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Winston-Salem chronicle. (Winston-Salem, N.C.) 1974-current, May 07, 2015, Page B2, Image 12

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Stellar track career coming to a close for Parkland's Williams BY CRAIG T GREENLEE FOR THE CHRONICLE Editor's note: Part of the fol lowing story was cut off in last week's paper. We are rerunning the story in its entirety below. Miscalculations can prove costly in a hurdles race. Ebony Williams of Parkland High knows all about it. The memory of last year's disappointment Class 4-A state outdoor track championships hasn't been for gotten. Coming down the home stretch of the 300-meter hurdle finals, Williams had a seven meter cushion and victory seemed certain. But with 50 meters to go, she hit the second to-last hurdle and fell to the track, crushing her hopes of winning her first individual state title. "That's something that I still haven't really gotten over," said Williams. "I try not to think about what happened a year ago. But here it is a year later, and I'm hoping that I'll get another chance to run the 300 hurdles at the state and have a different out come. I'm doing everything I can to make sure that I'm prepared for it." Much has happened since that unexpected ending. Williams has fortified her reputation as one of the nation's elites. In the MileSplit USA rankings, she's No. 4 in the 100-meter hurdles (13.69 seconds). Entering the final days of the track season, Williams is No. 1 in the IUU hurdles ana 300 hurdles (43.38 seconds) in the N.C. Runners state rank ings. Williams, a sen ior, is looking to close out a stellar career in grand style at the state outdoor championships on Saturday, May 9 in Greensboro. To do ca chu mnct nlor><s JU, 3IIV I1IUJI piuvv among the top four in her events at the regional championships on Saturday, May 2, in order to qual ify for state. Assuming she makes the cut, her story line figures to be one of the most intriguing for the state championships. Inquiring minds want to know if Williams can match her standout performance at the state indoor championships in February. Williams owned the competi tion as Parkland's girls won the team title for the second year in a row. In the meantime, she won the 55-meter hurdles and 300 meter dash and ran the anchor leg on the Mustangs' gold-medal winning 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams. For that day's body of work, Williams was voted MVP of the state championships. "That was a shock to me, saia wmiams, wno will graduate with a 4.1 weighted grade-point average. "I never saw it coming. I broke the 55 meter hurdles record, which made me No. 1 all-time (in North Carolina) and I was named MVP. Looking back on my whole high school career, that's something I'll always rp mr? m Kp r It u/ac inct 1V11IV1I1UV1. II "MO JUJI amazing." Over the past three seasons, Williams has bloomed as one of the most versatile high school track athletes in the state. During that span, she's placed among the top eight in both hurdle events at state meets (indoors and out doors). Williams is equally for midable as a key cog in the sprint relays. Since her sophomore year, Parkland has reigned as a two time national champion in the 4x200 (indoors and outdoors) and three-time state champ in the 4x400. "Ebony has broken every hur dies record at Parkland and she's played a huge part in helping our relay teams win championships," said Coach Ant wan Hughes. "Not only is she a great leader, but she's an outstanding role model, athletically and academically. All the girls, especially the younger ones, look up to her. Ebony has done a remarkable job." Williams will end her high school career as one of the Triad's most accomplished track athletes in recent history. Even though she's won championships and has a college scholarship to run track at Clemson University, staying hungry and motivated has never been an issue. "My team keeps me motivat ed," she said. "We don't run in a lot of meets in Winston-Salem. But when we do compete in local meets like our conference cham pionships, we want to leave no doubt that this (Central Piedmont) is our conference." In recent years, the domi nance of Parkland's girls in track and ' field is undeniable. Compared to their counterparts, the Mustangs have proven to be head-and-shoulders above the reSt of the pack. As a