After popular demand from XC and the indoor season, MileStat' Jim McGrath continues the feature of 10 stories from the state meet. He was at the 5A6A State Meet and had no instructions on what to cover, but needless to say these are all some interesting stories!
Photo by: John Herzog
#4. McElroy Wins 5A Boys High Jump and 110-Meter Hurdles for Henrico
Greg McElroy is easy to pick out of a crowd. The Henrico high junior is 6-foot-5 and sports a headful of hair that pushes his frame toward the seven-foot mark. Coupled with a slender frame holding 170 pounds together, he stands out among any group of people.
However, there is a distinct advantage to being tall and lanky. On the football field, McElroy is able to excel as a wide receiver because of his ability to leap over defenders. His presence on the field has given a new wrinkle to the Warriors' Wing-T offense. On the other side of the ball, the same skill allows McElroy to shadow the other team's receivers.
There is an added bonus for track, namely that he does not have to carry a great deal of weight over the hurdles or high jump bar, allowing for a greater range of movement and defiance over gravity. Last weekend, McElroy took advantage of his physical build to win both the 5A high jump and 110-meter hurdles for the Warriors. He also anchored the fourth place 4x100 relay team (42.64). As a team, Henrico finished in fourth with 35.5 points.
Although he won two gold medals and racked up 20 points (plus five points on the 4x100 relay) for his team, McElroy felt there was still some unfinished business left on the Todd Stadium track.
"I could have done better... I was aiming for 13 (seconds)," said McElroy, referring to his hurdles effort of 14.35, just .02 off his best time. "Something about today, the weather," he added, making note of the humid and blustery conditions which covered Todd Stadium throughout the first half of Saturday. His winning high jump of 6-6 matched his best height, which he cleared at this spring's Colonial Relays, held at William and Mary.
Still, McElroy's improvement over one year has been remarkable. Last year, as a sophomore, he only cleared six feet in the high jump and clocked 14.63 in the high hurdles. A seven-foot jump and sub-14 high hurdle race could be in his sights as a high school senior.
McElroy will have one more opportunity to earn new personal bests at the New Balance Nationals at North Carolina A&T, where he will compete in the Emerging Elite high jump and championship 110-meter hurdles.
As a junior, he will have one more year with the Warriors to hone his craft before moving on to collegiate competition. He has verbally committed to Norfolk State, but is keeping his options open.
Said McElroy, "We'll wait and see what happens."
For now, McElroy is enjoying his continued improvement in both events. Asked if he has a favorite, he said, "I used to like the hurdles best, until I saw how high I can jump. Now I like both."
His opponents will have six months to hope that McElroy does not discover yet another event.