Watauga's Darby Middlebrook is just one of the many area athletes who will be vying for a state title today at the 26th N.C. Indoor Track and Field Championships at North Carolina's Eddie Smith Fieldhouse.
But she's the only area athlete, girl or boy, ranked No. 1 in two events.
Middlebrook, the All-Observer girls' cross country runner of the year the past two seasons after winning the N.C. 4A cross country state title in 2010 and finishing second this past fall, is ranked No. 1 in the 1,600 meters (5 minutes, 4.52 seconds) and 3,200 meters (10:59.73).
Despite the rich distance running tradition of Watauga, Middlebrook could become the first girl from the school to win the 1,600 and the second to win the longer distance since Wendi McIntire won in 1989.
But several other area athletes are ranked No. 1 as well in the 4A meet, including West Mecklenburg's Alvonna Blakney (55-meter hurdles, 8.21), and North Mecklenburg's Christopher Thompson (55 meters, 6.34).
In the 1A/2A/3A meet, two local athletes are ranked in the top spot: North Rowan's Teaunna Cuthbertson (long jump, 17-feet, 10 inches) and North Lincoln's Allie Castro (3,200 meters, 11:23.18). Cuthbertson has won the last two N.C. 1A outdoor track titles in the long jump.
Though not ranked No. 1, Monroe seniors Jamie Glenn and Janieyah Collins are dominant in multiple events. Glenn, who has won the past two N.C. 1A triple outdoor track jump titles, is ranked third in the shot put (36-8), second in the long jump (17-8.5) and third in the triple jump (37-7.75). Collins, who won the 2009 N.C. 2A 300-meter hurdles outdoor title and the 2011 N.C. 1A 300-meter hurdles outdoor title, is ranked fourth in the 55-meter hurdles (8.94) and second in the 300 meters (40.48).
In the boys' 1A/2A/3A meet, two area seniors could find themselves vying for the title in the end. Weddington's Cole Finch and Salisbury's William Brown are No. 2 and 3 in the high jump, at 6-7 and 6-6 respectively. Union Pines senior Spencer Walden comes in with the best jump at 6-8.
Also, Marvin Ridge is ranked second in two girls' events: the 1,600-meter relay (4:10.90) and 3,200-meter relay (10:05.39), with rival Weddington third in the longer relay at 10:21.20. Marvin Ridge won the event in 2010 and Weddington won it last year.
Notes: Because of the growth of indoor track in North Carolina, the state meet format is changing next year. Currently, there are two championships: 4A and 1A/2A/3A. Next year, there will be three: 4A, 3A and 1A/2A. The meet split into two classifications in 2007 after holding the first 20 championships as one classification.
With the opening of the $2.5 million JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem earlier this year, officials are also considering relocating the meet to the new facility from the Eddie Smith Fieldhouse, which hosted the meet from its inception in 1987 until 1994, and then again from 2002-2010. The meet was held outdoors last year due to construction and was held at Greensboro's special events center from 1995-2001.