WAXHAW – With the high school state indoor track championships right around the corner, Saturday is the last day to set a qualifying mark for the state indoor track championships and there are almost 500 entries for the Charlotte City Championships Track Meet at Cuthbertson High School.
Around 30 teams are scheduled to attend and almost all of the schools participating are from the Charlotte metropolitan area. The first events will kick off at 11 a.m. on the track at Cuthbertson.
The Cuthbertson girls are the defending Charlotte City Championships Track Meet champion and the Cavaliers’ girls are the defending Class 3A Indoor Track Championships state champion. The state indoor championships for the various classifications will be held Feb. 9 to 10 in Winston-Salem.
“It should be a very good event, especially when you talk about this area for track and field,” said Cuthbertson head track coach Dustin Allen. “There will be a lot of good athletes. Saturday is the last day you can have a meet. If you haven’t qualified yet, this is the last chance.”
Saturday’s meet is also a chance for athletes to improve their seeding at the various state meets.
“This is the last chance to get that seed to get in the front of the pack,” Allen said. “You want to get in fast heats at state. You want to get in that last heat at state so you are not racing the clock by yourself. This meet is going to be big for a lot of teams and a lot of individuals.”
Ardrey Kell track coach Brian Zelk said Saturday’s race is an important one for the Knights.
“Our biggest thing, because of the weather, we have lost out on some chances to qualify,” Zelk said. “We have some guys and girls that will get one last chance to qualify. It’s also about bettering times so you get a better seed position when you do get to state.”
Ardrey Kell junior Joshua Brockman holds the best indoor time in the state in the 55-meter hurdles this season and will lead a talented Knights’ team Saturday. Brockman ran a 7.43 seconds at the Winston-Salem High School Kickoff Indoor Track Meet in December and he won the 60-meter hurdles at the Arkansas High School Invitational with a personal best of 8.11. The Arkansas event was held on the campus of college track national powerhouse Arkansas last month and attracts athletes from across the country.
“Brockman is not only one of the top one or two hurdlers in the state but you are looking at an athlete that can hold his own across the nation,” Zelk said. “That is remarkable when you think about that.”
Asa Simmons and Carson Varner have also set state qualifying times in the 55-meter hurdles for the Knights. Zelk said Ardrey Kell assistant coach Lamont Varner has done an excellent job prepping the hurdlers this indoor season.
“We are going to use Saturday’s meet to fine tune some things,” Zelk said of the hurdlers. “Coach Varner has done a good job of getting those guys ready for state.”
Metrolina Christian Academy senior Tyrek Funderburk will be one of the favorites in the 55-meter dash. He has a personal best on 6.64 and has won three races this indoor season.
Cuthbertson senior Sarah LaTour will likely compete in the 1,000 and 1,600-meter runs but the senior and North Carolina State signee is also strong in the 3,200-meter run. Parkwood senior Anna Bristle has the best 3,200 time in Class 3A this indoor season with a 11:17.40.
Cuthbertson’s Aubrie Farwell is coming back from an injury and is expected to be a factor in the 300-meter run. She ran a 1:21.99 last weekend at a meet in Winston-Salem and she ran a 1:19 at the state meet a year ago.
“We are looking to see if she can top that this weekend,” Allen said.
Cuthbertson’s Dahlia Cutler has had a strong indoor season in the 300-meter with a best time of 42:23.
“There are a couple of other girls in the 41, 42 range, so that should be a good race on the girls’ side,” Allen said.
Allen said he hopes the final meet of the regular season will build momentum for the state meets. The Cuthbertson boys were the city runner-ups last year in this event.
“We think we have a shot to win again as city champs,” Allen said of the girls’ team. “Our guys are young, we only have three seniors, but we have a chance to compete. Going into the state meet, it is going to be tough. But I think the girls have a really good shot again to take the team title.”