North Carolina high school athletes who later
became Olympians

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Listed in chronological order by year of high school graduation.

Harry Williamson, High Point High, 1931. -- 1936 Berlin Olympics (6th in 800).
Won 1930 NCHSAA Mile, 4:41.0 and anchored winning Mile Relay in '31.

Placed 4th in the 1934 NCAA Mile and 2nd in '35 as a UNC senior.

Williamson died on April 8, 2000 in Charlotte at 86 of cancer

College:  UNC.
1984 Charlotte Observer Article | 1996 Charlotte Observer Article

Floyd "Chunk" Simmons, Charlotte Central HS, 1942. -- 1948 London and 1952 Helsinki Olympics (2 Bronze medals in Decathlon).
NCHSAA State Champion, High Hurdles 1941, 1942.

College:  UNC.
1985 Charlotte Observer Article | 1996 Charlotte Observer Article
Wikipedia Profile | NCPrepTrack Profile

Jim Beatty, Charlotte Central HS, 1953. -- 1960 Rome Olympics (5000m, 9th in Heat).

Charlotte's Jim Beatty in 1985
1985 photo of Beatty

Won NCHSAA Mile in '52 (4:40.5) and '53 (4:31.9). At UNC he won the ACC Indoor Mile and 2-Mile double three consecutive years, and won the ACC Outdoor Mile twice. He won the ACC Cross Country Championship three times.

Also while at UNC Beatty was 2nd in the 1955 NCAA 2-mile as a soph. (9:07.6) behind Oregon's Ken Reiser, and 2nd in the 5000 in 1956 (14:51.1) behind Oregon's Bill Dellinger.

After UNC, Beatty in 1960 became the 3rd American to run a sub-4:00 mile. In 1962 he became the first man to ever run the Mile indoors in under 4:00. (Video). Later that year he broke the World Record in the outdoor 2-Mile, and set American Records in the 1500, Mile, 3000, 3-Mile, and 5000. Beatty was named 1962 US Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News.

At the 1960 Rome Olympics there were 4 heats in the 5000m with the top 3 advancing to the Final. A foot injury hampered Beatty during his heat and he finished 9th in 14:44.40.

College:  UNC.
Profiles:,   1960 SI cover   1964 Sport Mag Article   1985 article/photo   2001 interview/photos (scroll to bottom)   1992 Charlotte Observer article   2012 article/photos   2015 article/photos   2022 article/photos

Kathy McMillan, Hoke County HS, 1976. -- 1976 Montreal Olympics (Silver Medal, Long Jump, 21-10 1/4).  Also on 1980 team.

4-Time NCHSAA LJ Champion (Meet Record 21-7), 3-Time State 220y Champion, twice 100y Champion.

Won 1976 Olympic Trials (22-3w) 6/19, just days after her high school graduation.
Her 22-3 National High School Record, set at UCLA June 12, 1976 was the oldest girls record until it was broken (22-5) 6/21/15 in Greensboro. It was a U.S. Record at the time, and lasted as the National High School Record for 39 years. The Raeford, NC native remains #1 (by nearly 3 feet) on the NC All-Time Long Jump list after 40 years.

At the Montreal Olympics, on her 5th jump McMillan was in 6th place. The 5-7 126-lb 18-year old sped down the runway and uncorked a 21-10 1/4 to surge into 2nd and win the Silver Medal.  (I was there, watching in disbelief.)

1976 Olympic Long Jump Results.

Photo page - NCPrepTrack.

College:  Tennessee State University.
Profiles:,   Wikipedia

Joan Nesbit, East Mecklenburg HS, 1980 -- 1996 Atlanta Olympics (10,000m, 13th in semi).

Nesbit won the 1980 NCHSAA All-Classification 1600 in 5:05.7.

While at UNC she became the first Tar Heel woman to earn All-America honors in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. At one point she held school records in the 1,500, 3,000, 5,000, and 10,000. Nesbit was 1st in the 1984 ACC 10,000 and 3,000, and 4th in that year's NCAA 10,000.

