MARS HILL — When Mount Airy made school history two years ago by winning its first-ever state championship in men’s track and field, two of the people who helped make it happen were Cameron Cordell France and Malik Frost.
On that day, France lifted the Granite Bears to the team championship by passing a North Stokes runner in the homestretch of the 4×400 relay, the final event of the day. It was the culmination of a comeback from an spinal injury which had sidelined him during what would have been his senior season of football.
Earlier that day, Frost and France had joined two teammates in also winning the state title in the 4×200 relay. A few weeks later, France signed with Mars Hill University to complete in men’s track and field for the Lions.
Frost still had one more season to go as a Bear, and he made it a great one, rushing for more than 1,000 years in football, then repeating as state 4×200 relay and overall team champion in 2016-17.
A few days before that meet, Mars Hill had come calling for him, too. Frost now competes for the Lions in both football and track.
The pair are currently wrapping up their first season reunited as teammates, and found themselves in a familiar position last month at the South Atlantic Conference track and field championships in Charlotte. In the 4×100 relay, France and Frost, along with teammates Nicholas Izquierdo and Shane Ward, finished seventh in the conference and earned two points for the Lions. France ran the second leg and Frost the anchor for Mars Hill.
France, listed as Cameron on the MHU roster but usually known as Cordell while at MAHS, also ran in the men’s 200 and also placed seventh there, scoring another two points. On day one of the meet, he placed first in his heat. Both he and Frost ran in the 100 as individuals, but weren’t able to make the qualifying time to run in the final.
The two have been competing for Mars Hill since the start of the indoor season last winter, mainly in the sprint events and relays, although they were also utilized during the indoor season as part of the Lions’ 4×400 relay team.
Frost made his debut for Mars Hill last Nov. 18 in a familiar venue, the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem. In his college debut, he team with Izquierdo, France and Spencer Shade to win the 4×400 in the JDL November Tune-Up, an indoor meet involving several other schools.
France had made his college debut in the same event on Dec. 3, 2016, where he set a personal best in the 100 in his own college debut. The Lions had initially planned to redshirt him in 2016-17, but he earned his way into the starting lineup and competed all season as a true freshman. He sent a message that it was a wise decision in a meet on Jan. 13, 2017 at East Tennessee State University, where he tied the then-school record in the 200 (22.43) and beat senior runners from Division I Appalachian State and Western Carolina. He easily shattered the mark during the 2017 outdoor season and has continued to progress since.
Mars Hill competes at the NCAA Division II level and finished eighth as a team in the 11-school SAC at this year’s men’s championships, but has excellent prospects for doing better in the years to come after fielding a team with 18 freshmen and sophomores this past season, including all four members of the 4×100 team that scored at the conference finals.
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