When Anthony Bynum arrived at Hopewell High School, he had never run in a track meet.
Now, three years later, Bynum not only is the Titans' top sprinter, but also has established himself among the top runners in the state. The junior proved it May 22 at the 4A state meet, finishing second in the 200-meter dash and fourth in the 100-meter dash.
That came after he won the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the 4A West Regional meet earlier this month.
"When Anthony came in as a freshman, he was having a hard time even getting on a relay team," Hopewell track coach Michelle LaPointe said. "Now he is one of the best sprinters in the state. When you combine his talent with his work ethic, that is what you get."
Bynum is also a key member of the Titans' relay teams. He led the 4x200 squad to a second-place finish at the state meet.
Bynum also finished fifth in the 200-meter dash at indoor nationals in March in New York City, giving him All-America status. He hopes to add to his résumé in a couple of weeks, when he goes to N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro for the Nike Outdoor Nationals June 17-19. He will compete in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.
"Anthony has been exceptional for the last two years," said LaPointe, who has been the Titans' head track coach for the past six years. "But I think he wants to start winning golds (first place) at every race."
All Bynum's success is attracting big-time college interest: North Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame, LSU and Notre Dame have showed early interest.
"A lot of people are interested in Anthony right now," LaPointe said. "But I think this summer and fall, (recruiting) is really going to go way up. He will have a lot of options in the end."
Game of the week
While teams across North Carolina are looking for big wins in baseball and softball, the Lake Norman softball team topped them all last week.
The Wildcats (26-2) beat defending 4A state champion Alexander Central (27-2) by a 5-3 score to advance to the state quarterfinals in their first year in 4A, the state's highest classification. Alexander Central was ranked No. 12 in the country by ESPN, and some thought it was a shoo-in for a second straight state title.
Wildcat sophomore Kayla Pine went the distance for Lake Norman, striking out five batters and allowing only five hits. First-year head coach Bob Hall also deserves a lot of credit for guiding his team to a 26-2 mark this year.
(Results of the state quarterfinal between Lake Norman and T.C. Roberson were not available at press time.)
Team of the week
The North Mecklenburg girls' soccer team has taken its game to another level in the 4A state playoffs, outscoring opponents 16-2. The Vikings, 20-3-2 overall and ranked No. 4 in the state, beat No. 7 T.C. Roberson, No. 9 Lake Norman and No. 3 East Forsyth in the past week.
North Meck throttled East Forsyth 5-0 on the road after beating the Wildcats 5-1. The Vikings' Allison Stearns led the way against East Forsyth with three goals, while Morgan Byrne and Katherine Rusk added scores.
Sophomore goalkeeper Emily Rusk, Katherine's younger sister, also notched her 13th shutout of the season.
(Results of the North Meck-Hoggard 4A state championship game were not available at press time.)