1975 State Championships

Boys: May 23, 1975 at NC State University, Raleigh

Girls: May 1975 at Hoke County High School, Raeford

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Team Scores:
1. Bertie County 18
2. Southern Pines Pinecrest 16
3.(tie) Vaiden Whitley 12
3.(tie) Wadesboro Bowman 12
4.(tie) West Mecklenburg 12
6.(tie) Charlotte Independence 11
6.(tie) Raleigh Sanderson 11
8.(tie) Winston-Salem Reynolds 10
8.(tie) Henderson Vance 10
10. Union Pines 9
11. East Mecklenburg 8
12.(tie)Greensboro Grimsley 7
12.(tie) Fayetteville Terry Sanford 7
14.(tie) Raleigh Millbrook 6
14.(tie) West Brunswick 6
14.(tie) Northern Durham 6
14.(tie) Canton Pisgah 6
18.(tie) Fayetteville Ezekiel Ezra Smith 5
18.(tie) New Bern 5
18.(tie) Fayetteville Ross 5
18.(tie) Whiteville 5
22.(tie) Chapel Hill 4
22.(tie) Burlington Cummings 4
22.(tie) High Point T.W. Andrews 4
22.(tie) Hendersonville 4
22.(tie) Gastonia Hunter Huss 4
22.(tie) Scotland County 4
22.(tie) Sylva-Webster 4
29. Charlotte Myers Park 3.5
30.(tie) Cary 3
30.(tie) East Henderson 3
30.(tie) Charlotte Olympic 3
30.(tie) Winston-Salem Parkland 3
30.(tie) South Lenoir 3
30.(tie) West Carteret 3
36.(tie) Burlington Williams 2
36.(tie) Fayetteville Cape Fear 2
36.(tie) Brevard 2
36.(tie) Greensboro Ben L. Smith 2
36.(tie) Wilmington Hoggard 2
36.(tie) Newton-Conover 2
36.(tie) Richmond County 2
36.(tie) West Forsyth 2
44.(tie) Charlotte Garinger 1
44.(tie) North Forsyth 1
44.(tie) Asheville T.C. Roberson 1
47. Greenville 0.5

(Send missing data)

100 yards
1. Calvin Alston, Henderson Vance 9.7
2. Johnny Bowman, East Mecklenburg 9.8
3. Otis Melvin, Fayetteville Terry Sanford 9:8
4. Tony Shipman, Whiteville 9.9
5. Curtis VanEaton, North Forsyth 10.0

220 yards
1. Anthony Parker, West Mecklenburg 21.4
2. Calvin Alston, Henderson Vance 21.5
3. Tony Shipman, Whiteville 21.6
4. Otis Melvin, Fayetteville Terry Sanford 21.6
5. Steve Williams, East Mecklenburg 21.6

440 yards
1. Jim Parrott, Canton Pisgah 48.4
2. Jimmy Carter, Charlotte Independence 49.1
3. Bobby Fleming, Gastonia Hunter Huss 49.5
4. Danny Hoard, Burlington Williams 49.5
5. Al Tillery, Fayetteville Ross 49.5

880 yards
1. Dennis Huntley, Bowman 1:54.9
2. Doug Brock, Chapel Hill 1:55.8
3. Larry Bates, Charlotte Myers Park 1:56.8
4. Jeff Moody, Southern Pines Pinecrest 1:57.3
5. Valdez Chavis, Greensboro Grimsley 1:57.9

One-Mile Run
1. Dennis Huntley, Bowman 4:15.5
2. Jeff Moody, So. Pines Pinecrest 4:17.3
3. Terry Sullivan, W-S Reynolds 4:18.1
4. David Hankins, East Mecklenburg 4:18.6
5. Norman Blair, Asheville T.C. Roberson 4:18.6

Two-Mile Run
1. Gary Griffith, Raleigh Millbrook 9:17.9
2. Jeff Cosgrove, Hendersonville 9:23.8
3. Ricky Warren, South Lenoir 9:26.7
4. James Plumer, Fayetteville Cape Fear 9:27.5
5. Billy Lynch, Raleigh Sanderson 9:33.8

120-yard High Hurdles
1. Marvin Rankins, Bertie 13.7
2. Bobby Phillips, Union Pines 14.2
3. Earl George, New Bern 14.3
4. Kevin Gordon, Brevard 14.3
5. Herman Wilson, Fayettevillle E.E. Smith 14.5

180-yard Low Hurdles
1. Marvin Rankins, Bertie 19.0
(New State Meet Record.
Old Rec 19.2 Wayne Bowman, Independence 1967 & Tony Bouler, W Meck 1974)
2. Herman Wilson, Fayetteville E.E. Smith 19.6
3. Bobby Phillips, Union Pines 19.6
4. Dennis McCorkle, Newton-Conover 19.6
5. Johnny Bowman, East Mecklenburg 19.6

4x220-yard Relay
1. West Mecklenburg 1:29.7
(John Chapman, Jerry Ealey, Eddie Houston, Anthony Parker)
2. High Point Andrews 1:29.9
3. Winston-Salem Parkland 1:30.8
4. Richmond County 1:31.1
5. Fayetteville Terry Sanford no time recorded

