Hawks, Titans unite on club track team

by Aaron Garcia, Chris Hunt and C. Jemal Horton

The Quiet Storm USATF team includes (from left) Jeffrey Hendricks, Hopewell’s Anthony Bynum, West Meck’s Alvonna Blakney, Cameron Hudson, coach Alvin Blakney, West Charlotte’s Eric Blake and Hopewell’s Tyjuan Hill.

As the high school track season begins to wind down, with regional competition beginning this weekend, the summer club team campaign is starting to take off.

One USA Track and Field squad will feature a Mountain Island flavor, as runners from West Mecklenburg and Hopewell high schools will join forces.

The team, Quiet Storm USATF, boasts promising West Meck boys sprinter Josh Reid, as well as Hopewell boys Anthony Bynum and Tyjuan Hill. The Quiet Storm girls contingent includes West Meck’s Alvonna Blakney.

The roster also includes some of Mecklenburg County’s top track stars, including Berry Academy junior Cameron Hudson, a highly regarded jumper and sprinter. Hill, who is headed to Louisiana’s Dillard University, said working out with such top-flight talent each practice has made him better.

“These workouts are intense and hard – everything is up-tempo,” Hill said, “But you know it’s all worth it when you see there are such great results.”

Bynum is one of the nation’s best 100- and 200-meter high school runners and a favorite to win both events at this month’s Class 4A state championships. Bynum has signed a National Letter of Intent with Mississippi State University, and he feels his time with Quiet Storm USATF this summer will make him stronger as he heads to college.

“I’ve been with the team since my sophomore year, and I’ve just gotten better each year,” Bynum said. “It’s hard, but it’s also fun, and you’ve got to have fun running track.”

The team is coached by Alvin Blakney, who was a standout in Mecklenburg County circles in the 1980s and still is regarded as one of the area’s all-time best long jumpers. A staple of Quiet Storm practices is the times when the coach simply allows his athletes to take a break from traditional conditioning and lets them race or jump against each other.

“A lot of work goes on, but we love to watch the guys push each other,” he said. “That’s when the best work happens. We group them up and make them run against each other, and the best always comes out of them. That’s something that’s worked for us for years.

“We’re going to go break a lot of records this year. We’ve talked about breaking the national (boys) 4×100(-meter relay) record. And with the guys we’ve got, that’s definitely possible.”

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