At Meadowbrook High School, Rickey Brown’s track team is improving each year, posting consistent times, and pushing their way towards a district championship as time continues. While they didn’t win a district title this year, (2nd place finish for the girls, and a 3rd place finish for the boys), seven athletes have qualified for state, four of which will compete on an individual basis.
A couple of Brown’s athletes have been there multiple times. Senior discus hurler Du’Shawn Thompson, who was featured earlier this season in the Village News, set the Central District record this season with a throw of 175ft, 6in. Thompson is currently ranked second in the state, and is shooting for no less than a state championship. He will be attending West Virginia Wesleyan in the fall, where he also may play football.
Du’Shawn is way ahead of where is he was last year and continues to raise the bar,” said Brown. “With his number two rank in the state, he’s continuing to fine tune his technique.”
According to Brown, many variables affect the outcome of a thrower’s performance. “Sometimes you’ll go out and throw a personal best,” said Brown. “And sometimes you won’t throw your best – but anyone on any given day can throw a personal best and win.”
On the girls’ side, the basketball and track teams have been led by Norfolk State University-bound Torie Cunningham. Known for her leadership on the court, Cunningham is also one of the fastest athletes in the Central Region, qualifying for states with a 100m time of 11.95, and has also posted a personal best this season in the 200m, registering at 24.47. Cunningham is unique in that she only runs the outdoor season, as most high school track athletes participate in both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
“She is on a great pace as she was last year,” said Brown. “She gets to her maximum level very quickly, and should be there soon.”
Cunningham, who is competing individually in those two events, is also competing in the 4 x 100 relay team event with Paris Cotman, – who posted a 12.74 individual time in districts – Angela Harris, and Jasmaine Smith. No stranger to success, the team placed 4th last year in the state in that particular event.
“As a team, they are running well and showing a lot of focus,” said Brown. “We want to keep these guys healthy and see where it takes them.”
Gridiron star Mico Phillips, who qualified for state in the long jump with a distance of 22’7, will be looking to return to last year’s form when he jumped a personal best, 23’3.5. Phillips will be attending Virginia State University in the fall and may participate in both track and football. Some of you may remember his Central Region leading performance on the field last season, rushing for over 2,000 yards under coach Troy Taylor.
Another throwing athlete that’s looking to make waves is senior shot put thrower Briana Arrington. Her qualifying throw of 37’.5 was good enough to land her a state berth. Arrington will be attending St.Augustine University in Raleigh, NC, a school known for its great track and field program. She also played hoops and was a major contributor for Coach Danny Connor.
In terms of youth, Brown is high on junior and hurdle specialist Shanice Goode. Her time of 16.42 in the 100m hurdles and 47.96 in the 300m hurdles were also standout times in the district meet.
Underclassmen Devon Marrow is a state hopeful, and freshman Jay Patel is someone Brown expects major contributions from in the future.
The state meet will be held at Virginia Sports Backers Stadium in Richmond Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4. Schedules of events are posted online at www.vhsl.org .