A lot of Concord Spider fans know Colby Mason because of what he does for the track and football teams.
That's good, because Mason says the reason he tried out for sports in the first place was to meet new people.
After transferring from Charlotte in the middle of his junior year, Mason became a track and field state qualifier and an all-conference football player in a little over a year's time. Too bad he's a senior, because he was just getting started.
Mason's latest endeavor will be competing in the winter track and field state championships, which will take place Feb. 12 in Fayetteville. This season teams will not have an indoor meet.
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Mason says he had not run track since the eighth grade but decided to give it a whirl last spring.
"At first I was kind of unsure about doing sports here because I didn't know a lot of people," said Mason. "But I figured it was a good way to get to know more people and interact at school."
Track and field coach Jill Gardiner said Mason made an immediate impression on her.
"After the first practice I knew I could put him in just about any event," she said. "He had the stamina to go long distance and the quickness to do short events. I was thinking he could do whatever he wants."
Mason, who was born in Concord, settled into the 400- and 800-meter runs and was a member of the 1600- and 3200-meter relays, both regional qualifying teams. Individually, he qualified for regionals in the 400 meters.
At the 3A Midwest regional meet at East Rowan, Mason's brightest moment came while running the anchor leg of the 1600-meter relay.
Concord was placed in the slower of the two heats but Mason led the Spiders to a dramatic finish. Trailing Jay M. Robinson and A.L. Brown to start the last leg, Mason overcame the opposition to win the heat and help Concord qualify for the state meet.
To prepare for the outdoor track and field season, Gardiner and fellow coach Tania Shaw talked with Mason about competing in the "indoor" season. Because the sport is mostly run outdoors, Mason was initially skeptical of the cold temperatures, but eventually gave in to his commitment to excellence.
In his first meet, at East Rowan, Mason qualified for the state meet in the 300 meters. As Concord approached the state championships, Mason's 1600-meter relay team, which also includes Chance Clark, Sean Daley and Xavier Lewis, was also hoping to qualify.
"We have a lot more to do before the outdoor season," said Mason. "That's what we're preparing for. We're practicing, working on our handoffs, making sure our steps are right."
Mason also had a surprising football season with the Spiders.
After deciding to play last fall, he was resigned to the prospect that all the starting positions would be taken.
"I just had to work hard and show the coaches what I had in practice," he said. "And that's how I got to play."
Not only did Mason earn a starting cornerback position, he also led the South Piedmont Conference with six interceptions. He was named all-conference as the Spiders advanced to the third round of the 3A state playoffs.
One of Mason's highlights on the football field was playing against Central Cabarrus, where his father graduated. His dad joked that he was considering sitting on the Central side of the field. Mason responded by picking off two Viking passes and adding a long punt return.