During her all-important junior season, Charlotte Latin’s jack-of-all-trades track and field star thought she had hit a wall at the absolute worst possible time.
Sydney Scott was already making a name for herself on the volleyball and basketball courts and was starting to really take off in track and field.
During her sophomore season she had won NCISAA titles in the triple jump and as the anchor of the Hawks’ 4×100-meter relay team. Scott had also placed third in both the long jump and the 100-meter dash.
She was starting to enjoy the sport more than she ever had. College coaches were starting to take notice, and they were from the exact schools she was interested in.
But, with everything going right, it all started to go wrong.
“I thought I hit a plateau and that was so frustrating,” Scott said. “I stopped progressing. I could still do the same things that I was doing, but it was so much more difficult for me. Mentally that took a lot out of me. Plateauing as an athlete is a huge phobia of mine and it came at a bad time because I was just starting to get recruited by these coaches and I wanted them to believe in me, but I didn’t have anything for them to go off of.”
The source of the slip in production was due to a tissue injury in her leg and hip that was caused when Scott began to pull her quad and hamstring on the same leg. Overcompensating, she began to put more pressure on her opposite hip. It was causing her trouble with her jumps and even walking in general although Scott said she could still run relatively pain free after warming up.
That season, Scott used her natural athletic ability to still manage a NCISAA championship in the triple jump to go with runner-up performances in the 100 and in the long jump and a third-place finish in the 200.
Scott said she only was only able to train pain-free in November of last year.
While painful and debilitating, the injury also lit a fire in Scott and she came into her senior season wanting to prove her doubters wrong and work harder than ever. In part she wanted to give Brown University, where she committed during her junior season to run track, the assurance that they had a great all-around athlete coming to their campus in 2019. In part she wanted to do it for herself.
And Scott did all of those things.
“Sydney has always been really good, but I always wanted more out of her,” said Charlotte Latin sprint coach Malai Walker, a former Hawk and North Carolina star. “This year was totally different. She was focused in her training, she pushed herself like never before and she had a great year.”
Scott never lost a triple jump event this season and set personal bests in the 100, 200 and long jump.
At the NCISAA championship, she was fantastic, winning the triple jump, long jump, 200 and coming within 0.02 seconds of the 100 championship.
This season she ran the state’s third-fastest time in the 200 (24.32 seconds) and was in the top 20 in all four of her events. She tied for 14th in the long jump, placed 16th in the triple jump and recorded the 17th-fastest time in the 100. She also broke Walker’s Charlotte Latin records in the 100 and in the 200 en route to becoming the South Charlotte Weekly Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Not bad for someone who didn’t realize her future in track until late in her busy high school career.
Scott was a four-year varsity volleyball player and was second on the team in kills and blocks as a senior. She played varsity basketball during her freshman and sophomore seasons and averaged 6.3 points and five rebounds as a sophomore. That year she nearly recorded a triple-double in a game against SouthLake Christian.
Scott figured her future lay in one of those two sports and especially so early on.
“I didn’t really like track until my sophomore year,” she said. “I thought I would go to college for basketball or for volleyball, but things sort of changed. I think I just got so busy because I was playing three sports up until my sophomore year and I’d play AAU basketball on the weekends and during the summer. It was really time consuming. I tried to do AAU volleyball as well, but it was taking up so much of my time that I only did it for one season. I thought I could be good in those sports, but I realized I’d need a sort of long ways to go to play those sports on the college level at a school that was good academically and athletically.”
So as the basketball offers and volleyball interest started to pour in, Scott shifted her focus to track full time.
And soon the track offers started coming in from Ivy League schools and other higher learning institutions she was interested in attending.
Scott, who had a 3.7 GPA as a junior and thinks it probably went up to around a 4.0 with the addition of three AP classes this year, found her perfect home at Brown, which combines her love of track with a great academic institution.
Scott said she wants to study entrepreneurship and dreams of running a business that also works with social justice for the benefit of others.
She also is excited to run track and again have a jump coach that she lacked for her final three seasons at Latin, instead vaulting to within the top 20 in the state via her her self-taught techniques.
“I want to do well and I’m excited to do well when I get there,” she said. “I think going to a place where I’m going to love being at, going to two classes a day and focusing a lot more on track with a bunch of really good coaches is going to help me. I like to push myself, and I’m really excited to see how well I can do at Brown.”
Scott said looking back on her time at Latin – and especially so her senior season where she really stepped up her workout regimen – is something that makes her very happy and proud of all she accomplished.
“I like winning and I want to keep winning,” she said. “I know it’s not easy to do that by just maintaining. You have to push yourself and get better and I think I was really motivated by that this year. I also this year started to enjoy working out more and working out harder. It became something that I really liked doing and it no longer seemed like a chore. And I have a really strong desire to get better, so I pushed myself a ton this year, but it was so rewarding.”
Scott leaves Charlotte Latin as the record holder in two events, with seven track and field state championships and a bright future on the track and academically.
“It means a lot,” Scott said. “I didn’t ever see myself progressing this far in track. It was the last sport I thought I’d be going to college for, but I know I’ve worked really hard to get here and especially after last year, which was really difficult because of my injury.
“I used to think of running as a very simple thing, but it’s actually much more difficult than the other sports I’ve done. It’s so technical and knowing something so tiny as getting out of the blocks quickly can cost you a race. And I love how it’s so incremental and you can see your improvement from week to week. I enjoy pouring myself into it, and I’m looking forward to seeing how well I can do at Brown. They’re not known for their sports really or for their track team, so I want to be one of the ones that helps turn that around.”