High school boys track and field: Steele remembered as Cougars make history

Published 12:01 am Sunday, April 16, 2023

By Mike London

GRANITE QUARRY —  Carson Aman is a good defensive back for Carson football, but it’s safe to say that the majority of the county’s sports fans had never heard of the junior athlete before Wednesday.

Aman now is known to just about everyone. He turned in one of the most awesome days in the long history of the Rowan County Track and Field Championships, winning all three jumps and placing second in the 400 meters. That’s 38 points from one guy, and he propelled Carson’s boys track program, which has been around since the 2006-07 school year, to the first county team title the Cougars have ever won.

The point totals: Carson 144.5, Salisbury 120.5, East Rowan 91, South Rowan 86, North Rowan 66, West Rowan 43.

“A great day for Carson Aman and a great day for Carson all-around,” said beaming Carson head coach Jonathan Lowe. “Aman was the star of the show. He is a very good sprinter and he was anchoring our relays early this season. He hasn’t been a jumper long. We thought he might be able to hold his own in the long jump, so we put him the long jump a few weeks ago and he goes 21 feet in his first meet, and we’re like, ‘Oh, my goodness.’ So we tried him in the high jump and he walks over there and jumps 6 feet. And then he goes past 40 feet in the triple jump. He’s a talented guy. He’s a very good football player, but he might be great in track.”

Many draining jumps are required in the course of a county meet, with competitors going back and forth from the end zone high jump pit to the sideline pit where the long jump and triple jump competitions are conducted.

“When the high jump event got down to Aman and (teammate) Damir Miller, we knew we had the points for first and second sewed up,” Lowe said. “I told those two to take it easy, to not use any more energy. They just looked at me and smiled. They were enjoying competing with each other. So I said, ‘Well, OK, go for it.’ ”

It had to be exhausting as well as exhilarating for Aman, whose performance topped even the legendary effort of Cougar Brenden Westbrook a few years ago. At the 2017 county championships, Westbrook won two jumps, placed second in the other and still had enough left to finish fourth in the 200.

Aman picked the perfect day for his breakout performance at the East Rowan track.  The county track meet’s history dates back to 1969. One of  East’s students in 1969 was Robert Steele, who would become a national figure in high school track and field during his days as North Rowan’s coach. The Rowan County Track and Field Championships were dedicated to Steele on Wednesday and the marquee event will be known henceforth as the Robert Steele Rowan County Track and Field Championships.

While Aman was Carson’s only individual winner, the Cougars claimed an emotional relay victory in the 4×800. Connor Price, James Anderson, Jon Pendleton and Gabe Honeycutt got it done, prevailing in a spirited battle with South and Salisbury.

The Cougars had other solid jumpers placing behind Aman in Miller and Nehemiah Baldwin.

Carson added 37 distance points from athletes such as Jorge Clemente-Garcia, who chased South standout Eli Julian in the 1600 and 3200.

“Looking at the numbers before the meet, we knew we had a shot at winning if everyone did what they were supposed to do,” Lowe said. “We didn’t know if we would count on any sprint points, but then we went and got 19. We only had one guy in the throws, but Tristen McBride got critical points in both events. Our relays were strong. Our distance crew — you’re not going to beat Eli Julian, he’s phenomenal — but all of our guys did extremely well.”

Second-place Salisbury was able to nip the Cougars in the relays and doubled Carson in sprint points, but was clobbered by the Cougars in the distance events (37 points to 8). And Aman was a difference-maker, accumulating more jumping points than the Hornets’ team.

Sean Young won the 100 and 200 with PR efforts for the Hornets. Jamal Rule won the 400 in a personal best 51.54 seconds, and the Hornets also took the 4×400, with Rule anchoring.

While South finished third, the Raiders made a splash. A long-standing meet record was broken by Julian, South’s elite junior distance runner who won a 3A state championship during the indoor track season.

East Rowan’s Benjamin Frick ran 9:53.39 in the 3200 meters in 1994, a county meet standard that lasted until Wednesday when Julian ran 9:49.18, a sensational clocking that puts him in the top 10 in the state. Julian is Frick’s nephew, so the record will stay in the family.

Julian, to the surprise of no one, also won the 1600.

South’ got a second place in the shot put from young thrower Sawyer Sifford, but the Raiders’ impact came mostly in the distance events. The Raiders got 51 of their 86 points in distance. Grayson Cromer won the 800 with a PR and took third in the 3200. Bricen Burleson had a second in the 1600 and a third in the 800.

Seth Drake won the pole vault for East, and the Mustangs went 1-2-3 in that event with Carson Greene and Cohen Self for a sizable chunk of their 91 points. East also fared well in the hurdles — Cameron Ritchie had two silvers— but East didn’t get many points from the sprint and distance events.

