Conway’s Grant narrows focus, sees improved results on track

dwetzel@thesunnews.comJune 11, 2014 

Raven Grant Toast Girls Track

Conway’s Raven Grant is the Sun News Toast of the Coast Girls Track athlete of the year.

BY CHARLES SLATE — cslate@thesunnews.com Buy Photo

  • The team

    Athlete of the Year

    Raven Grant

    School | Conway

    Class | Junior

    Events | Sprints

    Notable | Finished second in 200 meters (24.10) and third in 100 meters (12.06) at Class AAAA state meet.

    Briley Arnold

    School | Waccamaw

    Class | Eighth-grader

    Events | Sprints, hurdles

    Notable | Finished second in 400-meter hurdles (1:09.73) and was member of third-place 3,200-meter relay team (10:32.47) at Class AA state meet.

    Anastashia Bromell

    School | Carvers Bay

    Class | Sophomore

    Events | Sprints, hurdles

    Notable | Finished seventh in 400-meter hurdles (1:18.98) and was member of eighth-place 3,200-meter relay team (11:55.47).

    Mary Butler-Despain

    School | Waccamaw

    Class | Freshman

    Events | Sprints

    Notable | Finished eighth in 800 meters (2:34.79) and was member of third-place 3,200-meter relay team (10:32.47) at Class AA state meet.

    Kayla Dixon

    School | Conway

    Class | Senior

    Events | Jumps

    Notable | Finished ninth in high jump (5-2) at Class AAAA state qualifier.

    Qunazia Gardner

    School | Georgetown

    Class | Senior

    Events | Hurdles

    Notable | Finished seventh in 100-meter hurdles (17.43) at Class AAA state meet.

    Desaree Green

    School | Carvers Bay

    Class | Junior

    Events | Jumps, sprints

    Notable | Runner-up in long jump (17-1) and high jump (5-0) and was member of state champion 1,600-meter relay team (4:16.54) at Class AA meet.

    D’Etta Green

    School | Waccamaw

    Class | Senior

    Events | Jumps

    Notable | Finished fourth in high jump (5-0) at Class AA state meet.

    Drake Jenerette

    School | North Myrtle Beach

    Class | Sophomore

    Events | Distance

    Notable | Finished seventh in 1,600 meters (5:35.37) at Class AAA state meet.

    Amelia Jones

    School | Waccamaw

    Class | Sophomore

    Events | Distance

    Notable | Finished fourth in 3,200 meters (12:05.89) and was member of third-place 3,200-meter relay team (10:32.47)

    Alexis Leonhardt

    School | North Myrtle Beach

    Class | Sophomore

    Events | Jumps

    Notable | Finished fifth in high jump (5-0) at Class AAA state meet.

    Lisa Pieterse

    School | Carolina Forest

    Class | Junior

    Events | Distance

    Notable | Finished third in 3,200 meters (11:17.24) at Class AAAA state meet.

    Danielle Richardson

    School | Georgetown

    Class | Senior

    Events | Jumps

    Notable | Finished third in long jump (17-8.50) at Class AAA state meet.

    Anna Walker

    School | Socastee

    Class | Seventh-grader

    Events | Jumps

    Notable | Finished third in high jump (5-0) at Class AAA state meet.

    Kayla Watkins

    School | Carolina Forest

    Class | Eighth-grader

    Events | Jumps

    Notable | Finished seventh in long jump (17-1.50) at Class AAAA state meet.

Raven Grant has narrowed her focus.

Her results show it’s paying off.

The Conway sprinter had a pair of podium finishes at the Class AAAA state track and field meet in her junior season en route to being named the Toast of the Coast Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Grant took second in the 200 meters and third in the 100 meters. Last year, she was fourth and sixth, respectively, in the same events.

“I just started training harder. I started training in August and continued into February,” Grant said. “I lifted weights more and intensified my track workouts. I also improved my diet and had a better focus.”

This was the first season Grant had the time to focus solely on track from summer through winter ahead of the season as she gave up playing basketball.

She said the results were clear at the first meet of the season – the Outback Classic in Summerville on March 15 – when she challenged decorated sprinter Jasmine Quinn of Fort Dorchester.

“At the first track meet, the Outback Classic, Jasmine Quinn beat me by like 0.4,” Grant said. “I was like ‘Wow.’ 

The season was a turning point for Grant mentally, Conway coach Shamae Hemingway said.

“The biggest thing is when you realize you have potential in something and decide now I‘m going to work and actually try to compete and improve at it,” Hemingway said. “That maturity and work ethic was the difference.”

The last two seasons Grant has been the lone Tiger to make it to the state meet. While she admits it’s difficult, Grant thrives on the fact she competes in two of track’s marquee events.

“It’s stressful, especially the 100 meters, which is the most stressful race,” Grant said. “You can’t mess up. In the 200 you can stumble a little because you have a little time to adjust. In the 100 you have no time to mess up.”

Grant said she’s received letters of interest from several colleges and has accepted an invitation to visit Duke. However, Grant said she wants to start garnering interest from Southeastern Conference schools.

She has one more year to impress and has set her sights on winning gold at state. Quinn, who has dominated those events recently, has graduated and will no longer stand in the way, leaving Grant as perhaps the favorite.

“I want to take gold in everything and take over [next year],” she said. “I’m going to work harder. I know there’s some things I could have done differently in training last year.”

Hemingway wants to see Grant continue to fine-tune her skills and focus more on the finesse aspects of running to build on her success.

“We’re very much proud of her,” Hemingway said. “We’ve seen that growth and we want her to just continue to grow and mature.”

Contact DAVID WETZEL at 626-0295.

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