David Verburg, an athlete we featured last year, was one of a kind at least we thought that. After digging up the archives for our MileStat March Madness we came across a name that we had never noticed before and were shocked to learn how much she has done after high school. That athlete is Stonewall Jackson's (M) Kim Graham (1989).
First we should go back to David Verburg for those unfamiliar. He is a 2009 graduate of E.C. Glass who went on to George Mason and ultimately the Olympics and IAAF World Championships. He also helped set the 4x4 indoor world record in 2014. Despite all of those accolades, he never won a state title in high school.
There are always those athletes who go against great athletes and get overshadowed and then there are those that are overshadowed and work hard enough to one day overcome that and become all-time greats. One of those athletes is Kim Graham.
In high school Kim was a star, she won three state titles including one 100m title and two 200m titles while in high school. Noticeably though she did not win any titles indoors or in the 400m outdoors. Her PR's all-time appear three times on the all-time list at 30th, 15th, and 13th all-time. Her marks go back aways but she did not hold a state record at any time.
Kim ultimately went on to compete for Clemson collegiately and was a six-time All-American, won 16 15 ACC titles and was named MVP of the ACC Championships four times. Those performances and her school records helped her land a spot in the Hall of Fame in 1999.
After college she was certainly not done. She finished college in 1993 and went on to the big stage where she continued to shine. Ultimately she would make the Olympics and World Championships and bring home the gold medal as a member of the United State's 4x4 in Atlanta. Her team's victory started the US's current Olympic undefeated streak in the 4x4 that now stands at six.
As an individual athlete Kim also tallied up numerous big victories and made major finals including the 1996 Olympics semi-finals. She was the 1998 US National Champion in the 400 as well.
Despite not even winning a single state title in the 400 in high school this star went on to rank third all-time for VA athletes in the 400m dash with just Francena McCorory and LaTasha Collander ranked ahead her. She was the trailblazer though and for many years ranked as VA's greatest all-time.
She only ran 7.05 in the 55m dash in high school and 23.79 in the 200. Neither of those times would be a state leader today. Her 400m times though since then she us just how great she was and became. Ultimately her personal best would be lowered to 50.53 in the open 400.
Kim, from 1996-98 would break 51 seconds in each outdoor track season in the 400m dash. That feat is quite impressive and hard to equal just once.
Kim Graham is the perfect example and so is David Verburg of what you can become with hard work and perseverance. Look at some of the fastest VA athletes all-time, not every one of them won national or state titles... some didn't even win their regions. They all share one thing in common though and that is perseverance and an ability to adapt and fine tune their craft.