Ben Murphy
Contributing Writer

(Photo provided)

The Charlotte boys track and field team was able to enjoy another successful spring. The Orioles were undefeated in dual meets, giving them their third straight Capital Area Activities Conference championship. Things didn’t just stop with that however.

“We knew Olivet was going to be our toughest opponent and the guys put together an excellent performance to finish the regular season undefeated once again,” Nick Perkins, who just finished his seventh season as the boys’ head coach said. “Success was once again led by a strong group of sprinters and jumpers, a sophomore class that may go down as one of the best ever at Charlotte, and Cutler Brandt adding hurdles to his arsenal of skills was instrumental in being able to top a very talented Olivet team.”

The team broke three school records as well. Records in the 4×100 and 4×200 (Jason Green, Bryce McConnell, Maliki Garza, Brandt) were set, as was the 300 hurdles, with the new record being set by Brandt. The team also qualified for the MITCA team state finals for the second year in a row and they took home 10 all-state awards. This includes Bryce McConnell running a 49.78 in the 400 to take first at MITCA team states. Freshman Braylon Holmes also won the long jump with a 21’8.5. Brandt was also individual state champion in the 300 hurdles at the MHSAA state finals.

“After battling some lingering injuries through most of the season the 4×200 finally had a mostly healthy shot at the record at regionals this year and they made it count breaking the school record, winning the region and qualifying as the number one seed into the state final,” Perkins said.

The season didn’t end at the state finals for some team members. They sent their 4×200 and 4×400 team to the Adidas Outdoor Nationals at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, NC held June 14-to-16. The 4×200 team (Green, McConnell, Garza, Brandt) finished seventh with a time of 1:29.84, narrowly missing out on an all-American top-six place spot. The 4×400 team (Brandt, Garza, Phoenix Lawton, McConnell) had a 16th place finish with a 3:26.17.

“The boys were all smiles heading into the meet, they were able to enjoy the trip out of town and have some fun together as a team leading up to the races,” Perkins said. “The demeanor changed as they walked out onto the track and got a feel for just how far they had come, they all did a great job locking in and focusing on the task in front of them. That being said it was very hot and humid in North Carolina, making the 4×400 a much steeper task, a lot of the teams competing are track clubs assembled after the regular season where multiple schools in an area can put together faster teams than what they had in regular season competition, I was proud knowing that we made it there as a team and just our own Orioles were all we needed to not only qualify but to perform as we did on that stage.”

Perkins hopes that despite some key losses to graduation, they can continue their success on the track next spring.

“Although we graduated a very small senior class, losing Cutler, Maliki, and Jason is going to sting,” Perkins said. “This program and entire community will miss those guys tremendously, but we’re not done yet. Next year’s juniors accompanied by some senior talent and incoming freshmen will have their shot to make a mark of their own on this programs history.”