Nesbit won at the 1995 US Cross Country Championships. She was 3rd in the 3000m in the 1995 World Indoor Championships.

Nesbit placed 6th at the 1995 World Cross Country Championships.

At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, 35 runners competed in the womens' 10,000-meter qualifying round with 20 advancing to the Final. Nesbit ran 32:33.48 and was the fastest non-qualifier.

Joan Nesbit Mabe became Cross Country/Track Coach at Chapel Hill HS in 2013.

College:  UNC.
Profiles:   1997 USATF bio   T&FN Headline Item   2010 Runners World Interview

Abraham Morlu, Watauga HS, 1999 -- 2000 Sydney Olympics. (4x100 for Liberia; 39.77 in 1st Round, did not advance).

Morlu was 6th in the 300m at the 1999 NCHSAA Indoor Championships (36.63). Later in 1999 he placed 4th in the 400m at the NCHSAA Outdoor 4-A meet (50.11). Morlu, as a junior (1998) qualified for the state meet in the pole vault, clearing 11-0.

At the 2000 Olympics Morlu (then 19 and a college freshman) ran on the 4x100m for his birth country Liberia.

Morlu also competed in the 4x100 for Liberia at the 2001 (Edmonton) and 2003 (Paris) World Championships.

Morlu's best 100m time is 10.27 (-1.0), at Cottbus 8/8/09.

College:  UNC-Charlotte.
Profiles:   Wikipedia.

John Tillman, Monroe Parkwood HS, 1983 -- 1992 Barcelona Olympics (Triple Jump; 25th in Qual. Round).

Tillman was 1983 NCHSAA Triple Jump champion (All-Classification) with a performance of 50-8. Although he competed before the NCHSAA began State Indoor Championships, he recorded an indoor jump of 48-2 1/2 in 1983 -- a performance that still ranked 22nd on the NC All-Time Indoor List after 2016. ...And he is 11th on the NC All-Time TJ List.

While competing for Tennessee, Tillman was NCAA All-American in 1985, 1986, and 1987. Tillman was Penn Relays champion in 1986 and 1987. He was 8th in the 1988 Olympic Trials.

College: University of Tennessee
Profiles:   Penn Relays   1992 article | Part 2 of article

Melissa Morrison, Kannapolis A.L. Brown HS, 1989. -- 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics (2 Bronze Medals, 100m Hurdles).

Morrison won 3 consecutive NCHSAA State 4-A state championships in the 100-meter hurdles (1987-1989). She also won the state championship in the triple jump (39-11.75) her senior year.

At the 2004 Athens Olympics Morrison ran 12.76 in the 1st Round, 12.53 (equaling her personal best) in the Semi, and 12.56 to win her 2nd bronze.

100m Hurdles Results:  2000 Olympics   2004 Olympics

College:  Appalachian State University.
Profile.   Wikipedia   2004 story   Photo   Photo - Sept '98 T&FN

Duane Ross, North Gaston HS, 1991. -- 2004 Athens Olympics (110m Hurdles, 5th in Semi-Final).

Ross won the 1990 NCHSAA 3-A 110m Hurdles. He was 2nd in the 60-yard Hurdles in the 1991 NCHSAA Indoor (All-Classification) Championships.

At the Athens Olympics Ross ran a 13.39 in the 1st Round (=7th overall). He ran 13.50 for 16th in the 2nd Round. His 13.30 in the Semi-Final was not fast enough to advance.

College:  Clemson.   Photo Sept '03 T&FN
Profiles:   Wikipedia   2010 update   NC A&T Photos/Bio: 2021

Blake Phillips Russell, Forsyth Country Day, 1993. -- 2008 Beijing Olympics (Marathon, 27th).

Before graduating in 1993 from Forsyth Country Day School, Blake Phillips won 11 of a possible 12 NCISAA state titles in the 800m, 1600m, and 3200m. ...And she won 2 more in cross country.

