Terrell Adams spent a good part of the last 365 days thinking about his performance at the NCHSAA 4A State Track and Field Championships last year. It was always in the back of his mind.
Adams, then a sophomore, entered the 2014 state championships as one of the favorites in the boys discus competition. He left without a place among the finishers after three fouls on his first three attempts.
“It was definitely something I was anxious to get off of my chest,” Adams said of that 2014 effort. “That’s driven me for the past year, always in my head.”
Saturday was the day to erase those memories. Up first was the shot put, not the competition he was most excited for, but one he had big plans for nevertheless.
He entered as the second-seeded thrower in the shot with a put of just over 57 feet at the regional. But after six throws, he came up just more than three feet short of that mark. The 53-11 ½ toss was good enough for fourth in the state. It wasn’t what he wanted. Adding to his disappointment was that longtime Southwest Wake Athletic Conference rival Daniel Ligons walked away with the state championship.
“Daniel and Terrell have been back and forth all year, just great competition,” said Middle Creek track and field coach Josh Griffin. “There was a little more sting to that loss.”
The finish added another layer to Adams’ drive in the discus.
“That’s hardly a disappointing finish on the surface,” Griffin said. “But we tried to make sure he put that behind him and concentrated on the throws ahead in the discus. He had to be fully in that event to succeed.”
If there was one thing Adams wasn’t going to do on his first throw of the discus it was fouling. He didn’t, but his throw of just over 161 feet wasn’t nearly what he was looking for. Still, it got the worries of violations out of his head and allowed him to settle into the competition.
Seeded fourth, Adams wasn’t a shoe-in for a state championship. But his second throw of the competition was the best of the day, going 165 feet and an inch, just off of his career best.
Meanwhile, the two top seeds in the competition — East Chapel Hill’s Iyin Battle and Fayetteville Pine Forest’s Ryan Davis — weren’t able to come within more than five feet of their qualifying marks. Battle finished second at 160-3; Davis was third at 156-7.
“I think everybody just had a bad day,” Griffin said. “Iyin and Ryan are great throwers and for Terrell to be able to beat them is something. He’d only beaten Davis once in the discus and had never beaten Iyin.
“To come up with a performance like this on this big of a stage is something that’s really impressive after what he went through last year.”
Adams and Ligons are likely to continue to battle on both the local and state championship stages. Their state championship resumes will only enhance the battles.
For Adams, no matter what the next year brings, it will go on without constant reflection on a disappointing finish.
“It’s something that’s definitely great to get off of my chest,” the barrel-chested Mustang said. “I’m proud I was able to come back from last year and show what I can really do.”