Onya Edwards is used to being good at nearly everything she does.
From the basketball court to the track to the classroom to marching band, Edwards has excelled in every facet at Charlotte Catholic.
But while she established herself early in basketball (started in fourth grade), as a musician (began playing piano at age 5), and as a gifted student (holds 3.5 GPA), Edwards had never participated in a track meet until two seasons ago.
Now, Edwards, 17, a senior, is on the verge of becoming a state champion.
"It all started when I was in basketball practice and I would outrun just about everyone on the team in sprints," Edwards said.
Her coaches told her she should try track.
"I remember a couple days in practice where we ran a lot and Onya was winning the sprints by half a court," said girls' basketball coach Bobby Conrad. "That is when we had three Division I guards. We knew she was a driven, talented and motivated athlete."
Edwards did get on the track team her sophomore season. But it was her ability in the long jump that stood out.
Within just a few months, Edwards began to establish herself among the ME-GA 7 3A/4A's best, winning the conference's long jump title, finishing fourth at the 3A Midwest Regional and 10th at the 3A state meet.
In her junior season, Edwards repeated as the conference champion in the long jump and also won the triple jump. She went on to win the 3A Midwest Regional in the long jump and was runner-up in the triple jump.
Edwards did all of this with little formal training.
"Coach (Mike) Grady lit a fire in her like I've never seen," said Bartina Edwards, Onya's mother. "After just a little bit of success, she was ready to do whatever it took to get better."
Edwards was the 3A state runner-up in the long jump in May, with a personal best of 17 feet, 2.5 inches. She also was seventh in the triple jump.
"Finishing second, and being so close to a state title, broke my heart," Edwards said. "I am definitely looking to win a state championship in the long jump this year."
Edwards was 21st in the nation in the long jump in May at the New Balance Nationals.
While she likely won't play basketball in college, she is having her best season, averaging 10 points per game. She had four double-doubles in the past two weeks, including an 18-point, 17-rebound effort in a recent win against West Mecklenburg.
Edwards has heard from a number of colleges, including College of Charleston, High Point, UNC Asheville, UNC Wilmington and Wofford, and is excited about where she'll end up.
"I feel like I've just begun to realize my potential," she said.
Observer Area Track Athletes To Watch
Janieyah Collins, Monroe, Sr.: 2009 N.C. 2A outdoor 300-meter hurdles champion and last year's N.C. 1A outdoor 300-meter hurdles champion
Teaunna Cuthbertson, North Rowan: Two-time defending N.C. 1A outdoor track long jump champion
Sydney Foreman, Ardrey Kell, So.: Had a breakout cross country season this past fall where she ran 17:50 for a 5K. Should experience even more success on the track
Jamie Glenn, Monroe, Sr.: Two-time defending N.C. 1A outdoor track triple jump champion
Kaitlyn Kramer, Ardrey Kell, Sr.: One of the most consistent runners the past four years, she ended her high school cross country career last fall with a personal best 17:48 for the 5K. She boasts bests of 5:01.65 (1,600 meters), and 10:58.06 (3,200 meters), and will look to improve on those this spring
Darby Middlebrook, Watauga, Jr.: Two-time All-Observer girls' cross country Runner of the Year, and last year's All-Region outdoor track Runner of the Year, is fresh off her N.C. 4A indoor state meet record in the 1,600 meters (5:01.72). Has outdoor bests in the 1,600-meters of 5:00.10 and in the 3,200-meters of 10:49.57
Julisa Tindall, Rock Hill Northwestern, Jr.: Last year's All-Observer Field Event Athlete of the Year won the S.C. 4A high jump title and had one of the nation's best jumps (5-feet, 10 inches)
Julia Hoover, Myers Park, Sr.: Had one of the best 800-meter times in the state (2:15.99) and was an All-Observer pick last outdoor track season
Toni Thorn, Jr.; Alvonna Blakney, Sr.; Michaela Williams, Sr. and Naya Tapper, Sr., West Mecklenburg: The quartet teamed to win N.C. 4A titles in the 400-meter relay (48.11) and 800-meter relay (1:40.29) last outdoor track season
Jonathan Bivens, Weddington, Sr.: The Appalachian State signee had one of the best 5Ks in the state last cross country season (15:38) and was the All-Piedmont Runner of the Year. His strong fall should translate into a solid track season
Mark Blackmon, West Charlotte, Sr.: One of state's best distance runners with a range from 800 meters (had one of state's best times last year at 1:54.43) to the 5K (won N.C. 4A cross country title and ran 15:01 to qualify for the Foot Locker nationals, but did not attend)
Kedrick Davis, Berry, Sr.: All-Observer track runner of the year last season set the N.C. 2A state meet record in the 100 meters (10.47) and ran on the record-setting 400-meter relay (41.78) and 800-meter relay (1:26.14)
Cameron Hudson, Berry, Sr.: All-Observer pick and All-Mecklenburg field event athlete of the year won the N.C. 2A title in the 200 meters (21.33) and the long jump (22-feet, 5 inches) and ran on the N.C. 2A state meet record-setting 400-meter relay
Germone Hopper, Berry, Sr.: All-Observer selection ran on both of Berry's record-setting 400- and 800-meter relays at the N.C. 2A championships
Adam Mann, Draughn, Sr.: All-Observer pick had state's second-best discus throws (179-feet) and won the N.C. 2A title
Harvey McSwain II, Crest, Sr.: Last year's N.C. 3A 100- and 200-meter champion and All-Region runner of the year, who has signed with college track power TCU, is the son of former N.C. State sprinter Harvey McSwain, who won the 100-meter state title in 1981 while running for Shelby
John Oglesby, North Rowan, Sr.: N.C. 1A outdoor 300-meter hurdles champion was on the All-Observer team
Brett Squibbs, Rock Hill South Pointe, Sr.: All-Observer field event athlete of the year had a best of 16-feet in the pole vault last year and won the S.C. 3A title and the prestigious Taco Bell Invitational in Columbia, S.C.
Jordan Warren, Harrisburg Hickory Ridge, Jr.: Had area's best triple jump (45-feet, 8 inches) and finished runner-up at the N.C. 3A Championships.