At the 2004 Olympic Marathon Trials Russell led the first part of the race but ended up 4th -- missing an Olympic Team spot by one place.

She ran a personal-best 31:35.25 10,000 to take second at the 2005 USA Outdoor Championships.

Russell was the 2006 USATF National Cross Country Champion (8K.) She was ranked for 2006 by Track & Field News #1 in the US at 3000m and #4 at 5000m.

She placed 11th at the 2006 World Cross Country Championships and was the top U.S. finisher.

In 2008 Russell was 3rd at the Olympic Marathon Trial and 5th in the 10,000 at the Olympic T&F Trials.

College: UNC.
Profiles:   Wikipedia   FCD Hall of Fame   Interview   Blog   2012 Article

Brenda Taylor, Watauga HS, 1997. -- 2004 Athens Olympics (7th in 400m Hurdles).

Taylor won the NCHSAA 4-A 100m Hurdles and 300m Hurdles in '95, '96, and '97. Her best high school times were 14.23, 42.14 and 60.05 (400m Hurdles). She won the 55m Hurdles, and anchored Watauga's winning 4x400 in the '97 NCHSAA Indoor meet. Altogether, Taylor won nine NCHSAA state individual and relay state track championships while at Watauga.

Taylor was the 2001 NCAA 400m hurdles champion while at Harvard.

She also represented the U.S. at the 2001 (Edmonton) World Championships in the 400m Hurdles, and and won a bronze medal in 2003 at the World Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, England on the U.S. 4x400 relay.

College:  Harvard.   Photo - May '03 T&FN
Profiles:   Wikipedia   2004 story

Crystal Cox, Fayetteville Pine Forest HS, 1997. -- 2004 Athens Olympics (Gold in 4x400; Relay later DQ'd ..drug violation).

Cox won the NCHSAA 4-A 200 and 400 as a sophomore, the 100 and 200 as a junior (setting a meet record in the 200). She won the 100 and 200 her senior year. Cox won the State Indoor 300 three years in a row, the 500 and ran a leg on the winning 4x400 as a sophomore. Her fastest high school times were 23.61 (FAT) and 55.60.

College:  UNC.
Profiles: Wikipedia

Leigh Smith, Raleigh Leesville Rd and Cardinal Gibbons HS, 2000. -- 2008 Beijing Olympics (Javelin; 18th in Qualifying Round).

4th in the Penn Relays High School Javelin in 1999. Won it his senior year (213-8). Won the Javelin at the 1999 National Scholastic Outdoor Championships and at the 1999 USA Track and Field Youth Nationals. Smith was 2nd in the 2000 NCISAA Discus (141-9).

Smith placed 3rd at the 2004 Olympic Trials, but failed to reach the Olympic "A" qualifying standard. Four years later he made the team for Beijing.

College: Tennessee.
Profiles:   Wikipedia

Jesse Williams, Raleigh Broughton HS, 2002. -- 2008 Beijing Olympics (tied for 19th, qualifying; High Jump).   2012 London Olympics (tied for 9th place; High Jump Final).

Williams won the NCHSAA 4-A High Jump as a sophomore (6-8), junior (7-0), and senior (7-2). He won the State Indoor title (7-0) as a senior. His high school best was 7-3. Williams was also 5th in the NCHSAA state wrestling championships as a senior.

Williams won two Indoor and two Outdoor NCAA titles.

At the 2011 USATF Nationals, the 6-0 Williams cleared a PR 7-9 1/4 -- the highest jump by an American in 15 years. Also in 2011 he won at the IAAF World Championships, becoming the first American high jump world champion in 20 years.

2012 London Olympics High Jump.

College: NC State and Southern Cal.

Profiles:   Wikipedia   Interview   Story   Award   Story Story   Story   N&O Story  Photos   Poster   Story   Quotes   HJ thread

Hector Cotto, Cary Green Hope HS, 2002. -- 2008 Beijing Olympics (110mH for Puerto Rico; 27th in Quarter-Finals).