4x440-yard Relay
1. Greensboro Grimsley 3:18.5
(Herman Thacker 11, Valdez Chavis 12, Neil Dunnavant 12, June Martin 11)
Ties State Meet Record by Tarboro 1974
2. Charlotte Independence 3:21.0
3. Cary 3:21.2
4. Wilmington Hoggard 3:22.2
5. Gastonia Hunter Huss 3:22.7

Long Jump
1. Lonnie Hardy, West Brunswick 23-10
2. Jim Streater, Sylva- Webster 23-0.5
3. Isaiah Simmons, So. Pines Pinecrest 22-9.5
4. Bobby Phillips, Union Pines 22-7
5. Dwight Clark, Charlotte Garinger 22-2.5

Triple Jump
1. Isaiah Simmons, So. Pines Pinecrest 47-5.5
2. Herman McIntyre, Scotland County 47-3.25
3. Mike Hodge, Vaiden Whitley 46-4
4. William Boone, New Bern 45-9
5. Tony Reid, Charlotte Independence 45-4.5

High Jump
1. Armstead Gilliam, Bertie 6-7.5
2. Joel Cofer, Winston-Salem Reynolds 6-6
3. Louis Lee, Vaiden Whitley 6-4
4. John Neu, Charlotte Independence 6-2
5. Elmer Brown, West Carteret 6-2

Pole Vault
1. Wayne Struble, Raleigh Sanderson 13-6
2. Harry Lytle, Raleigh Sanderson 13-6
3. David Mast, Winston-Salem Reynolds 13-6
4. Elmer Brown, West Carteret 13-0
5(tie) Tracy Lyons, Charlotte Myers Park 12-6
5(tie) David King, Greenville 12-6

Shot Put
1. Mike Salzano, Northern Durham 61-4.5
(New State Meet Record)
Old Rec 60-8.25 John Holliday, Raleigh Sanderson 1973
2. Ken Martin, Burlington Cummings 55-0
3. Vodrick Adams, Charlotte Olympic 54-0.5
4. Joe Bostic, Greensboro Ben L. Smith 53-5.5
5. John McDonald, Fayetteville Terry Sanford 53-5

1. David Underhill, Vaiden Whitley 157-4
2. Fernando Kirkland, Fayettville Reid Ross 154-6
3. Bill Walker, East Henderson 154-5
4. Robert Bailey, West Forsyth 152-0
5. Buster Lee, So. Pines Pinecrest 151-4

Team Scores:
1. Hoke County
(Send missing data)

100 yards
1. Kathy McMillian, Hoke County 11.0

220 yards
1. Kathy McMillian, Hoke County 25.4

440 yards
1. Vickie Bryant, Jacksonville 57.7

880 yards
1. Julie Shea, Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons 2:14.4

One-Mile Run
1. Lynn Lashley, Raleigh Millbrook 5:16.6

110-yard Low Hurdles
1. Scott, Greensboro Page 15.2

4x110-yard Relay
1. High Point Andrews 49.4
(New State Meet Record)

4x220-yard Relay
1. Hoke County 1:44.0

4x440-yard Relay
1. Lejeune 4:06.5

Long Jump
Kathy McMillian, Hoke County 20-2.5
(New State Meet Record)

High Jump
1. Sampson, West Carteret 5-1

Shot Put
1. Dixon, Southern Guilford 38-8
(New State Meet Record)

1. Lynn Cruickshank, Lejeune 127-2
(New State Meet Record)

Source: Their Grimsley track record still stands - so does their friendship, 47 years later - June 19, 2022,

1975 Grimsley HS 4x440 State Champions.
In 1975 four members of Grimsley High School's track team set a school record and tied tied a state record in the mile relay with a time of 3:18.5. The relay team pictured in this 1976 yearbook photo from left to right are: June Martin, Neil Dunnavant, Valdez Chavis and Herman Thacker.

By Nancy McLaughlin

GREENSBORO -- High school students sometimes have a moment -- the violin solo, that late quarter touchdown, taking a bow as homecoming queen.

The memories that few experience.

A reel that continues to repeat decades later, if only in their minds.

For four guys from Grimsley High School, it's a 47-year-old state track championship in the mile relay in what was at the time, a state record-tying time.

This race is now known as the 4x400 meter relay. It was the last event that May, with the four racing against a nighttime backdrop.

It still stands not only as a Grimsley record but the best time ever recorded by a Greensboro school.

There was Valdez Chavis, a senior and probably the most analytical of the bunch. The one who figured if he did "this" at a certain point he might chisel seconds from his run time the next hundred yards.

And junior Herman Thacker, the gutsy one from a family of runners who ran circles around everyone except each other. He didn't particularly like the 400 relay. He's not a 400 guy in his mind, but in actuality, he was a great 400 guy, according to his teammates.

The methodical one, Neil Dunnavant, wasn't going to talk a whole lot, but the senior would get the job done.

Just like winning the Mr. Grimsley contest that year.