result, expectations are sky-high, but that doesn't mean that Williams and her teammates take winning for granted. "People look at us and say that we're so good and we make things look so easy," she said. "But it's what we do in practice that makes all the difference. We train like animals. Coach Hughes runs us so hard and so much, that when it comes to competing in a meet, it's a breeze. That's how we're able to keep running faster and keep setting records." The curtain is getting ready to close on the high school careers of Williams and five other Parkland seniors who will also run track in college. Nateja Hale (UNC Asheville), Da Mumford (Appalachian State), Erin Morrison (Hampton), Miaysha Bryant (N.C. Central), Katlin Sherman (UNC) and Williams were teammates in summer track before their arrival at Parkland in 2012. "What I'll miss most is the team bond, the chemistry," said Williams. "I've run with the same group, of girls since the age of 13. We've all known each other for the longest (time). Since I'm going to a different state for col lege, I won't get to see every body. I'll see some of them, but they'll be running for another school. So, it's not like we'll be able to catch-up with each other like we did when all of us were in Winston-Salem." Williams Rams from page B1 Connor Andrus followed with a two-ran homer over the left centerfield fence to tie the game at 4-4. Andrus, the CIAA's Player of the Year, was voted tournament MVP. Winston-Salem State got some timely pitching in the ninth to help set the stage for the comeback. Cummings came in from the bullpen to eventually put the game away, but there were some anxious moments. Cummings pitched his way out of a potentially troublesome situation when he got Alex Garcia out on an out field fly ball with the bases loaded In the WSSU half of the ninth, Taylor Idol singled up the middle and stole second. Des Roberts walked to put run ners on first and second. Keene drilled a single to bring home the winning ran. Sam Burton pitched 5 2/3 innings and surrendered four runs on seven hits before his departure. Eric Corlette held steady in middle relief and Cummings shut down the Falcons to improve his pitch ing record to 6-3. "Our seniors are playing the best ball of their careers and that's so important at this time of the season," said Ritsche. "In those close games, they've responded. That's what happened in the first round against St. Aug's. This team knows how to win in the clutch." Aside from being a five time automatic qualifier to the NCAA regionals, Winston Salem State has cracked the national rankings on several occasions in recent seasons. Given its track record, there's no denying that Winston Salem State has arrived as one ol the premier pro grams in Division II baseball. During the regular season, the Rams were 15-1 in conference play and 23-12 vs. non conference compe tition. Ifarto by Craig T. Greenlee Ken Ritsche, WSSU basebaltcoach Connor Andrus is the ClAA Player of the Year and CIAA Tournament MVP. 2015 CIAA Baseball All-Tournament Team . Cotton Gutin - Pitcher - (VSU) Zachery Jordan - Pitcher (VSU) Aaron Flanagan - Catcher - (CU) Connor Andrus ? Catcher - (WSSU) Kyle Cross - First Base - (CU) Taylor Idol - (Second Base - (WSSU) Colby Keen/ - Third Base ? (WSSU) Mate Steg/r - Short Stop ? (WSSU) Tashaun Taylor - Outfield - (VSU) ' Dylan Dombrowkas - Outfield - (WSSU) Nick Christopher - Pitt her/Short Stop - (VSU) Jacob Barber - Designated Hitter ? (WSSU) Tournament MVP Connor Andrus - Catcher - (WSSU) Hamby from page S7 Hamby, whose home is Marietta, Ga., is a relative new comer to the game compared to most of her peers. She didn't start to play the game until high school and she didn't make the cut for the varsity until her junior year. Since then, there's been a huge learning curve and she handled the transition well. "Right now, I'd say I'm about a seven-and-a-half on a scale of one to 10," said Hamby, who fin ished her career at Wake as the all-time leader in points scored (1301) and rebounds (1,021), "I think I can be a 10. With my quickness and versatility, my game is nowhere near what it can be." Hamby's length, combined with her foot speed and lateral quickness, make her unique. A major part of her game is beating opponents down the floor in tran sition and finishing strong around the rim. She's at her best in open space and she causes match-up