by Aaron Garcia
As the rest of the state learned on May 11, it’s not easy to keep Raven Covington down. Despite competing through an injured hamstring suffered earlier this spring, the Cuthbertson senior track and field standout answered her 2A Midwest Regional-winning performance of 17 feet, 9.75 inches (a personal best) with a 17-4.04 at the state meet. The performance produced the first individual state track and field championship for Covington and Cuthbertson.
Union County Weekly somehow caught up with the Cavs track star to talk about the 2012 season and what lies ahead for her.
Q: What went through your mind in that second when you heard you had won?
A: I was happy, but I was more shocked. I didn’t believe I could pull it off, especially with my injury – I didn’t think I had it in me. It was a good feeling just to know I still put in enough work where I could be the champion. I had one of the biggest smiles – I can’t lie.
Q: How did your hamstring feel when you came back?
A: It was like an irritated pain. At regionals, it hurt, but I was fine. I did better at regionals. My 100(-meter) dash at states didn’t go so well. Then at states, when I started doing the long jump, it started to hurt, so I only jumped one time. My jump just happened to be good enough for me to win states. I just had to fight through it for me and my team. It sucks, but I’ve been doing physical therapy, so hopefully it’ll get better soon.
Q: If you would’ve had to jump again that day, would you?
A: I wanted to, because my thing was to (set a personal record). I wanted to do better than that 17-9, but my coaches just thought it wasn’t a good idea because I still had to do my running events, so they told me to sit out. But, yes, I did want to jump more. I just had to listen to them because they knew what was best for me long term.
Q: What does it mean to you to earn Cuthbertson’s first state title?
A: That’s really nice to know. It means a lot to me just to have that title of the first person to win a state championship and have that title as a state champion. It’s a good feeling.
Q: How was it being a senior leader this year?
A: It’s really nice. I noticed that a lot of girls on our team don’t have a lot of confidence and they get nervous. Being a senior, I get nervous, too. Competition is always good to have, but you always think about what you could’ve done better at practice and what you could’ve worked on more. For me, I feel like I can’t show them that I’m nervous, too, because I’m more experienced. I have to step up and give them the confidence boost so that they can perform as well.
Q: You’ve described yourself as shy. Do you still get nervous?
A: Yeah. People can’t believe when I say that. When I tell my teammates I get nervous, too, they look at me like, ‘Really? Why would you be nervous?’ I guess (that’s because) of how I’ve performed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get nervous. There’s always room for improvement. You always want to do your best. Sometimes it always doesn’t work out that way, but that’s just how it is.
Q: Do you feel like you’re at your best when the pressure’s on?
A: Yeah. I freak out and I get really anxious, but I try not to show it. It helps me out. Just having the pressure on me helps me do better and push harder for my team.
Q: Would you say that you can’t be afraid to lose?
A: Yeah, but it happens. I found that out running freshman year. Doing track in middle school, I was always No. 1 and I always had the spotlight. When you come to high school, you have more competition and you notice you can’t always win; there’s always going to be someone better. But that helps you to do better. They push you.
Q: What are your plans for next year?
A: I don’t have much time, but I’m still thinking on where I’m going to run for college. That’s just my plan. I still plan on doing year-round indoor and outdoor track, and I’m actually going to do AAU track over the summer. I don’t want it to come to an end. It may be ending for high school, but I don’t want to end it completely. I still need to take some college tours and find a campus I like.
Q: Which schools are interested?
A: Wingate, Western Carolina, Winston-Salem State, UNC Wilmington and a junior college in Georgia: Chattahoochee Tech.