The Next Brandee' Johnson? Sophomore Carter Wins 3 & Moves Into Rarified Air

CARTER MOVES INTO RAREFIED AIR WITH TEAM WAR; Three 5A state titles by sophomore draw comparisons to Brandee' Johnson

As Kori Carter completes her sophomore year at Nansemond River, it's hard not to mention her name without also invoking the name of the greatest female prep hurdlers in Team WAR, and Virginia history.

The comparisons of Carter to Brandee' Johnson, who is now plying her trade with the nationally ranked Florida Gators are hard to ignore.

So are the results. 

Last weekend, Carter broke yet another barrier in her quest to match the feats of Johnson, winning both 5A girls state hurdle titles. On Friday and early Saturday, the petite speedster blazed to a 13.80 win, easing past Maury's Maya Seay for the win. Late on Saturday, it was Carter again, overcoming yet another Commodore standout, Brooke Stith, to win the 300-meter hurdles in 42.34, just a second faster than Stith.

Somewhere in between, Carter also found time to anchor the Warriors' 4x100 relay to a 47.26 win, defeating ... would you believe Maury? Not so ironically, Nansemond River's winning score of 107 in the team standings was followed by Maury's 65, as the Norfolk school claimed second.

Getting back to comparisons, one can see that Carter is faring well against the feats of Johnson through two years. The state titles were not Carter's first; in fact, she won the 500 meters during indoor season with an impressive time of 1:15.51. She also recently clocked a 55.99 in the 400 meters, run at the 5A South Regionals.

Johnson is making her mark with the Lady Gators as a hurdler and leg on the national top-ten 4x400. Setting aside Johnson's HS jumping marks (18-9.75 LJ, 39-3 TJ), one can take a look at the comparison in the other three events and see why Nansemond River coach Justin Byron is looking forward to the next two years with Carter.

100 hurdles - During her sophomore year, Johnson peaked at 13.85, setting the stage for her to lower the time to 13.08 by the time she graduated. Carter ran a best of 13.80 at States.

300 hurdles - Carter has a greater edge here through two years. Johnson's best as a sophomore was 43.39, a time that eventually dropped to 40.69 by her senior year, Carter is over a second and a half better ahead right now, with a best of 41.93 from her Dogwood Classic win in early May.

400 - Very close.  Johnson ran a 55.36 as a sophomore, at the Taco Bell Classic. Carter's 55.99 is just off the mark. Both runners competed in this race once as 10th graders.

Preparation, highlighted by visualization is a key element of Carter's game plan.

"(This weekend), I just executed my races as the day went on. But I always visualize my races the night before. It's a big part of how I run. I want to be prepared for anything that can happen."

One example of this strategy working for Carter, happened in the 100-meter hurdles.

"I didn't hit any hurdles today. I usually hit one or two in every race."

She also credits Coach Byron for setting the tone in practice.

"His training prepares us to drop times at the end of the season."

And since Carter's season is not quite over yet, there may be a new season best or two to report from Nationals at N.C. A&T in two weeks.