headaches for opponents because of her ability to score in a variety of ways. As a passer, she's much improved due to the frequent double and triple-teams she'faced during her senior season. Much has transpired for Hamby in four years' time. There were no lofty expectations for her as a college rookie. By the end of her senior season, her prospects for playing at the next level con tinued to soar. "There was no way for any one to know that things would turn out the way they did," she said. "It's been a journey. But through it all, I've learned patience. More than anything else, that's what has helped me to get to where I am now." Given Hamby's emergence, it's hard to believe that there was a time when she wanted no parts of basketball. Instead, she became an accomplished Softball player. "At first, I didn't like bas ketball," she recalled. "I played in the boys and girls club league in sixth grade and I quit because I hated it. People kept swinging on my arms. I tried out in eighth grade but didn't make the team. "Basketball was something I thought I wanted to do, but I wasn't very good at it. When I hit that growth spurt, the basketball coach at my high school told me 1 should come to try-outs. I did make the team, but not because I was good, but because I was tall. That whole year I sat at the end of bench for the varsity and I played on the jayvee. But things have really worked out well for me. I've grown to love this game and I enjoy it and what it brings." i Photo by Cr*| T UMlee Dearie a Hamby is Wake's career leader in points and rebounds. ?r Softball from page~E1 able' to make the plays we needed to make at crucial times." The Lady Rams opened the game against Chowan with a quick barrage. Monet Daly scored from third when pitcher Kayla Robins walked Kat Zimmer with the bases loaded. Katrina Bartlett stepped up and blasted a home run to drive in four runs -to give WSSU a 5-0 lead. It didn't take long for Chowan to answer. With one out and two runners on base, Courtney Diamond hit a run-scoring sin gle. The Hawks added another run with the bases loaded when Chandler Bridges scored from third after Brook Bowen was hit by a pitch. Chowan forged ahead to take a 7-5 lead on Danielle Baccus' grand slam. Down 8 5 entering the top half of the fourth innine. the Lady Rams loaded the bases with singles by Mercedes Hargett and Anna Marino sandwiched in between Bartlett reaching base on a fielder's choice. WSSU regained the lead at 9-8 when Jada Johnson cleared the bases with a home run shot over the right field fence. Chowan tied the game 9-9 in the bottom of the fourth, when Diamond delivered an RBI-single to score Bridges. After that, the Lady Rams became their own nemesis. Errors in the fourth and fifth innings led to three unearned runs for the Hawks, which proved to be the final margin of defeat for WSSU. In five tournament games, the Lady Rams had a team batting average of .313, averaged 8.6 runs per game and had 31 RBIs. Individually, Haigett and Kiah Ruffin were named to the CIAA All-Tournament team. Hargett, a sophomore pitcher/utility player, show cased her ability to hit for average (375) and for power (three home runs and six RBIs). Ruffin, a senior outfield er who transferred from UNC Greensboro two years ago, hit .313 for the tournament. "Although the outcome wasn't what was hoped for, I saw a lot of positives," said Gray. "It was a week end of growth for us. With only three seniors and no jun iors on this team, we had a very young group. They've gotten better at trusting in the process and learning how to play for each other and not as individuals trying to do everything on their own." Photo by Cnii T. Greenlee Kiah Rufin made the CIAA's All Tournament team. The CIAA All-Tournament Team Chandler Bridges (Chowan University) Jordan Burland-Card (Chowan University) Cassandra Clayborne (Bowie State University) Taylor Hamilton (Virginia Union University) Mercedes Hargett (Winston-Salem State) Tatyana Jordan (Virginia State University) Alora Lincoln (Chowan University) Mar ley Parker (Saint Augustine's University) Jasmine Rios (Saint Augustine's University) Kiah Ruffin (Winston-Salem State University). Hannah Stutts (Saint Augustine's University) Miranda Zanni (Saint Augustine's University) Tournament MVP Miranda Zanni (Saint Augustine's University) t! to <i

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