Cotto ran 8.38 for the 60m Hurdles in the 2002 Nike Indoor Nationals. He also had a 7.46 in the 55m Hurdles. Cotto was 5th (15.01) in the 110m Hurdles at the '02 NCHSAA 4-A State Meet. He won the 110m HH (14.8), 300H (40.5), LJ (20-4) and placed 3rd in the 200 (22.9) at the '02 Tri-Seven Conference meet.

Going to the Olympics! (Jul. '08) - Blog
Cotto to run in Beijing (Aug. '08) -

At the Beijing Olympics in the 110m Hurdles Cotto ran 13.72 and was 28th in the 1st Round, and 27th (13.73) in the Quarter-Finals.

College: Fayetteville State and East Carolina.

Profiles:   ECU profile   Photos   Facts   Blog (2010)

Travis Padgett, Shelby Crest HS, 2005. -- 2008 Beijing Olympics (4x100, DNF).

Padgett was NCHSAA 3-A 100 champion in '02 as a freshman and anchored Crest's winning 4x200 in '05. He was 2nd in the 100 in '05.

As a 5-7 175 lb. college freshman he sped to a Clemson school record and ACC record of 10.00 (1.0 legal wind).

At the Beijing Olympics in the 4x100 Padgett ran 2nd on a team with Rodney Martin, Darvis Patton, and Tyson Gay but the US team did not finish.

College: Clemson.
Profiles:   Wikipedia   Interview

Brent LaRue, East Forsyth HS, 2005. -- 2012 London Olympics (400m Hurdles for Slovenia; 3rd in Semi).

LaRue was '05 NCHSAA 4-A Champion in the 300m Hurdles (37.14 -- #9 as of Aug. 2012 on NC All-Time List). At the same meet he placed 3rd in the 110mHH (14.78 +0.0). He later ran the 400m Hurdles that year in 52.57 (#6 NC All-Time). At the NCHSAA Indoor in '05 LaRue ran on East's championship 4x400 team (3:28.76), was 4th in the 55m Hurdles (7.62), 8th in the 300 (36.21), and was also 12th in the HJ (6-0). As a junior LaRue was 5th in the HJ (6-2) at the '04 NCHSAA 4-A and 8th in the 300H (40.94).

As a freshman at Wake Forest LaRue ran on their ACC Indoor Champion 4x400 (3:10.99) and placed in the Heptathlon (5138 pts). The 4x400 later won at the ACC Outdoor (3:08.36) and he was 3rd in the Decathlon (7066). Wake's 4x400 qualified for the 2006 NCAA with a school record (3:05.48). LaRue won the Heptathlon with a new Meet Record (5617) at the 2007 ACC Indoor and also placed 4th in the 4x400. He placed in the 2009 NCAA Indoor, earning All-American status. More on LaRue's career at Wake.

LaRue was ranked #10 in the 400m Hurdles on Track & Field News' 2011 U.S. Rankings. His best 2011 performances were 49.77 (6/12 Celje) and a 45.75 400 (6/28 Velenje).

LaRue competed for Slovenia (his wife's native country) at the 2012 European Championships but was DQ'd in the 1st Round of the 400H.

At the London Olympics LaRue ran a personal best (49.38) and placed 4th in the 3rd of six 1st-Round Heats in the 400H. He placed 3rd (49.45) in the third of three Semi-Final races, missing out on the Final.

College: Wake Forest.
Profiles: Greensboro News-Record   400m Hurdles at London

Wayne Davis II, Southeast Raleigh HS, 2009. -- 2012 London Olympics (110m Hurdles for Trinidad; 6th in Semi).

Davis set a National Sophomore Record (13.65) winning the 110m Hurdles at the 2007 Nike Outdoor Nationals.
Photo | Top NON Results - Track & Field News

At the 2007 World Youth Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic Davis set the a World Youth record in the 36" 110 hurdles of 13.18.

