Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mecklenburg trio wins MVPs at west region track

ASHEVILLE – Hot, sunny weather wasn’t expected Saturday at A.C. Reynolds for the 4-A West Regional track meet. Neither was the name beside one of the nation’s top performances.

East Burke junior Tanner Anderson stunned the track world almost as much as he stunned himself by clearing 7-2 1/2 in the high jump, the fourth best in the country this season.

Only Broughton’s Jesse Williams, a 2008 Olympian who topped 7-3 in 2002, has ever gone higher in North Carolina. Anderson cleared 7-4 with his shoulders three times but could not make it with his hips.

Making the performance even more amazing is the fact that Anderson had never before even approached 6-10, much less seven feet. His best before Saturday was 6-6.

“I saw 6-10 and I was like oh my god. I was pretty nervous,” he said. “When I went over 6-8 I felt myself bend a whole lot more than I have before. I got my head way back, and I knew that’s what I had to do to get higher.”
Hundreds of people clapped in unison and cheered Anderson raucously as the bar inched higher.

“That was my top priority, getting first, and then I never imagined this would happen,” he said. “I think (the crowd) helped a lot, getting my adrenaline going.”

Almost as astonishing as Tanner’s success was Justin Crawford’s performance.

The Ashbrook senior owns the country’s second-best time in the 110-meter high hurdles this season at 13.66, but he will not get a chance to compete for the state title after he fell over the first hurdle on Saturday.
Crawford got up and battled back to fifth, one spot from qualifying. An anticipated showdown with Southeast Raleigh’s Wayne Davis, who has run a 13.69, will not happen.

“I have no idea what happened,” Crawford, who had his wisdom teeth removed Monday, said. “It’s a humbling experience. I’m the No. 2 hurdler in the U.S. and I can’t even run for state. It hurts because I was so planning on winning it this year.”

Crawford, who has signed with Georgetown, will get a chance in the 300-meter hurdles after he chased down East Burke’s Bradley King, the 110 winner, at the line in 38.94
Crawford’s fall also likely cost Ashbrook the team title. East Burke edged Ashbrook 75-67 with Providence coming in third with 63.5.

The Butler girls led for most of the day thanks to dominance in the field events, but Myers Park surged late to defend its 2008 regional crown with a 128-119 victory fueled by Varonica Johnson. Harding was third with 105 as Mecklenburg County schools faced little competition besides each other.

“We knew it would be a tough meet for us and the girls really rose to the challenge,” Myers Park coach John Cline said “I think Charlotte did a great job today. A lot of Charlotte schools performed well.

Johnson repeated as regional champion in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. She also anchored Myers Park’s winning 800 relay.

Butler’s Aslynn Halvorson was the girls field MVP after winning the shot put and the discus, the latter by more than 30 feet with a meet record 155-4. A senior headed to Tennessee, Halvorson owns the second-best throw in state history with a 161-8 (also fifth in the nation this year) and wants to break the state North Carolina record almost as much as she wants to defend her 4-A championships in both events,

“I’m 14 inches off. It’s something that’s attainable,” she said.

Alex Taylor of Providence was named the boys track most valuable performer thanks to victories in the 800- and 1,600-meter runs.

Butler’s Stephen Hodapp shared field MVP honors with Anderson. He set a personal best and a meet record by clearing 15-7 in the pole vault, which is also the best performance in North Carolina this outdoor season and is the nation’s fourth-best showing.


Anonymous said...

You quote John Cline as East's head coach. I think you mean Myers Park. East Burke's head coach is Odell Williams. Way to go Cavs.-Coach Sparks