Albemarle’s Akala Garrett sets state indoor track records

Published 3:03 pm Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Akala Garrett is all smiles after claiming the Most Outstanding Player award for the 2023 NCHSAA 1A/2A Indoor Track state meet. (Photo courtesy of Dan Loughlin and

After having made a big splash internationally as an aspiring Olympic athlete, Albemarle track standout Akala Garrett made an impact in the 1A/2A indoor track state meet last weekend at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem.

Garrett was named the Most Outstanding Performer at the meet, setting state records in two events. Her time of 7.86 seconds in the 55-meter hurdles beat the previous mark of 7.99 seconds, which Lexington’s Alyssa Thompson Rowe set two years ago. Cummings’ D’Anna Cotton finished in second at 8.60 seconds.

In the 500-meter run, Garrett finished in 1:15.86, breaking the record set in 2017 by West Montgomery’s Araybian Lilly. Garrett’s time was nearly six seconds faster than Elkin’s Aniya Edwards (1:21.58.)

The Albemarle standout also took third in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.21 seconds, .07 seconds behind Mountain Island Charter’s Jaida McGrew.

Garrett now has 11 NCHSAA individual state track titles, including eight when she was at Harding High School, five in outside track and three indoors.

LaSonja Collins, her mother and the Albemarle head women’s track coach, said Garrett had not trained because she said she had a knee issue, and had considered not competing.

“She said, ‘Maybe I should just wait until nationals. I’ve already got eight state titles,’ ” Collins said.

“My thing to her was that she had an opportunity to make history. I really didn’t think anything was wrong (with her knee). It was just her nerves.”

After having her knee x-rayed and no problems being found, Collins said, Garrett went through a day of drills before competing at the state meet.

The goal, she said, was to see how many points Garrett could earn as an individual. Collins said some of the events took place with little recovery time in between, like the 55-meter dash and the 55-meter hurdles.

Running the dash, she said, “was something fun for her,” but the hurdles races are her specialty.

Her performance, Collins added, showed she can give close to 40 team points in one meet, the most a track athlete can get in four events. The coach said finishing with that many as an individual gives Albemarle a chance to do well as a team in the upcoming outdoor season.

“If we have a team that’s committed to (win), I have no doubt we will walk away with conference, regional and state,” Collins said.

Albemarle’s women’s team finished in the top 10 last season in the outdoor state meet, and had top finishes like Amari Baldwin, who was second in the triple jump.

Other results at the 1A/2A state meet for athletes representing Stanly high schools included:

• Bulldog sophomore Dre Davis finished fourth in the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.60 seconds, .21 seconds behind the first place finisher, Correy McManus of T.W. Andrews.

Davis also finished seventh in the 300-meter run with a time of 37.42 seconds.

• In the girls’ 4×200-meter relay, the West Stanly team of Teagan Ritchie, Ava Douglas, Breanna Douglas and Nariah Furr finished 11th in 1:57.66.

• West’s 4×400 meter squad finished 11th as well as Gracie Thomas, Makayla Morton, Danica Hann and Douglas posted a time of 4:41.26.

• The Colt women’s 4×800 team of Morton, Katie Cribb, Holly Hatch and Caroline White finished sixth in 11:04.01.

• West’s Furr also finished 12th in the long jump with a distance of 15-foot-4.25 and ninth in the triple jump with 33-foot-5.

• South Stanly’s Joshawa Huneycutt finished in fourth in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:43.23, 5.4 seconds out of first place. He was also fourth in the 1,600-meter run (4:29.21) and sixth in the 3,200-meter run (10:02.36).

• The South team of Jonathan Casaino, Eli Thompson, Tristen Patterson and Jameel Shaheed finished seventh in the 4×400-meter relay with a time of 3:41.96.

• For West Stanly, Carson Wells finished fifth in the 1,600-meter run in 4:33.88 and 11th in the 3,200-meter event with a 10:17.02.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

email author More by Charles