In his first season of track and field, Torin Dorn already is a state-championship contender in the high jump.
Vance coach Derrick Eure said that if his senior star athlete would have taken to the sport sooner, he’d probably be competing on a national level.
Dorn has established his athletic reputation in basketball, the sport he will play next year for the Charlotte 49ers; but he’s dabbled in other sports during his four years at Vance, including baseball and golf.
In his final year, Dorn committed to track and field, and his personal-best high-jump mark of 6 feet, 4 inches, is the best in the 4A West region and second-best in the state.
The regional meet will be May 10 at Providence High School, and the state championships are May 17 at NC A&T in Greensboro.
Dorn, a 6-foot-4 guard, averaged 21.6 points, five rebounds and 5.6 assists for the Vance basketball team and was named the MECKA 8 4A Conference Player of the Year.
Though he had been a standout in his previous three seasons, Dorn attributes part of his senior success to the off-season conditioning Eure led him through last summer.
With a few other athletes, Eure trained Dorn five days a week. Dorn ran sprints, middle distance and hurdles – all with the primary goal of making him a more physically fit and agile basketball player.
“I reached out to him,” said Dorn. “I had established a relationship with him as a teacher. I did a lot of feet work … everything to make me more athletic for basketball season. He noticed I was excelling in that and suggested I run track. I told him, since he worked me out, I would run track.”
Early summer workouts turned into preseason workouts for Vance’s cross country team.
Dorn joined three other boys and one girl in helping Eure recondition Vance’s cross country practice trail. The group cut down overgrown weeds and brush, leveled the running surface and added new mulch to other areas. And they still had time for conditioning and weight-room work.
Dorn moved on to basketball workouts in fall but promised Eure he would return the favor by running track in spring. Eure, a former Charlotte 49ers hurdling champion, is in his second year as Vance’s coach.
Eure thought he had a commitment from Dorn to join the track and field team last year, but it didn’t work out.
“Last year, I tried,” said Eure. “I begged him. He came to tryouts, made the team and disappeared. It took my heart away.”
Dorn was committed to AAU basketball on the weekends and did not want it to conflict with Saturday track and field meets. This year, he is not playing basketball in spring.
Dorn took little time establishing himself as a high jumping force. He leaped 6 feet, 4 inches, at his first meet at Hopewell, still a personal best for the season, which he’s matched one other time.
A jumping specialist, Dorn also has competed in the triple jump and high jump. He runs a leg of the 4x400-meter relay team, which also has qualified for regionals.
At the prestigious Taco Bell meet April 11-12 in Columbia, S.C., Dorn placed fourth in the high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 2 inches, but he was just as proud of the relay team’s eighth-place finish.
Dorn said he appreciates how track and field will help him in basketball.
“Track is more about what you can do individually as opposed to what your team does,” said Dorn. “It will help me with pressure moments.
“In basketball, I have the team to rely on with pressure moments. I think that’s the biggest thing, and finding out that you can go farther than what you think you can physically.”
Dorn thinks he can jump 6 feet, 6 inches, by the end of the season and be a state champion.
It might be the last competitive jumping – outside of jump shots – that he does. This summer, he will spend his time training with Vance assistant basketball coach Brian Frazier.
Dorn will start taking classes at UNC Charlotte during the second summer session.