05/19/17 — FEATURE: Aycock's Graham seeks state championship

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FEATURE: Aycock's Graham seeks state championship

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 19, 2017 10:23 AM

PIKEVILLE -- He sets the blocks onto the track, counts out his steps, makes the necessary adjustment and stretches his legs.

Once he settles into his starting position, he takes a deep breath.

Next comes a short prayer.

"God, please let me run to the best of my ability," he asks.

Kamarion Graham has certainly received those blessings this season. His work ethic, determination, increased speed and quiet demeanor have carried him to new heights.

He'll display his talents one final time Saturday.

The Charles B. Aycock junior heads to Greensboro for the season-ending N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A outdoor track and field state championships at N.C. A&T State University.

Graham enters the day-long competition as the east regional champ in the 100-meter dash. He also qualified in the 200, and will run the anchor leg on the Golden Falcons' 4x2 relay.

"Kam has really surprised us," CBA head boys' coach Scottie Rogers said. "Each meet he got better and better. He's not a bragger. He lets his work speak for him."


The numbers prove it.

During a 24-day period, Graham reduced his 100-meter dash time from 11.44 to 11.14 seconds. Over the next three meets, he experienced a slight elevation in time.

That all changed May 3.

Graham emerged as the Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference champion with a personal-best and school-record time of 10.97 seconds.

"When I look at him from last year to this year, his improvement is that he's amazing coming out of the blocks. His speed has increased," Rogers said. "He's gotten stronger with his legs. He lifts in the offseason. He has his own atmosphere and that's what I like about him."

The ECC champ wasn't done.

Graham posted a 10.97 in his regional preliminary heat, and then crossed the line in 10.67 - another PR and school mark - in the finals.

"I wanted to make it to states...get a bunch of PRs because the last two years I've been knocked out of states by one or two spots" said the soft-spoken Graham who doesn't seek the limelight.

"I just went harder. My second gear kicked in."

According to ncmilesplit.com, Graham has turned in the state's top 100-meter dash time this season. He will attempt to become CBA's third outdoor track state champ in program history along with Mark Aycock and Courtney Warner.

Rogers and fellow coach Butch Bennett expect the 4x2 relay to fare well. The foursome of Rico Dawson, Muhammad Brooks, Tahj Thacker and Graham ran a third-place school-record time of 1:31.53 in the regional.

"They have worked well together this season," Rogers said. "When he (Kam) picks it up on the fourth leg with good speed, he's going to walk them down."