First, Josh Parks and Cameron Rose proved they were the best in Cabarrus County this year.
Over the weekend, they proved they were the best in North Carolina, as Parks and Rose both won multiple state championships at the N.C. High School Athletic Association Track and Field Championships.
Parks actually had gold medals draped around his neck three times on Friday at the Class 3A meet at N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro. The A.L. Brown senior won the boys 110-meter hurdles, the open 400, and was part of the Wonders’ winning 4x200 relay team.
Rose, a Hickory Ridge junior, claimed the 4A boys 100 meters championship Saturday at A&T with a time of 10.58 seconds, just .01 faster than Roseville’s Michael Gupton.
Rose also entered the meet as the reigning 200-meter champion, and he defended his crown by running a time of 21.37 to take first place again.
For Parks, winning a state championship accomplished a mission that began four years ago. Parks had made it to the state meet in previous seasons, all after dominating the competition in the South Piedmont 3A Conference and at the Cabarrus County Track and Field Championships. But his highest finish at a state meet before Friday was fourth place.
He took care of that in memorable fashion on Friday.
Parks won the 110 hurdles in 14.24 seconds and claimed the 400-meter title in 47.52, edging Durham Hillside’s Kacey Pratt (47.57). Parks was in fifth place at one point of the 400 before motoring ahead to snatch his long-awaited gold.
“It’s a monkey off his back, as the saying goes,” A.L. Brown coach Gerald Hefner said of Parks finally becoming a state champion. “It sort of weighs on you, but after he won the 110 hurdles, I felt like he was going to really run a very good race in the 400. He won it at the finish line. It’s like he just turned on the jets.”
Remarkably, Parks showed such power in the 400, even though it came after he ran the second leg on the Wonders’ gold medal-winning 4x200 relay team that also featured Marcus Chapman, Dezmond Adams and Jalen Neal (1 minute, 26.87 seconds).
Hefner said that’s probably why Parks finished ninth in the 200 meters, another of his many strong events.
“He was zapped when it came time for the 200 -- just plumb tired,” Hefner said. “But I was very, very tickled for him to win a state title in his senior year. It was a good way to go out. He had been so close in everything, and I think not doing the high jump helped save his legs and allowed him to do a good job with the runs.
“I’m just so happy for him, and the other guys, too,” Hefner added. “That relay team had a great time.”
A.L. Brown’s boys 4x100 relay team of D’Nico Harris, Kam Williams, Nick Lyerly and Neal finished in eighth place with a time of 43.30.
Also at the boys 3A meet, Jay M. Robinson junior Kendrick Hargrove finished fifth in the 200 meters (22.60), and Northwest Cabarrus’ Ricco Sastoque was eighth in the long jump (20 feet, 10.5 inches).
At the girls 3A state meet, Cabarrus County produced a pair of silver medalists.
Cox Mill senior Tracey Manigault was second in the 100 (12.09), and the Charlotte 49ers signee also took sixth place in 300 hurdles and ninth place in the 200.
Concord High School senior Sherray Parker was remarkably close to gaining her first state championship. Parker and Franklinton’s Rebekah Smith both jumped a meet-best 5-4, but Parker finished in second place because she had more overall misses than Smith during the competition.
Cox Mill’s girls 4x100 relay team of Jasmine Greene, Zoe Saunders, T’Kye Presley and Manigault took third place.
At the Class 2A meet on Friday, Mount Pleasant’s Walker Malachowski finished fourth in the boys pole vault with a height of 12-6. Another Tiger, Kyle Carlton, wasn’t too far behind, earning seventh place (11-0).
Mount Pleasant boys 800-meter runner MacKay Burke was eighth (2:02.46).
Mount Pleasant girls vaulter Fallon Koob also had a top-10 finish, taking ninth place.
At the girls 4A meet, Hickory Ridge’s Asia Lampe took fifth place in the discus with a heave of 108-6. Also, Bulls freshman Abigail Thomas was ninth in the 200 meters.