If it seemed like Corinth Holders’ Austin Carroll had a little extra kick to become the first track champion from the school, he thought so too.
He dedicated last Saturday’s N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A indoor track and field championship win in the 1,600 (4:22.35) to his late grandfather. Carroll was overcome with emotion as he crossed the finish line, falling to the ground.
“I did this for my grandfather. He passed away in August so he was on my mind the whole race,” Carroll said. “I think he was just pushing me with his big hand and that made the finish much more meaningful for me than any other race I’ve ever run.”
Carroll flew by the field in the last 400. With about 150 meters left, no one was close.
“I looked around and saw nobody so I kept pushing it a little more,” he said.
He was also fourth in the 1,000.
Carroll has been one of the top athletes in 3A running the last few years. He took third last year in the indoor 1,600 and was top 10 in cross country.
Now he’s the first Pirates track athlete to win an individual state title.
“I’ve wanted a state title since I knew what a state title was back in freshman year,” he said.
Corinth Holders’ Samara Gibson was nearly the second champ on the day, but took runner-up in the girls 300.
Johnston County rival Cleveland had a strong day as well.
Gable Dershem edged twin brother Wyatt for runner-up in the boys 3,200. Ciara Robinson was fourth in the girls triple jump and the girls 4-by-200 relay team was also fourth.
South Johnston’s Noah Bridges was fourth in a close boys 55 dash race.