Before the 2015 outdoor season neither Mallard Creek’s Keon Howe nor Sun Valley’s P.J. Lotharp had won an individual outdoor state championship.
But both Howe and Lotharp turned most valuable player (MVP) performances in their respective state meet’s to claim the Observer top track honors.
Howe, the 4A state championship MVP, became the first athlete to win the 4A state titles in both the high jump and pole vault in 59 years.
Howe, the Charlotte Observer boys’ track field athlete of the year, went 6-10 to win the 4A crown in the high jump and tied all-class, state-record, vaulting 16-0 to also claim the 4A title in that event.
Lotharp, the 3A state meet MVP, accounted for state titles in four different events, winning the 100 and 200-meter dashes, while anchoring the 4 X 100 and 4 X 200-meter relays to state championships as well.
Lotharp, the Charlotte Observer boys’ track runner of the year, set a 10-year old all-classification state record in the 100-meter dash, running a 10.35.
Mallard Creek coach, Donald Littlejohn and Marvin Ridge coach, Cameron Starr share Observer boys’ track coach of the year honors, after leading their respective teams to 4A and 3A state, team championships.
All-Observer Boys Track Team
Charlotte Observer Boys’ Track Runner of the Year: P.J. Lotharp, Sun Valley, Jr.
Charlotte Observer Boys’ Field Athlete of the Year: Keon Howe, Mallard Creek, Sr.
Charlotte Observer Boys’ Track Coach of the Year: Donald Littlejohn, Mallard Creek and Cameron Starr, Marvin Ridge.
All Charlotte Observer Boys Track 1st Team
100-meter dash: P.J. Lotharp, Sun Valley, Jr.: Broke a 10-year all-classification state-record time (10.35) in winning 3A title.
200-meter dash: P.J. Lotharp, Sun Valley, Jr.: Won a second-state individual state title by .01 seconds.
400-meter dash: Ty Jaye Robbins-Lockhart, Piedmont, Sr.: Earned 3A state championship with state’s best outdoor time this season (46.72), also the No. 9 time in the nation this spring.
800-meter dash: Elijah Inuwa, Central Academy, Sr.: Ran state’s best time outdoors this season (1:51.70) to claim 2A state championship.
1600-meter dash: Alex Cornwell, Hickory Ridge, Jr. and Nick Linder, Providence Day, Sr.: Cornwell was 3A state runner-up (4:20.10), while Linder, a Harvard signee, ran 4:20.31 to claim the NCISAA 3A state title after missing much of season because of a stress fracture.
3200-meter run: Elijah Inuwa, Central Academy, Sr.: Ran Observer area’s best two-mile with 9:22.25 at Adidas Raleigh Relays.
110-meter hurdles: Josh Broadway, Charlotte Christian, Sr.: UNC Wilmington-bound hurdler had Observer area’s best time this season (14.15) to win CISAA conference title, also claimed NCISAA 3A state championship.
300-meter hurdles: Brent Carroll, Berry, Jr.: Cardinals’ standout ran to states’ No. 5 time overall of the season (37.93) to finish 3rd at the 4A state meet.
4 X 100-meter relay: Mallard Creek (Kyle Horton, Vernon Grier, Marquise Gaddy, Cravont Charleston): Mavericks’ relay ran state’s best time of the season (41.44) to win 4A state title.
4 X 200-meter relay: Mallard Creek (Kyle Horton, Vernon Grier, Nafees Lyon, Cravont Charleston): Mavericks also had state’s best time this season here (1:27.07) to win 4A state title.
4 X 400-meter relay: Ardrey Kell (Josh Cooper, Cameron Ramirez, Elijah Woods, Justin Cooper): Knights’ relay was third at 4A state meet with Observer-best time this spring of 3:21.50.
4 X 800-meter relay: Weddington (Alex Hazan, Ryan Hobbs, Matthew Conner, Mitchell Resor): 3A state runner-up had Observer-area best time this season of 7:56.24 to finish 3rd at the Taco Bell Classic.
High Jump: Keon Howe, Mallard Creek, Sr. and Chris Garrick, Marvin Ridge, Sr.: Howe jumped 6-10 to win 4A state title; Garrick won 3A state title (6-8), but hit 6-10 to win Taco Bell Classic.
Long Jump: Damarius Valentine, East Lincoln, Sr.: Mustang standout jumped state’s this outdoor season at 23-8 at East Lincoln home meet (March 18).
Triple Jump: Markel Dalton, Jay M. Robinson, Sr.: Won 4A West Regional title with state’s No. 2 jump of the outdoor season overall (48-2).
Pole Vault: Keon Howe, Mallard Creek, Sr.: Tied all-class state meet record with 16-0 to 4A state title.
Discus: Marcus Abraham, Victory Christian, Sr.: Gardner-Webb signee has state’s No. 4-best throw (172-0) to finish 5th at Taco Bell Classic, also won NCISAA 2A state title
Shot Put: Marcus Abraham, Victory Christian, Sr.: Also had state’s No. 2 throw of the outdoor season here (60-8.5) at Victory Christian home meet (April 24), while breaking 35-year old Mecklenburg County record, winning NCISAA state title in the process.
All Charlotte Observer Boys’ Track 2nd Team
100-meter dash: Cravont Charleston, Mallard Creek, Jr.
200-meter dash: Ty Jaye Robbins-Lockhart, Piedmont, Sr.
400-meter dash: Kaylan Love-Soles, Rocky River, Sr.
800-meter dash: Vincent Crisp, North Mecklenburg, Sr.
1600-meter dash: Mitchell Resor, Weddington, Jr.
3200-meter dash: Matthew Conner, Weddington, Jr.
110-meter hurdles: Brent Carroll, Berry, Jr.
300-meter hurdles: Corey Thompson, Sr.
4 X 100-meter relay: Sun Valley (Albert Funderburke, Isaiah Hicklin, Fabrice Funderburke, P.J. Lotharp).
4 X 200-meter relay: Sun Valley (Albert Funderburke, Isaiah Hicklin, Fabrice Funderburke, P.J. Lotharp).
4 X 400-meter relay: Marvin Ridge (Jordan Braswell, Justin Titgen, Jake Blizzard, Aaron Evans).
4 X 800-meter relay: Lake Norman (Wes Anderson, Wyatt Fedorka, Zack Clark, Ty Sauerbrey).
High Jump: Quanterious Caldwell, Northwestern, Sr.
Long Jump: Niegel Simmons, South Pointe, Jr.
Triple Jump: Steve Fossi-Noue, Mallard Creek, Jr.
Pole Vault: Bailey Frederick, Marvin Ridge, Jr.
Discus: Tyson Fortenberry, Ashbrook, Jr.
Shot Put: Chris Bouyer, Northwestern, Sr.