GREENSBORO — The competition was fierce, but a local middle school student brought home a bronze medal from the USA Track and Field state qualifier this weekend.
Passing showers interrupted events over the three days at N.C. A&T University, but between raindrops, Kaulin Smith took third place in the 100m hurdles to advance to the state championship.
He finished the race in 16.88 seconds.
The rising eighth-grader from Meadowview just missed making the cut for the 200m hurdles, too, placing seventh when the top six advance to the state level.
The boy in the lane next to Kaulin tripped and fell during the race, and that caused Kaulin to slow down, noted dad Anthony Smith, who coaches Team Elite Track and Field. Otherwise, Kaulin likely qualifies for state as the sixth-place finisher was only a quarter of a second faster.
Despite the distraction, the coach said Kaulin still had a personal best at 30.77 seconds.
Smith also had a personal best in the long jump at 15-01. He finished in 10th place and didn’t qualify for state in the event.
Smith competed in the 13-14 age group. He is only 13 and still has a ways to grow, while some of the 14-year-olds were a head taller.
That age difference was even more pronounced in the girls’ events where 12-year-old Jordan Westmoreland competed in the 13-14 group even though she doesn’t turn 13 for another five months.
Some of these girls’ thigh muscles were nearly as big as Jordan’s waist, said mom Kelly Mills Westmoreland.
Westmoreland finished the 400 meters in 1:22 to make the top 50 (48th), but finished well short of the top sprinters, who set a blistering pace.
Just how fast was this group? The top 18 sprinters all finished with a time faster than Carver’s Sykonza Evans had when she won the Western Piedmont Conference championship this spring.
While Westmoreland finished 48th here, the rising seventh-grader’s time would have placed 11th in the WPAC event this spring.
Later that day, she also finished 48th in the 200 meters with a time of 33.17.
Similar to her earlier race, the 12-year-old’s time would have placed her 11th in the WPAC championship, which is the conference in which she will compete in two years as a Surry Central student.