By Derrick Mahone
There was a time when Roxie Carberry probably would have liked to have quit the Mount Zion High track and field team.
But she knew her late parents didn't raise a quitter.
After failing in the running events, Carberry was talked into giving the pole vault a try as a sophomore last season.
At Tuesday's field event finals at the Clayton County Track and Field Championships, Carberry showed why her parents instilled in her a never-quit attitude at a young age. The junior won the county pole vault title at Southern Crescent Stadium.
"I went from a nobody to a somebody in track," Carberry grinned.
Carberry went a personal-best seven feet, six inches to beat out two other competitors. Last season at the county championships, she failed to clear the bar on three attempts.
By her own admissions, Carberry was a failure at track and field during her first season. She wasn't fast enough to be a sprinter, and didn't have the stamina to do the middle distance or longer distance events.
But it was her determination that kept her on the team.
Mount Zion coach Jason Battles talked her into trying pole vaulting.
"She was searching for her spot on the team," Battles said. "I'm really pleased at the progress she has made."
After winning the championship, Carberry called her private coach Hal Fairbanks of Pole Vault Atlanta to give him the good news. She begin working with Fairbanks last summer.
"She is getting some confidence," Fairbanks said. "She has some potential. Roxie just needs to stick with it."
Even when Carberry failed at the running events, she said quitting the team was never an option.
"My mother told me never to quit anything," said Carberry, who has been raised by her older sister since her parents passed. "The track team is like family to me. I've got some more work to do, because I'm not done yet. I want to bring home a region championship."
Battles has seen Carberry blossom from an insecure freshman into a confident pole vaulter.
"I like a challenge, and doing the pole vault is a challenge," Carberry said. "It is the most technique event in track and field. I'm not your typical pole vaulter because I'm not fast or strong. I try to apply the proper techniques."
Mount Zion enters today's running finals in good shape of winning its second straight county championship. Last season, the Bulldogs edged Mundy's Mill 119 to 117 for the title.
In addition to winning the pole vault event, Mount Zion swept the high jump and long jump events. In today's running finals, Mount Zion has 23 runners competing.
"We have a lot of kids that can score some points on the track," Battles said. "We put a lot of emphasis on the field events, because that it what cost us at region last season."
The other big news out of the field events was Morrow thrower Chatil Bradford, who won both the discus and shot put. The Columbus State signee had a county-record 39-11 in the discus and went 117-8 to win both event for the second straight season.
Clayton County Track and Field Championships
Pole vault: Roxie Carberry, Mount Zion, 7-6; Kimberly Adkins, Lovejoy, 7-0; Tellesian Young, Mount Zion, Mount Zion, 7-0. High jump: Elizabeth Mobley, Mount Zion, 5-2; Cree Sheppard, Mount Zion, 5-2. Long jump: Arashawna Yanes, Mount Zion, 17-2; Doree Wilson, Mount Zion, 17-1; Chartrice Davis, North Clayton, 16-4.5. Discus: Chatil Bradford, Morrow, 117-8; Jasmine Heath, Mundy's Mill, 106-7; Miranda Cantrell, North Clayton, 87-6. Shot put: Chatil Bradford, Morrow, 39-11; Kelsey Arnold, Jonesboro, 35-2.5; Tiera Clark, Jonesboro, 33-5.
Discus: Darrien Carmichael, Morrow, 123-3; Akil Williams, Morrow, 121-7; Juwhan Arnold, Riverdale, 121-4. Long jump: LaVelle Westbrooks, Riverdale, 22-3; Austin Smith, Mount Zion, 21-8; Jevon Watson, Lovejoy, 21-4. Pole vault: Roderick Holoman, Riverdale, 10-0; Timmy Doan, Riverdale, 9-0; Ezell Hudson, North Clayton, 9-09. Shot put: Dajon Stanley, Riverdale, 45-3.5; Eric Cortijo, Mundy's Mill, 43-3.5; Courtney Freeman, Mundy's Mill, 43-1.5.