Anson High School’s track and field season came to an end on Saturday, May 20 at N.C. A&T University.
The Bearcats had three girls participating: Jordyn Kiser, Destiny Gayton and Patience Marshall. They each qualified for the state championship on May 13 in the 3A Mid-West Regional at Marvin Ridge High School.
During the regional championship,Gayton placed fourth in the high jump, Kiser placed third in the triple jump and 300-meter low hurdles, and Marshall was regional champion in shot put and discus.
In the state championship, Gayton placed eighth in high jump. This was her second time qualifying for the state championship. Kiser was state runner-up in the 300-meter low hurdles and placed tenth in the triple jump. Marshall was state runner-up in shot put and did not place in discus because of three foul attempts.
All three girls received all-conference honors this season. Gayton was runner-up in the high jump and triple jump.
Kiser was conference champion in the long and triple jump. She was conference runner in the 200-meter dash and 300 low hurdles. She scored 36 of the team’s 92 total points herself.
Marshall was conference champion in shot put and discus. She was also named Field Event Athlete of the Year.
“I would like to start by saying my junior year was the best track season I had so far. At the start of the season, at the first meet we competed in at Forest Hills High School, I qualified for regionals with a jump of 1.52 meters, so all I had to worry about was improving the height, 1.57 meters, which I cleared for the first time in my high school career at the 2016 NCHSAA 3A Midwest Regional Championships last year when I was a sophomore.
“This year, I improved mentally just enough to give me the courage to start attempting 1.57 meters consecutively without getting scared. I placed second in the Southern Carolina Conference Championships with a jump of 1.52 meters in high jump. I advanced to regionals and placed fourth with a jump of 1.47 meters. I was a little upset with myself because I know I am capable of jumping better than that, but I didn’t beat myself up too much for it because the top four places in each event goes to states, so I was pretty happy to make it to states for the second time in high school.
“When I walked onto the track to get to the high jump area, I took a deep breath and cleared my mind. I could feel the butterflies fluttering in my stomach while I approached the mat, but once I spoke with some girls from other schools I met in past meets, the butterflies left and I was ready to compete. It almost felt like I was competing in a regular invitational meet. I placed eighth in the NCHSAA 3A state Championship Saturday, April 20, and I am proud of my placement. Even though I couldn’t stand on the podium and get a medal, the best prize is going to states and competing with other girls that want what you want: the state championship ring that the first-place finisher gets.
“When I found out my school was moving down to 2A, I got a little upset because I heard a few people say it’s a little easier than 3A. I don’t want easy competition, I want competition that will make me work hard for what I want. Next year will be my senior year of high school and my last year of high school track. I plan of getting better so I can potentially win states next year. I want to inspire little kids in our county to do track, but the only way I could is if we could have home meets and they could come out and support us at our meets.
“I feel transportation is the biggest hassle in most athletes’ families because not even family can drive out an hour away from home and watch a meet that will cost $5-$10 to get in. I personally want to help coach high jump at Anson High School when I am in college and even after college. I hope that by the time I leave Anson High, we get a new high jump system because at the moment, I feel it’s not as safe as what a newer system would be like. ‘There is no such thing as fear; fear is simply a figment of one’s imagination.’”
“My season didn’t start off so great this year but things began to fall in place. The moral of the story is that good things take time. Just remember this: don’t stutter, step.”
“This track season is probably the worst season I have experienced within my three-year tenure. Although I accomplished many goals and earned accolades throughout this season, I feel as if my season wasn’t successful, mainly because of the ‘Big Dance’ or state meet. In my opinion, the state meet is the main meet, or the most significant. It’s where I was supposed to get my first ring this year. But that didn’t go as planned.
“There were tons of mixed emotions and feelings going on throughout the day due to the loss and disqualification that occurred in shot put and discus. Knowing that I was number one in both events during the entire season made me feel terrible. I felt like I wasn’t supposed to lose.
“I left the meet with mixed emotions and negative thoughts. I had goals set for that meet; for example, beating the 3A state record in shot put and placing first in both events.
“Even though it still angers me to think about it, I can say that there were lessons learned and that there is a bigger and better picture than winning the state meet. I’m thankful that God blessed me with my athletic ability and these wonderful opportunities to gain exposure. I’m also thankful for my support system and helpful coaches I have met along this process of becoming great. Without the support and positive vibes, I probably would not be in the position I’m in today. I will continue to work towards bigger goals and strive for greatness.”
Coach James Wall
“I’m extremely proud of these young ladies for all of their accomplishments and for basically being the heart and soul of our team along with a few others that did not advance to the state meet.
“It has taken five years to build the program back up and to have athletes from Anson High School competing in the state meet. We have a young team that has grown throughout the season and we hope to find other young talent that can contribute to the overall success of the team.
“I know some may be disappointed in not winning the ultimate prize, which is the state title, but there is no reason for any of our athletes to hang their heads. They had a very successful track and field season. Patience Marshall had a great track and field season this year. She won all of her regular season meets, 5 Invitational in shot put, 4 Invitational in discus, conference champion in both shot and discus, and won the regional championship in both. Also, she was named Athlete of the Year in field events and holds the school record in shot put and discus. She also broke the conference record in both events. Patience was a state runner-up in shot put and as a junior probably one the most success female athletes in our school’s history.
“Destiny Gayton is a two-time state qualifier and in my opinion is good enough to win it.
“Jordyn Kiser is a sophomore and is a state runner-up in low hurdles on her first trip to the state meet, so the sky is the limit for these young ladies. They all could potentially win the title next season.”