Versatile athlete leads Chargers, reaches states

Ameenah Bey Shaw is well-rounded.

Though it's unusual for a track and field athlete to compete in both jumping and throwing events, the Cox Mill senior masters the triple jump, long jump, high jump and shot put.

"There are people that do a jumping event then a running event, but usually not someone who does two jumping events at the same time," said Bey Shaw. "It's two completely different muscle groups. Not everyone has more than one strong muscle group."

At the South Piedmont Conference meet, Bey Shaw won the triple and long jump championships while also placing second in the high jump and shot put.

That success allowed her to be named the SPC Field Athlete of the Year.

At the 3A Midwest Regional, Bey Shaw went on to win the triple jump title, automatically qualifying her for the state meet. She also clinched spots at last Friday's 3A championship in the high jump and shot put.

The versatile Bey Shaw also had a special senior year away from the track.

As an outside hitter on the Charger volleyball team in the fall, she earned All-SPC honors while helping Cox Mill reach the volleyball state playoffs.

Bey Shaw, the daughter of Brian Shaw and Dr. Annette Bey, credits her performanc - in both sports - on enrolling in weightlifting classes both semesters at school. She is driven to be the first female to be enshrined in the Cox Mill Champions Club, which recognizes weightlifters for reaching certain standards.

"She has a great attitude," said Sara Beth Hitt, Cox Mill's girls track and field coach. "She is in phenomenal physical condition."

Bey Shaw, who arrived at Cox Mill midway through her junior year after her family moved to Concord from Bluffton, S.C., has been interested in a variety of sports.

The first sport she went out for in middle school was football.

As a seventh-grader, she played running back and wide receiver for her middle school, although she says she was only a practice player and never played a down for the team.

The next year, Bey Shaw made a 180-degree change and joined the cheerleading team instead.

She was also a gymnast and is still a competitive dancer, even though it sometimes overlaps with playing club volleyball.

It wasn't until her freshman year at Bluffton High that Bey Shaw hit the volleyball court and the track.

As both a high and triple jumper, Bey Shaw twice reached the S.C. state qualifier meet, comparable to a regional meet in North Carolina.

As a junior, Bey Shaw helped Bluffton's volleyball team reached the S.C. 3A state finals.

That's when Bey Shaw transferred to Cox Mill. The first sport she competed in as a Charger was track and field last year, but she didn't perform nearly at the levels she has attained this season.

Bey Shaw, a member of the National Honor Society, received a National Achievement Merit Scholarship to Auburn and aspires to be a doctor.

She says the Tigers' track and field coach told her she has a chance to walk on the team if can reach 38 feet in the triple jump.

With almost a year in front of her, increasing her personal best jump from 36 feet seems like the smallest of challenges for someone like Bey Shaw.

"She's just extremely bright and hard-working," said Hitt.