Davis as a junior tied the National High School Record for the 60m Hurdles with a 7.62 at the 2008 Nike Indoor Nationals. Enroute he broke the National Record for 55m Hurdles with a 7.06.

At the 2009 Nike Indoor he uncorked a 7.60 to take .02 off the National Record. At the '09 NCHSAA Indoor Meet Davis set a National HS Record for the 55m Hurdles with a 7.05.

At the 2009 Pan American Junior Championships in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad (the native home of his parents) Davis set a World Junior record of 13.08 (+2.0). (Story.)

At the London Olympics Davis placed 4th in Heat 2 of 6 (13.52 +0.8) and advanced to the Semi-Finals from the 1st Round of the Men's 110m Hurdles. He was 6th in his Semi-Final (13.49 -0.5).

College: Texas A&M.

Profiles:   Texas A&M   Wikipedia   Oct '07 Track & Field News story

Manteo Mitchell, Shelby Crest HS, 2005. -- 2012 London Olympics (Silver Medal, 4x400).

Mitchell was 4th in the 400 (49.76) as a junior in the 2004 NCHSAA 3-A Outdoor. Crest's 4x100 won (42.42) in 2004 and the 4x400 was DQ'ed. Mitchell was 5th in the 200 (22.50 -0.5, 22.49 -1.0 prelim) in the 2005 NCHSAA 3-A Outdoor. He also ran on Crest's 4x200 (1st-place, 1:27.72) and 4x100 (2nd-place, 42.77). Mitchell had high school bests of 21.4 (hand) and 49.54.

Mitchell ran on the gold-medal winning U.S. 4x400 at the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

At the London Olympics Mitchell ran leadoff on the U.S. 4x400 that sped to a 2:58.87 in qualifying.  Qualifying Results -

In that Qualifying Race for the 4x400 Final, Michell's fibula bone just above his ankle snapped. Despite running the last 200m on a broken leg, he pulled out a 46.16 leadoff leg, helping the U.S. team to a 2:58.87 - the 2nd fastest time in qualifying. (Photos, Video.) The U.S. 4x400 later placed 2nd in the Final, resulting in a Silver Medal for Mitchell.

College: Western Carolina University.

Profiles:   Wikipedia   WCU Story   Mitchell ready for Olympic run article   June '11 story interview   2012 Olympics stories:

Ronnie Ash, Knightdale HS, 2007. -- 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics (DQ, 110m Hurdles Final).

In the 2007 NCHSAA 4-A Meet Ash led off Knightdale's 4th-place 4x100 (42.48). He did not qualify in any other events, having placed 6th in his Regional in the 110H (14.56). His best 110H for '07 was 14.44 in his conference meet.

College: Bethune-Cookman/Oklahoma.

Ash Earns a Trip to the 2016 Olympics -
Knightdale's Ronnie Ash going to Rio - N&O
Ash Earns Top Qualifying Spot in Hurdles -
Ash's controversial DQ at 2015 WC

Rio Results:
1st-Round: Had the equal-2nd fastest time (13.31 -0.2)
Semi-Final: 2nd place in first semi (13.36 +0.5).
Final: Hit final barrier, lost balance and rolled across line in 13.45 for 8th, but was later disqualified due to IAAF rule 168.7b (Deliberately knocking over a hurdle).

Day 5 Wrap-up -
Report: Men's 110m Hurdles Final -
Report: Men's 110m Hurdles Semi-Finals -
Olympics End for Former Sooners -

Tavis Bailey, Kannapolis A.L. Brown HS, 2010. -- 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics (26th, Discus Throw).

Bailey was 14th as a sophomore (121-0) in the 2008 NCHSAA 3-A Discus Throw, with 3 other sophomores placing ahead of him. He was 2nd the following year, throwing 157-10. As a senior in the 2010 State 3-A Championships, Bailey placed 2nd in the Shot Put (52-3.25) and set new State Meet 3-A and All-Classification Records in the Discus with a 185-1, breaking the old All-Classification Record of 182-0 by Ben Huff of Providence set in 1993. Bailey also placed 5th in the Shot put (47-6.5) at the 2010 NCHSAA Indoor Championships.