"Back then it was not a serious thing," said Dunnavant, whose talent involved a cheerleading outfit.

And then there was junior June Martin, the most spirited, the showboat -- who wore the word "Showboat" in standout letters on the back of his jogging suit.

"You can't have a name like that and not back it up," the now-retired police officer says with a laugh.

And he did. Martin qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in 1980 in track, but that was the year the United States boycotted the games.

With each trial or success that would come in life, they each still carry the visual of what happened as the baton touched their hand that day. They weren't best friends at Grimsley but a relay team forms a special bond. They were the band of brothers who mostly talked running whenever they hung out at one of their houses and on the long drives to competitions with their coaches. They all played other sports and had other teammates, but agree this one thing forever defined them.

The 8 mm film from perhaps their finest hour as teenagers, they have since learned, is gone.

Too late to have it converted to digital. But who really needed that?

"June was saying -- and it's so true -- that even today he could close his eyes and see each of us running and I can do the same thing," Dunnavant said.

The next adventure

After high school they each went in different directions and on various adventures. Thacker and Martin would have another year in high school.

There were weddings. Babies. They found ways to improve the community where they landed.

For Dunnavant, it was the University of Virginia and ministry in Greensboro, it was both holding Bible studies and helping the jobless find work.

Martin, a graduate of what is now UNC-Pembroke, was drawn to law enforcement in Raleigh.

Chavis, whose brother Garcia was a substitute when needed on the relay team, later earned a degree in engineering from N.C. A&T and has worked in safety and forensics analysis in the field.

In retirement, Chavis started his own media production company.v After graduation, Thacker joined the U.S. Army and competed in military track competitions on bases around the world.

He reconnected with Dunnavant in a way that neither expected.

Dunnavant, whose wife had been in on it, came home years ago while a Time Warner Cable technician was in one of the rooms working with his back to him. The man, who had earlier recognized the name on the ticket, kept his back to him before turning to pass him something and quipping that it was like the old days.

"And I recognized Herman instantly," Dunnavant said of Thacker, then working as a senior installer with what was then Time Warner Cable.

A team meeting

Over the years, each of them had been talking to different teammates via email and telephone about trying to bring the others all together in person. They even found themselves talking to other people about each other.

"I've been wanting to try to get us together and just tell whatever lies we are going to tell -- the big fish stories -- and reminisce,'" Martin said he told his wife.

Before Martin got the chance, Chavis called in March to say that he would be back home and had talked to Dunnavant about a get-together in Greensboro.

They met at Dunnavant's home. Thacker, undergoing medical treatments, was unable to attend.

Their coach, the legendary Grimsley athletic director Bob Sawyer, was there telling them how easy they were to coach. They talked about how the coaches would take the high schoolers to big meets just to watch others run in places like Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia.

"It helped with our own drive," Chavis said.

There were the stops at Sizzler for steak on the way home.

But inevitably, it would be about that day.

About the four warming up in their Grimsley attire on the track field at N.C. State in Raleigh, with Martin in their ears pumping them up.

the lineup: Thacker to start off, Valdez Chavis next, followed by Dunnavant and finishing with Martin.

They took their places in the lanes.

They had family and alumni in the stands.

"We could hear the crowd cheering us along the way," Thacker said. "We could feel it in our hearts."

With relay runners, it's having the speed of a sprinter but the endurance of a long-distance runner.

"We really pushed each other," Chavis said.

There was a familiar cadence to their running. Like the familiarity of an old tune.

"We won every time we ran together," Chavis said. "I don't care what kind of combination," he added, noting their positions in the relay didn't matter.

But they'd never run that fast before.

"That day, everything just clicked," Chavis said.

They had worked hard to get to the state championship that year. But they were also just really good.

Thacker was sometimes underestimated by those who had never seen him run.

"The thing about it, I was short," Thacker said. "When they looked at me take off, they used to say it looked like somebody turned the jets on."

At this level the competition was fierce. One of the members of a Cary team had been the state champion in an individual event.

"Some had (USA Track & Field) records," Thacker said. "We said we wanted to do something few people had done."

Martin's leg of the race that year was against a state individual record holder.

And it still gets his heart pumping. The others had given him a large lead.

"All of a sudden I hear, 'June he's about 10 yards behind you,'" Martin said with a laugh. "I changed gears. I came past that line and looked back and that boy was 30 yards behind me."

The team won the state championship and tied the record at 3:18.5 minutes.

"Second and third weren't even close," Chavis said. "And then we found out about the record."

Garcia Chavis, Martin and Dunnavant sat together this spring to watch a track and field event at A&T and had hours of conversation.

"Still talking about that day," Martin said with a laugh.

Source: June 19, 2022 story

Vaiden Whitley HS in Wendell was the former name for East Wake HS.

Bowman HS in Wadesboro was later merged into Anson County HS.

July 2022 update: Thanks to Valdez Chavis for providing missing boys results.
Source: Greensboro Record

Previous state meet (1974) | Next state meet (1976)

1974 State Cross-Country Meet

State Meet Records | All-Time Top 25

Past champions - State Outdoor Meet | Past champions - State Indoor Meet

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