High school girls track and field: One for the thumb for North’s Ellis

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 13, 2024


North Rowan’s Brittany Ellis in the discus,  photo by Wayne Hinshaw, for the Salisbury Post

By Mike London

SPENCER — North Rowan graduate Brittany Ellis was striving for six individual state championships.

She had to settle for five.

Ellis won the shot put for the third time, but finished second in the discus, an event she had won as a sophomore and junior, but she’ll take it.

Being known as “Brittany Five Times” is not such a bad thing. Seeking their fifth Super Bowl ring many years ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ rallying cry was “one for the thumb.” Well, now Ellis has one for the thumb.

North Rowan’s girls have won 39 individual state championships, plus five relays, in a storied history. With five individual titles, Ellis has ended her high school run as one of the Cavaliers’ all-time greats. She has won more NCHSAA titles in the throws than any girl in Rowan County history.

The shot put and the discus are events conducted in a distant corner of the field in most track meets, but Ellis has done her part to make the throws glamour events in Rowan County. She’s the first North girl to win the shot put in a state meet since Tara Clinding went back-to-back in 2A in 1998-99.

Ellis is the only girl in North history to win an NCHSAA discus title and is the first Rowan County female thrower to win a gold medal since Salisbury standout Alisha Bradshaw won three times — two discus championships (2010-11) and a shot put title (2011).

Winning state titles has always been special and always will be special. To do it five times requires a rare combination of talent, determination and work ethic. Ellis, who was the Central Carolina Conference Player of the Year for basketball, possesses those attributes.

She is the Post’s Female Performer of the Year for outdoor track for the third time.

“The day of the 1A State Championships in Greensboro went by fast,” Ellis said. “I’m sure I won the shot put with my very first throw, but I still tried to get some more good throws out there. I had a hard time with the discus, though. Just couldn’t get it all together to make that one great throw.”

Officially, Ellis won the shot put with a throw of 38 feet, 1.25 inches. She had won previous state titles with throws of 37-2 and 36-8, so she was satisfied with  her winning mark.

Her second-place discus throw as a senior was actually quite a bit better than her winning flings in previous years. She had won gold with throws of 107-3 and 111-11. This time Ellis threw 115 feet, 5 inches, but Mirianna Corea, a rising junior, from Eastern Randolph, turned in a throw of more than 118 feet.

“I wanted to win both events again, but it still was a fun experience,” Ellis said. “Nothing is more fun than competing and doing your best. It was great competition, and I always love to compete.”

Prior to the state meet, Ellis won her usual stack of county, conference and regional championships.

Brittany’s grandfather, Ralph Ellis, is one of the county’s legendary track coaches and got her started early in AAU competition.

She’s thrown the javelin a few times this summer, although she’s never really practiced the event. The javelin could become part of her track arsenal as she transitions to college competition. Just back from a vacation trip to the beach, she has made a decision to go to Appalachian State.


A good year for Rowan County track included an individual state championship in the 3A high jump by South Rowan’s Macy Miller. She won her second state title by clearing 5 feet, 4 inches. She will continue her career at N.C. State.

With Ellis accounting for 18 of their 28 points, North’s girls finished ninth in the 1A State Championships. Salisbury, which had strong relays, placed ninth in the 2A State Championships.

South Rowan was the county champion thanks to sprinter Mesiyah Howell, Miller and a strong distance group.

The basic criteria for all-county track and field is first or second place in the county meet or running on a winning relay team.

The Post also recognizes conference champs and girls who score in the state meet with a top-eight finish.


All-County girls track and field

Performer of the Year — Brittany Ellis, North

Coach of the Year — Rebekah Julian, South


Brittany Ellis — Discus, shot put

Kimora Chawlk — High jump

Aniya Brown — Triple jump, 100 hurdles, long jump


Skyy Ruben — Discus, shot put


Millie Wymbs — 400, 800, 4×200, 4×400

Tai’lah Ward — 300 hurdles, 200, 4×400, 4×200, 100

Kendall Henderson — 4×200, 4×400, 4×100

Dashia Canada — 4×400, 4×100, 300 hurdles

Shekiya Woodruff — 100, 4×100, 4×200

Mya Noble — 4×100


Julia Burleson — 3200


Macy Miller — High jump

Madalynn Gulledge — 800, 1600, 3200

Mesiyah Howell — 100, 200, 400

Gracie Hinson — 4×800

Blythe Elliott — 4×800

Sara Culbert — 4×800

Brinley Patterson — 4×800


Jasmyne Brown — Pole vault

Jadyn Featherstone — Pole vault

Lelu Hill — Long jump

Lexi Kyle — Long jump

Iyanna Lynch Berry – Triple jump

Sadie Featherstone — 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 1600