Anna Cockrell is used to winning every race that she runs.
The Providence Day senior had a year for the ages in 2015 as a junior, winning the 400-meter hurdles the Pan American Junior games (57.10 seconds) in Edmonton, Canada, just a month after claiming the U.S. Junior Track and Field Championship in Eugene, OR in the same event.
Cockrell also signed with the University of Southern California in November.
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But as the 12-time NCISAA state champion, five-time All-American, prepares for her final high school season (outdoor track), she is more focused what she hasn’t accomplished.
Cockrell, 18, is currently ranked No. 2 in the world in the 400-meter dash in U20 age group.
"It’s annoying because I’m not No. 1," said Cockrell, with a big laugh. "Honestly, I’m just never satisfied. There’s always something you can be better at doing in any race. I am constantly watching film to see what I can improve. I don’t believe in mediocrity. When I do something, I want to be the best."
Cockrell developed a lot of her fiercely, competitive nature within her own home from a young age.
Her older brother, Ross, a former Charlotte Latin and Duke football standout, is now a defensive back on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Her older sister, Cierra, is a former Providence Day volleyball star, who is now playing the same sport at Davidson College.
"Ross, Ciera and I have always competed with each other, to be the best at everything," said Cockrell, who is also a state champion sprinter. “Being the youngest was tough, but I think it has a lot to do with everything I have accomplished today."
Cockrell hopes to compete on the world stage again this summer, when she looks to qualify to compete for Team USA in the World Junior Championships in Poland in July.
Cockrell could be competing in the Olympic Trials this summer in Eugene, OR, where she has already qualified in the 400-meter hurdles.
But while Cockrell has proven herself on a national and even international stage on the track, she is still focused on finishing her Providence Day career on top.
This spring, Cockrell will look to add two more individual, and two more relay state championship to her resume, but the most important thing to her is a team (state) title.
"The theme for our team this year is ‘Back 4 More," said Cockrell, referring to winning their fourth straight state title. "It’s really important to all of us (seniors) to finish on top, to finish as champions."
Charlotte Observer Girls Track Athletes to Watch
Khayla Dawson, Olympic, Sr.: Indiana University signee looks to defend state title in shot put.
Brittany Stanley, Mount Pleasant, Sr.: Fresh off her first two individuals state titles (1600, 3200 indoor titles), Charlotte 49ers
Lexi King, Marvin Ridge, Jr./Jena Metwalli, Cannon School, Sr.: Two of the state
Alycia Springs, Mallard Creek, Sr.: University of South Carolina signee, defending 4A state, discus champion one of best throwers in the state.
Kenya Livingston, Rocky River, So.: 4A state indoor, high jump champion looks for a repeat performance outdoors.