Quintin Wilson was a double winner for North, sweeping the 110 and 300 hurdles (a PR 43.16 seconds) and also ran a leg on the winning 4×200 team.  KaMahri Feamster had a PR to win the shot put. Despite posting only 66 points, North’s small squad won five events. The Cavaliers took the 4×100 as well as the 4×200.

Kemon O’Kelly placed second for the Cavaliers in the 100.

West could take some pride in a first place from Landon Jacobs, who had a personal best n the discus, and the Falcons also made a little noise in the sprints. Braxtyn Barger and Adrian Stockton went 2-3 in the 200.

The 2023 county championships will be remembered for Coach Steele — and for Carson Aman.

“We’re blessed with a great coaching staff and some great kids and Carson Aman was just incredible,” Lowe said. “We made some history.”


Results (top 5)

Shot put — 1. KaMahri Feamster (NR) 40-11; 2. Sawyer Sifford (SR) 40-9; 3. Jacob Butler (ER) 40-4; 4. Tristen McBride (C) 40-1; 5. Khor’on Miller 38-11

Discus — 1. Landon Jacobs (WR) 128-1; 2. Damien Brandon (S) 119-7; 3. Nate Shaffer (S) 115-2; 4. Tristen McBride (C) 113-3; 5. Jacob Butler (ER) 113-3

High jump — 1. Carson Aman (C) 6-0; 2. Damir Miller (C) 5-10; 3. Devin Keene (SR) 5-8; 4. Jaiden Colbert (S) 5-6; 5. Aiden Morris (ER) 5-6

Pole vault — 1. Seth Drake (ER) 10-0; 2. Carson Greene (ER) 9-6; 3. Cohen Self (ER) 9-0; 4. Jackson Walters (WR) 8-6

Long jump — 1. Carson Aman (C) 20-3; 2. Cole Eagle (ER) 19-11.5; 3. Kenyon Hairston (S) 19-6.5; 4. DJ Adams (S) 19-4.75; 5. Xavier Suber (NR) 18-9.5

Triple jump — 1. Carson Aman (C) 40-2; 2. Nehemiah Baldwin (C) 39-4.25; 3. Tyree Brown (S) 39-4; 4. Sean Young (S) 39-2.5; 5. Jordan Brooks (ER) 38-11.5

4×800 — 1. Carson 8:44; 2. South 8:47; 3. Salisbury 8:48; 4. West 9:17; 5. East 9:40

110 hurdles — 1. Quintin Wilson (NR) 15.90; 2. Cameron Ritchie (ER) 16.57; 3. Cohen Self (ER) 18,41; 4. Robert Moulton (S) 18.45; 5. Carson Greene (ER) 18.83

100 — 1. Sean Young (S) 11.12; 2. Kemon O’Kelly (NR) 11.21; 3. Jadon Moore (SR) 11.27; 4. Jaylin Johnson (S) 11.27; 5. Tijon Everhart (ER) 11.74

4×200 — 1. North 1:32.5; 2. Salisbury 1:35.36; 3. Carson 1:36.39; 4. East 1:36.79; 5. South 1:47.97

1600 — 1. Eli Julian (SR) 4:40; 2. Bricen Burleson (SR) 4:43; 3. Jorge Clemente-Garcia (C) 4:45; 4. Eric Gillis (C) 4:47; 5. James Anderson (C) 5:02

4×100 — 1. North 44.94; 2. East 45.03; 3. Salisbury 45.15; 4. Carson 46.40; 5. South 49.17

400 — 1. Jamal Rule (S) 51.54; 2. Carson Aman (C) 52.10; 3. Gabe Honeycutt (C) 52.34; 4. Andrew Huffman (S) 52.42; 5. Kemyon Oglesby (NR) 53.02

300 hurdles — 1. Quintin Wilson (NR) 43.16; 2. Cameron Ritchie (ER) 44.05; 3. Robert Moulton (S) 44.97; 4. Tristin Clawson (C) 45.57; 5. Desonde Butler (WR) 48.07

800 — 1. Grayson Cromer (SR) 2:07.51; 2. Connor Price (C) 2:08.63; 3. Bricen Burleson (SR) 2:11.69; 4. Gabe Honeycutt (C) 2:13.86; 5. Nate Shaffer (S) 2:14.04

200 — 1. Sean Young (S) 22.42; 2. Braxtyn Barger (WR) 23.62; 3. Adrian Stockton (WR) 24.18; 4. Foday Dyer (C) 24.24; 5. Emanuel Ellis (NR) 24.38

3200 — 1. Eli Julian (SR) 9:49.18; 2. Jorge Clemente-Garcia (C) 10:06; 3. Grayson Cromer (SR) 10:25; 4. Eric Gillis (C) 10:30; 5. Ethan Wilson (WR) 11:22

4×400 — 1. Salisbury 3:38.63; 2. Carson 3:42.70; 3. West 3:44.19; 4. East 3:44.53; 5. South 3:57.28


Photo gallery from the meet is here https://www.salisburypost.com/category/news/photos/