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Parkwood Girls Go To States For Indoor Track

Senior Ruthie Johnson and Junior Amber Dennis carry their 4X800m relay partners, Junior Sidney Scott and Sophomore Katia Keller on their backs while waiting for their next event at a winter track meet.


“What’s wrong? Why are you running funny?” the coach asks. “We’re not talking about it until after the state meet,” the athlete responds.

It takes a dedicated and somewhat single-minded athlete to pressure on through soreness and injury because she doesn’t want to let down her coach or teammates. They depend on her. They’ve been in this together since November. In fact, they’ve been in this together since August of last year.

With only a few days remaining, indoor track coach Jill Stout assembles the four remaining members of her winter team: Sidney Scott, Amber Dennis, Katia Keller, and Ruthie Johnson. These four girls, who thrive on personal challenge and friendship, comprise the 4x800m relay team. Their tenacity and teamwork have qualified them for the state meet.

On a cold afternoon in early January, the Parkwood Rebels joined four other schools for a two-day competition at Porter Ridge. The families and friends of the girls’ 4x800m team were there to support them as well, including Sidney’s sister, Shelby, and Ruthie’s sister, Rachel. During the 2008-2009 indoor season, Shelby, Rachel, Ruthie, and Nicole McAllister qualified for the state meet as a 4x800m team. This year, the older siblings watched eagerly, hoping to see their sisters once again claim the honor. The girls did not fail them. Motivated by the close competition of the race, each girl ran her fastest split of the season. When Ruthie, the final leg of the relay, ran through the finish to collapse on the other side of it, the team had dropped nearly twenty seconds from their previous best, beating the qualifying time by eleven seconds. Later, while reviewing the race, Ruthie couldn’t even recall the final moments of the race or her collapse on the ground, crying and clutching the baton. These girls wanted it, and they finally had their qualifying time.

Now, with the days ticking down until the state meet on Saturday, February 11 at the Eddie Smith Arena at UNC-Chapel Hill, the girls push themselves again and again each afternoon. Coach Stout hopes to see a top 20 finish and perhaps a new school record. If anyone has the personal drive, a key to success in track and field, it’s these girls. From the fresh, young talent of Katia and Amber, to the seasoned veterans, Sidney and Ruthie, they will combine their will and athleticism to bring home glory for themselves and for Parkwood.

To support the girls or for more information on the state meet, visit the NCHSAA website at www.nchsaa.org. To find out more about the Parkwood Rebels track or cross-country teams, see the Parkwood High School Athletics website for more information.

Written by: Megan Clement and Jill Stout, Head Track Coaches
Edited by: Regina Snelson
Posted: Feb 08, 2012 by Regina Snelson

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