010, and the last victory for the West Rowan girls was 20 years ago.
Just about all the county track teams have made some noise in the tri-meets and quad-meets that have been held as teams worked to get to this point.