Swannanoa Valley produces two female track champions

Paul Clark
Black Mountain News
Mary Scott Robinson, a sophomore at Carolina Day School, battled through injury during her pursuit of the 2A state championship in shot put and discus.

Black Mountain has a state champion in Mary Scott Robinson and a conference champ in Laila Burk.

Robinson, a sophomore at Carolina Day School, won the 2A state championship in shot put and discus at the May 18-19 N.C. Independent School Athletic Association championship at Campbell University. She helped the Asheville school’s girls track team take first place among the 35 schools competing. It was the team’s third first-place state finish in four years, helped significantly by Robinson’s feats.

“To win a state championship as a sophomore is pretty impressive,” said Cory Greene, Carolina Day School’s assistant track coach who coaches its throwers. Robinson was runner-up state champion her freshman year (another Carolina Day student took top honors), Greene, who has been coaching Robinson since eighth grade, noted.

“She’s obviously gotten better with her technique and strength,” Greene said. “But the biggest thing I’ve seen her do is grow as a competitor. She’s done a great job in those high-pressure situations. And she does her best at the season’s end.”

In the state championships, Robinson threw the discus 102 feet 1 inch. She threw the shot put – and 8.8-pound iron ball – 33 feet 7 inches. Her shot put throw was three feet farther than the runner up, Greene said. Her achievements are especially significant because she was battling through an injury. “She definitely has a passion to do her best,” he said.

“So much about discus and shot put is your foot work and technique, and Mary Scott has spent a lot of hours” working on them, said CDS head track coach Brian Rannie.

Laila Burk is at left with her Owen High 4x800 meter relay team at the regional meet. Other members from left are Lindsey Banks, Hannah Larios and Natasha Luchinina.

Burk, a freshman at Owen High, took first in the 800 meters, the 1600m and in the 4x800m relay at the conference finals May 3. She was named runner-up MVP.

“The crazy part about it, she had surgery - some wisdom teeth taken out - so she was out (absent from track practice) for a couple of weeks,” said head coach Kyle Silva. “She literally just came back (to the team) for the conference finals. It was just astonishing that she was able to come back from surgery like that and take first place in those three events. That’s very good for a freshman.”

Burk was named female runner of the year at Owen High’s awards banquet May 17.

“Honestly, you couldn’t ask for anything better for a freshman,” Silva said. Burk, who has long legs that enable her to gobble up ground, is “the definition of a distance runner,” he said. “She just has what you want to see in a female distance runner at this date in her career. She’ll have a very bright future.”