Track and field team gears up for 4-A Midwest Regional

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 12, 2022

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By Janie Peterson

West Forsyth athletes have been emphasizing the “field” part of the track and field team, with six conference champions displaying outstanding performances in their events at the Central Piedmont 4-A Conference Championship on May 3.

The Titans will turn their attention to this week’s Midwest 4-A Regional, which will begin Friday at Davie County High School.

Junior Tyson Adams, who won the NCHSAA 4-A indoor state championship in February, dominated the boys long jump with a distance of 23 feet, 7 inches.

“Obviously he had an exceptionally good season. He was the best long jumper in the state by a long shot, and one of the best in the country,” Coach Nate Newsome said.

Adams has enjoyed overwhelming success this season. To him, winning conference is just a step towards competing in nationals.

“It just means I get to go to regionals and after regionals probably states. Then I’m ready for nationals, that’s a big thing. I want to win,” Adams said.

Though competitive and extremely talented, Adams shows no signs of arrogance or superiority.

“He’s a rare athlete in the nearly 30 years I’ve done this. Lots of good things to say about him. He’s very humble, so he’s easy to coach,” Newsome said.

Adams is also a gifted sprinter — only a handful of kids throughout school history have hit the times that he runs in the 100 meter dash. However, running and jumping multiple events contributes to some aches and pains. Nevertheless, he dominates.

“After having done the triple jump and the 200 (meter dash), my shin was hurting a little bit. Other than that, I felt fine,” Adams said.

Junior Ethan White will also proceed to the regional as the conference runner-up in the long jump with a distance of 21 feet, 6 inches.

Junior Jaiden Hubbard won the boys triple jump with a distance of 41 feet, 3 inches.

“I was seeded first, but I felt pretty nervous because I didn’t know how I was going to jump that day,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard is content with his performance, but not satisfied with stopping just yet.

“It’s a nice feeling, but I want to go higher — I want to go to states,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard is another high performer and versatile athlete with still more potential to reach.

“He’s also been a good 400 meter runner for us, so he’s contributed on a couple of levels and he still has some time with us, so he should continue to improve,” Newsome said.

There were also highlights on the girls side.

Junior Genysis Howard has experienced some setbacks this season, but not even a concussion could stop her from winning the girls high jump and finishing runner-up in the long jump. She had to work twice as hard once she was finally cleared to train halfway through the season.

“I just went in with confidence and trusted the process with training,” Howard said.

Howard is a valuable and multi-talented member of the team and the Titans are grateful to have her back as a major contributor.

“Genysis is a good all around athlete. She’s good at lots of different events,” Newsome said. “She scored us a lot of points in hurdles, long jump, and high jump. Hopefully she stays injury free. She could score a lot of points for us in the future too.”

Once Howard progresses to regionals, she may be able to literally reach new heights considering that she will be able to save energy and prioritize a singular event.

“It’s exciting. It took hard work to get there…I think I’ll do well since I’m only focused on one event, so that will be good,” Howard said.

One of West’s best success stories this season is senior Stephanie Hinojos who won the girls discus with a distance of 101 feet, 10 inches.

“It means a lot, how I’ve progressed after two years of discus. To go from doing OK at discus to doing very well,” Hinojos said.

A year ago, she’d never even tried the event until Newsome randomly pulled her aside to test out her skills. Now, she is conference champion and will be a thrower at Montreat College this fall.

“She’s a really good success story from a coach’s standpoint. Those are my favorite type of kids — the ones that weren’t anticipating any success and suddenly they’re fantastic. She works hard and appreciates how well she’s doing,” Newsome said.

Hinojos is naturally a hard worker and is looking forward to continuing to give her all.

“I feel a lot of pressure because regionals is competitive. But I feel good about it because I get to push myself,” Hinojos said.

Senior Nashiya Smart, who works alongside Hinojos, won the girls shot put with a distance of 34 feet, 2 inches and finished runner-up in the girls discus.

“She’s another one who has done better than she thought she was going to do. It’s been fun to watch her improve,” Newsome said.

Smart is proud of her achievements.

“I can walk around with my shoulders and head high. It feels great,” Smart said.

Her success can be attributed to her pre-meet rituals, confident attitude and high expectations for herself.

“I listen to music, get in my zone, focus… I always expect greatness,” Smart said.

Newsome is hoping that his athletes progress to the state meet on May 21. The top four finishers in each event will qualify for the state championships.

“My fingers are crossed that we might advance a few individuals,” he said.

Janie Peterson is sports editor of the West Forsyth Zephyr.