High School Sports

Boys Track: Sun Valley’s PJ Lotharp looks for another championship run

Charlotte Observer spring sports athlete preview: P.J. Lotharp, 18, a senior 100 meters, 200 meters, 4x1 and 4x2 relay track and field runner from Sun Valley High School. Photo by JASON E. MICZEK - www.miczekphoto.com
Charlotte Observer spring sports athlete preview: P.J. Lotharp, 18, a senior 100 meters, 200 meters, 4x1 and 4x2 relay track and field runner from Sun Valley High School. Photo by JASON E. MICZEK - www.miczekphoto.com WWW.MICZEKPHOTO.COM

P.J. Lotharp finished off his 2015 outdoor track season in record-breaking fashion as the Sun Valley sprinter ran to four state championships, including the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes as well as anchoring the 4 X 100 and 4 X 200-meter relay teams to 3A state titles.

The 3A state championship meet’s most valuable player (MVP) set personal bests in each event, including an all-class, state record 10.35 seconds to win the 100-meter dash.

The Sun Valley senior now wants to do it again, but he hopes to be even faster.

"This year, I want to go back to states and break all of my own records and times," Lotharp said. "That means putting in a lot of work. For it’s not about what other people do, but it’s about going out and running my best race."

Lotharp got off to a good start this winter, winning a 3A state, indoor championship in the 55-meter dash, Feb. 12, for the second year in a row.

Lotharp’s latest state titles not only gives him six state championships in his career, but also finally gives him family bragging rights.

Lotharp’s father, Kevin (1993 Forest Hills’ graduate), had five state titles, while his older brother, Jamael (2012 Forest Hills’ graduate) had two, and his mother, Tiny Chambers (1993 Forest Hills’ graduate) also had one state crown.

"I didn’t want to live in my family’s shadow for forever, because for a long time I was always the (Jamael’s) younger brother or (Kevin or Tiny’s) son," said Lotharp, with a laugh. "I wanted to make a name for myself. Now, that I the most state championships, I definitely have bragging rights. But my goal is to win more. I want to get to double digits state titles."

To do that, Lotharp will have to have another historic run in his final high school season.

Lotharp says he doesn’t try to put too much pressure, instead he just tries to focus on his routine.

"When I get in the starting blocks, I’m not really thinking about anything," Lotharp said. "I’m just focused on doing the same things I do in practice every day."

Lotharp also hopes to run his way onto a college track roster this spring, as he is currently being recruited by schools like Campbell, Clemson, East Carolina, N.C. State and South Carolina.

But no matter where his track career takes him, Lotharp says he never has look further than his own family for motivation, especially his mom.

"My mom is always messing with me, telling me what I can’t do," Lotharp said. "But she knows what she is doing. She know whatever she says that I’m just going to try to prove he wrong."

Charlotte Observer Boys’ Track Athletes to Watch

Mitchell Resor, Weddington, Sr.: University of North Carolina signee coming off two 3A state title indoors (1000-meter, 1600-meter), now wants more outdoors.

Brent Carroll, Berry, Sr.: Ohio State signee one of the top hurdlers in the state looks to prove again outdoors.

Cravont Charleston, Mallard Creek, Sr.: N.C. State signee, 4A indoor state champion in 55-meter dash, one of the fastest men in the state.

Bailey Frederick and Carter Clasper, Marvin Ridge, Sr.: Both Maverick vaulters have proven to be amongst top in the state in any classification.

Matthew Conner, Weddington, Sr./Alex Cornwell, Hickory Ridge, Sr.: Future Charlotte 49ers’ teammates will vie are also two of the state’s top distance runners.

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