College: University of Tennessee.

Dimensions: 6-3, 300 lbs.

Profiles:   Tennessee   Wikipedia
NCAA 2nd place left Bailey with mixed emotions -   Tavis Bailey, Other Vols Have Itch for Olympics -   Bailey Qualifies for Rio Olympics -   Former Vol Tavis Bailey headed to Rio -   Former Wonder Tavis Bailey makes Olympic Team -   Photo: Bailey in action   28th UT T&F Olympian   1st Meal as an Olympian

Rio Results:
In the Men's Discus Prelims, Bailey placed 26th overall with a throw of 59.81m (196-2). The top 12 performers (or anyone throwing 65.50 or better) advanced to the Finals.  A mark of 62.68 was ultimately needed to advance.

Report: Men's Discus Qualifying -
Results: Men's Discus Qualifying -
Summary: Men's Discus Qualifying -

Burkheart Ellis Jr, Knightdale HS, 2011. -- 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics (=56th place, 200 meters for Barbados).

Ellis ran on Knightdale's 2010 NCHSAA 4-A 4x100 Championship Relay (42.24) and on their 5th place 4x200 (1:28.72). The following year he led off their winning 4x200 (1:26.05) team, won the 400 (48.05), and ran a 48.3 split on their winning 4x400 (3:15.41) to lead Knightdale to the boys team title.

Earlier in 2011 Ellis anchored Knightdale's winning 4x400 (3:21.58) in the NCHSAA 4-A Indoor meet (the year it was held outdoors). He anchored Knightdale's 4x400 to a 3:19.22 at The Armory in New York - a time that still ranks #3 on NC's All-Time Indoor List.

At the 2011 New Balance Outdoor Nationals Ellis led off Knightdale's 4x200 that ran 1:25.04 (#3 NC All-Time), and also ran 2nd leg on Knightdale's 40.93 4x100 - the only NC team to have ever run under 41:00.

College: St. Augustine's.

St. Aug's Williams Sends Four More To Rio - N&O
Barbados at the 2016 Olympics -
Ellis National Champion in Two Countries -

Profiles:   St. Aug's

Rio Results:
1st Round: Ellis placed 4th in his heat (20.74 +0.4) and did not advance to the Semi-Finals. He tied for 56th place overall.
Summary: Men's 200 1st Round - | Report: Men's 200 1st Round -

Kendra (Keni) Harrison, Clayton HS, 2011. -- 2021 Tokyo Olympics (Silver Medal, 100m Hurdles)

2nd in Final 12.52 (-0.3)
12.74 (+0.4) 1st Round, 12.51 (0.0) Semi.

College: Clemson, Universlty of Kentucky.

Profiles: | MileSplit | Wikipedia

Tokyo Results:
Harrison Wins Silver in 100mH at Tokyo Olympics -

Clayton HS grad Keni Harrison: "I haven't run my fastest time yet" -

Keni Harrison: A Play In 3 Acts -

Keni Harrison Has Spent 5 Years Seeking Redempion -

Clayton HS grad Keni Harrison wins at Olympic Trials -

Clayton HS grad headed for Tokyo -

Sweet Redemption for Keni Harrison -

Harrison Interview -

Gabriele (Gabbi) Cunningham, Charlotte Mallard Creek HS, 2015. -- 2021 Tokyo Olympics (7th place, 100m Hurdles)

7th in Final 13.01 (-0.3)
12.83 (+1.0) 1st Round, 12.67 (-0.2) Semi.

College: NC State.

Profiles: NC State | | MileSplit | Wikipedia

Cunningham Set For Tokyo Olympics -

Anna Cockrell, Charlotte Providence Day, 2016. -- 2021 Tokyo Olympics (DQ in Final, 400m Hurdles)

55.37 (3rd) in 1st Round, 54.17 (2nd) in Semi.

