South Charlotte

Hawks flock to capture state titles

Charlotte Latin's track teams don't know much about the agony of defeat.

The girls' team has won six NCISAA 3A titles in a row. The boys' team has three titles in four years.

If the Lady Hawks have lost lately, coach Larry McNulty can't remember.

"I don't think the girls here have lost a track meet in five years - not during the season, not at state," McNulty said. "We've just been basically almost untouchable."

Three Hawks seniors - Haylee Dawe, Kameron Spence and Jenny Ward - each have won eight state titles: four in track and four in cross country.

"It definitely got more and more nerve-wracking every year," Dawe said. "Everybody thinks it gets better with experience, but each year I was more and more nervous for every meet."

Cross country coach and assistant track coach Mike Weiss said the whole team had the goal of sending the seniors out winners.

"There was pressure on those girls to do something that had never been done before," Weiss said. "Plus, everyone else on the team was aware of the contributions of these seniors and wanted to accomplish that for them, not just for themselves."

McNulty emphasized the importance of the entire team coming together to win, from the senior leaders to the new freshmen. They made his job easy, he said.

"The kids came to practice every day with a smile on their face and said, 'Hey coach, what do you want us to do today?' And they went and did it," McNulty said.

McNulty said the comradery of the team became evident at the state meet this year when opposing coaches took notice of the tight-knit group.

They "made comments about how tight the Latin kids were and how there was a tremendous sense of unity and team spirit among the kids," McNulty said.

Dawe and Spence said the closeness of the team extends outside of track. The two have run together since middle school and are very close. "Haylee's definitely one of my best friends," Spence said.