High School Sports

Mallard Creek’s Keon Howe named N.C. track athlete of the year

Mallard Creek's Keon Howe, shown at the NCHSAA 4A Western Regional meet last month in Boone, is the N.C. Gatorade boys’ track and field athlete of the year.
Mallard Creek's Keon Howe, shown at the NCHSAA 4A Western Regional meet last month in Boone, is the N.C. Gatorade boys’ track and field athlete of the year. Bill Kiser/Special to the Observer

Mallard Creek’s Keon Howe, who won two events at the N.C. 4A track and field championships last month, is the N.C. Gatorade boys’ track and field athlete of the year.

Howe was also named the Observer’s field events athlete of the year after winning the high jump and pole vault at the state meet at N.C. A&T in Greensboro. Mallard Creek became the first Mecklenburg County school to win an outdoor state 4A boys’ track title in five years.

Howe, who has signed a track scholarship with the Charlotte 49ers, was named the meet’s most outstanding male athlete after he tied the state all-classifications record with a pole vault of 16 feet. That record was set in 2008. Howe won the high jump with a mark of 6 feet, 10 inches.

Both of his performances ranked among the nation’s top 35 this season.

Howe, who carries a 3.66 grade-point average, is a musician and a member of his school’s DECA club. He also has volunteered as a percussion instructor for middle school students.

“Keon is the epitome of an individual you want to build a program around,” said Mallard Creek coach Donald Littlejohn. “He’s selfless and hard-working … you wouldn’t even know he won multiple state titles because he’s so humble.”


The Cam Newton annual 7-on-7 tournament is June 25-26 at Olympic High.

The field of 26 teams includes several from the Observer area: Carolina Pride, Davidson Day, Forestview, Hough, Lake Norman Charter, Lancaster, Nation Ford, Olympic, Rock Hill, South Mecklenburg, Rock Hill South Pointe, West Mecklenburg and York.

Players from all teams receive gear from Newton’s shoe sponsor and headphones from another company he endorses. The first-place team gets a $2,500 donation to its football program. The second-place team gets $1,500 and the third place team gets $1,000. Admission is $3, with proceeds benefiting the Cam Newton Foundation.

Games begin both days between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. and Newton will be on site.

The top two teams from the Olympic High event will advance to the 7-on-7 championship tournament at Nation Ford High in Fort Mill July 10-11 against qualifiers from Newton events in Atlanta, Kennesaw, Ga, and Birmingham, Ala.


Several area teams won Wells Fargo conference cups for the 2014-15 season. The Wells Fargo conference cup recognizes schools that achieve the best overall athletic performance within the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s four classes.

Area winners: Community School of Davidson (Southern Piedmont 1A); Parkwood (Rocky River 2A); East Lincoln (Southern District 7 2A); Forestview (Big South 2A/3A); Cox Mill and Hickory Ridge (South Piedmont 3A); Marvin Ridge (Southern Carolina 3A); Lake Norman (North Piedmont 3A/4A); Robinson (MECKA 4A); Ardrey Kell (SoMeck 8); Myers Park (Southwester 4A).

Southwestern 4A All-Conference Baseball, Softball


Player of the Year: Emma Swenson (Butler)

Coach of the Year: Constance Orr (PR)

All-Conference Team: Kara Cunningham, Sr. (PR); Hannah Smith, Jr. (PR); Danielle Chapman, So. (PR); Stephanie Galioto, Sr. (PR); Jessica Dula, Sr. (PR); Elizabeth Swenson, Sr. (But); Aliyah Hastings, Sr. (But); Paige Jacky, So. (But); Erin Bader, Jr. (But); Lizzy Birch, Sr. (Indy); Kendall Anderson, Fr. (Indy); Savannah Hinson, Jr. (Indy); Rachel Collins, Sr. (EM); Olivia Pauldin, So. (EM); Tabitha Formon, Fr. (MP); Alex Britt, Sr. (MP); Cailyn Duncan, So. (RR); Lasha Hicks, Sr. (RR); Veronica Slowan, So. (Gar); Arienna Townsend, Jr. (Gar)


Player of the Year: Tristan Shea, C, Soph., Porter Ridge

Coach of the Year: Rick Sambrotto, Butler

All-Conference Team: Cameron Allen, Independence; Jordan Belote, East Meck; James Carter, Rocky River; Marcus Chan, Myers Park; Brady Cottom, Butler; Jackson Dean, Myers Park; Owen Grayson, Myers Park; Jordan Huntley, Butler; Jacob James, Garinger; Scott Kobos, Myers Park; Dean Looney, Butler; Mark Milleman, Independence; Jarrett Norman, Butler; Tate Pennington, Butler; Kobe Phillips, Butler; Will Ruby, Porter Ridge; Sean Sessoms, Butler; Jarrett Thompson, Independence; Chase Ward, Porter Ridge; Justin Williams, Independence