College: University of Southern California.

Profiles: | | MileSplit | Wikipedia

How Charlotte's Anna Cockrell Did -

Video: Charlotte's Anna Cockrell to compete in Olympics -

Providence Day grad Anna Cockrell makes US Olympic Team in 400H -

Story on Providence Day grad Anna Cockrell -

Veterans Anna Cockrell & Twanisha Terry Lead USC Women to Another Title - DyeStat

Anna Cockrell Interview - DyeStat

Anna Cockrell Named CoSIDA Academic Team Member of Year -

Quanera Hayes, Gray's Creek HS, 2010. -- 2021 Tokyo Olympics (7th in Final, 400m, 50.88)

51.07 in 1st Round, 49.81 in Semi.

College: Livingstone College.

Profiles: | | MileSplit | Wikipedia

Gray's Creek alum Quanera Hayes' gold-medal quest continues in Tokyo -

PHOTOS: Fayetteville's Olympian Quanera Hayes' career -

Gray's Creek High alum Quanera Hayes going to Tokyo -

Quanera Hayes, 29, captures 2nd national title: 49.78 - DyeStat

Olympic Trials Story -

Randolph Ross, Garner HS, 2019. -- 2021 Tokyo Olympics (4th in 1st Round Heat, 400m, 45.67)

Ran 2nd leg on US team in 4x400 Qualifying heat (2:57.77; 44.6 split). The US team (without Ross) ran 2:55.70 to win the Gold Medal in the 4x400 Final. Ross received a Gold Medal for his contribution in the Qualifying.

College: NC A&T.

Profiles: | | MileSplit | Wikipedia

Town of Garner Celebrates Gold Medalist Randolph Ross -

Randolph Ross Jr's Journey to Gold -

Randolph Ross Jr. competed for the US in the 4x400 relay qualifying -

Ross Jr Wins 2 NCAA Titles -

Ross Interview - DyeStat

Notable near misses and close calls:

Greg Artis, Wilson Fike HS, 1977. 5th at 1980 Olympic Trials in the Long Jump.

Artis set NCHSAA records in 1977 of 24-8 and 51-5 1/2. He also was NCHSAA Triple Jump Champion (all-classification) as a junior.

Jim Cooper, South Mecklenburg HS, 1977. 5th at the 1988 Trials in the Steeplechase (8:26.08).

Cooper was 3rd in the 1976 NCHSAA State Cross Country (all-classification).

After competing for UNC-Chapel Hill, he was ranked #4 in the US for the Steeplechase in 1985, 3rd in 1986, 4th in 1987, 6th in 1988, 9th in 1990, and 6th in 1991 [source].

Julie Shea and Mary Shea, Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons HS, 1977 & 1979.

At the 1980 Olympic Trials in Eugene, an unofficial women's 5,000 was held, and the two sisters who had run for Cardinal Gibbons and NC State placed 1-2:  (Julie Shea 15:44.12,  Mary Shea 16:07.50).

The Sheas placed prominently in the US rankings during the early '80s in the 3,000, 5,000, 10,000, and Marathon.

Julia Lucas, Charlotte Myers Park HS, 2002. 4th at the 2012 Trials in the 5000 (15:19.83) -- outleaned on the line and missed out by .04 seconds.

Story/Video -  Story -  Story -
Lucas' Perfect Storm -   Glory Days -
A father laments his daughter's lost Olympic dream - Creative Loafing
Profile/Photos -

NCHSAA 4-A titles... Outdoors: One at 800 (2:15.28), Two at 1600, Two at 3200 (10:46.22). Indoors: One at 1000, Cross-Country: none.

2000 Photo   Photo: 2000 4-A West Regional 3200   2002: 2:56.73 1000 meters   Photo: 2002 4:51.56 indoor mile

Ryan Hill, Hickory HS, 2008. 5th at the 2012 Trials in the 5000 (13:27.49).
6th in 2016 Trials in the 5000m (13:38.36).

