Bradon Black Is More Hungry Than Ever For The 3A 400m Title

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Track was not something the Bradon Black had dreamed of having success in or something he'd had a lot of success in before his sophomore year at Cuthbertson High School.  

Black tried out for the team during middle school and was actually cut from the team in 6th grade.  He'd make the team for his 7th and 8th grade season with PRs of 12.44 and 27.64.  The sport still wasn't something Black enjoyed too much and he didn't really like to do anything over 100 meters.

He'd continue track his freshman year of high school running the 200m and 400m.  His seasons best were 57.84 and 25.01.  He wasn't exactly dedicated to seeking success in the sport and would try to make excuses for why he couldn't do a workout or have ways where he'd get out of them.

Black says, "My mind wasn't so much into track, especially when we would have a hard workout. I would ask Coach Lightfoot if i was able to go and use the bathroom and I would then walk up the stands and stand at the top and watch the team run and come back down after one of the reps. Yes it was to skip practice and have a alibi to why I wasn't there when the were running, and come back down after the hard part of the workout was concluded."

The following year track would start to click for Black.  Coach Lightfoot could see that he had a lot of potential, and needed him for their 4x400m relay that was amongst the states best.  He wasn't fully sold on it until the state meet, where senior teammates Nathan Johnson, Justin Crawley and Casey Stamper convinced him they could win.  

Their Cuthbertson 4x400m ran outstanding, leading the majority of the race and became 3A State Champions in 3:19.91.  Black would run on the second leg where he got the baton in first and only increased the Cavs lead.

Since that moment, there was no going back on Black seeking success in the sport.  He was hooked on the 400m.

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He's won a number of state titles on relays since then, but has been one close finish and one heartbreaking DQ away from an individual title.

Black been a star in the 200m and 400m the last two years.  He reached a breakthrough at the NCHSAA 3A West regional meet last year clocking a 47.82, making him the top seed in the event at the state meet.

In what was the most exciting race of the day, Black would set a new PR of 47.58. He was in the lead through the 300m mark, but fell .06 seconds short of the NCHSAA 3A State Championship and .01 seconds behind Weddington rival Emerson Douds for second place.

This certainly left him hungry and prepared to work even harder over his senior year.  The two athletes that beat him last year in Khaleb McRae and Douds were also juniors and would be his competition this season.

Black had success throughout the indoor season setting a new PR of 34.40 leading up to the indoor state meet.  At the NCHSAA 3A Indoor State Championships Black would carry the momentum from their winning 4x200m relay and would cross the line in first in the 300m!

The hard work had seemed to pay off in what at the time was a new NCHSAA 3A Indoor Meet Record and NC No. 3 All-Time mark in the event.  

While celebrating with teammates the dreaded, "Can we get a Cuthbertson coach to the finish line" announcement went out from JDL Fast Track.  Minutes later Coach Allen told him he had been DQed for stepping on the line too many times on the tight indoor track. 

It was heartbreak for Black who had left everything out on the track.

"When coach first told me I didn't believe it was real until he never told me it was just a joke.  It left me angry for the 4X400m and wanting to dominate the track, and it has all been leading up to outdoor states were I'm ready to put it all out there.  

Tomorrow will be his final chance to earn an individual title before he heads off to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in the fall.  Black will be in lane 4 in the 400m as the top seed once again, then lane 3 in the 200m where he is the third fastest seed. 

The 400m is certainly him main focus as far as the individual events go. "My mindset is to run the race I know, get out as fast as I can and hopefully not slow down at all.  I hope to establish the speed I want to run in the first 100 and keep that for the rest of the race to stay ahead for the whole race. When I reach that final 100 I want to focus on lifting my legs and pumping my arms to not have a similar incident as last year, and bring back the first open event win at states for the boys program."

Black and his Cuthbertson teammates will also contend for relay state titles in the 4x200m and 4x400m relay.  It'll be a long day with 4 events for Black once again.

Black will run track at Embry Riddle next fall.  Ever since he was 6 he had wanted to become a pilot.  His father bought him a flight simulator game when he was younger.  He continued to buy new gear and equipment with his allowance.  His mom jokes that he has a whole airplane in his room with all the equipment he had purchased. 

Black pursued his Private Pilot's License last summer.  He is currently licensed to fly himself around, and will pursue his fill license after the track season ends.  He plans to become a Commercial Pilot when gets older.

Though it took Black a few years to fully embrace his track stardom, he's now as driven as anyone to win an individual crown this weekend.  We'll see how the final chapter of his high school career will conclude tomorrow.