Hill won 3 NCHSAA 3-A cross country titles, 3 at 3200 and one at 1600. He won the 2006 Foot Locker South Regional (14:46 at McAlpine) as a junior and placed 2nd (14:56) the following year. Hill placed 11th at the Foot Locker Nationals his senior year. profile

Johnny Dutch, Clayton HS, 2007 5th at the 2016 Trials in the 400H. (Led until the final hurdle.)

Wikipedia | 2006 Nike Nationals | 2007 National Record -
Dutch on p.51 of Sep. 2007 Track & Field News   Closeup
Dutch's dominant OT run ends in despair - N&O | Johnny Dutch Retires -

Johnny Dutch to be Inducted into North Carolina Hall of Fame (12/31) -
Johnny Dutch Bio

Craig Engels, Winston-Salem Reagan HS, 2012. 4th at the 2016 Trials in the 800 (1:46.03).

Engels was the MVP at the 2012 NCHSAA 4-A Indoor Championships, winning the 1600 (4:19.46) and 1000 (2:29.60) and placing 6th in the 3200 (9:44.19). He won NCHSAA 4-A outdoor titles in 2012 in the 4x800 (7:50.60), 1600 (4:18.24), and 800 (1:54.43). Engels picked up one state title as a junior - the 1000 in 2:34.09. He had high school bests of 1:49.89 (800), 4:02.55 (1600), and 8:55.51 (3200).

Former NC high school track & field notables who
competed in the Olympics in another sport:

Bobby Jones, South Mecklenburg HS, 1970. -- 1972 Munich Olympics (Silver Medal, Basketball).

Jones was NCHSAA 3-A/4-A High Jump Champion his sophomore and senior years. He was 2nd his junior year to Greensboro Smith's Robert McAdoo.

College:  UNC.

At UNC Jones earned All-American honors in 1974, and he averaged 13.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game during his career at UNC. He led the ACC in in field-goal percentage three years in a row. Jones was also a high jumper on the Tar Heels' track team.

He played on the U.S. basketball team that played in the highly controversial gold medal game against the Soviet Union in the Munich Olympics.

The 6-9 small forward and NCAA All-American was the 5th pick in the 1974 NBA draft, and went on to a 12-year pro career, including an NBA Championship (1983) with the Philadelphia 76ers.

1968 Photo   Profile   Wikipedia   Photos: At UNC article   2011 interview

Randy Jones, Kernersville Glenn HS, 1987. -- 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics (Silver Medal, 4-man Bobsled).

Jones won NCHSAA 4-A championships in the 100 ('87), 200 ('86 & '87), and 4x200 ('86). He led Glenn to a one-point state championship win over Durham Hillside in 1986.

College:  Duke.

At Duke he set school records in kick returns and also on the track.

After graduation, the Duke track coach convinced Jones to try out for the US Bobsled Team.

Jones was on the US Winter Olympic Team three times - 1994 (Lillehammer), 1998 (Nagano), and 2002 (Salt Lake City).

At the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics he was on the US 4-man team that won a Silver Medal -- the first US bobsled medal since 1956.

Olympic Bobsled Results: 1994 (13th 2-man) | 1998 (5th 4-man) | 2002 (2nd 4-man)

After retiring from competition, he now works with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Profiles: Wikipedia   Hall of Fame entry   ESPN profile   Story   Yahoo profile   01/94 Winston-Salem Journal article   4/94 Journal article

Main sources used in researching this list: Bios

Last updated Sept. 14, 2021 (Randy Jones photos/article).

If you know of a former North Carolina high school track and field or cross country athlete that
was left off the list, email NCPrepTrack at: E-mail information

Or if you find a good story or article on one of the above, email it (or the link) and share it with us.

Also, if anyone can work up a similar list of those competing in
IAAF World Championships (Track and/or Cross Country),
... or Indoor Track (e.g., Lee McRae), you are welcome to contribute one.

NC runners who later became Sub-4:00 Milers
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