Parkland High grad pumped about college track future

Parkland High grad pumped about college track future
June 11
00:00 2015

In photo above: Parkland’s Katlin Sherman (second from right) came on strong at the end to win the 100-meter dash at this year’s Class 4-A state championships. (Photo by Craig T. Greenlee)

     Like all elite-level sprinters, Katlin Sherman has superior foot speed. In her case, however, there’s more to it than having the ability to run fast. There’s an inner sizzle that feeds her drive to be the best of the best – especially when championships of any kind are on the line.

     It’s an intangible that served Sherman well during her time at Parkland High. That same trait figures to take her even further when she begins her college track career at UNC-Chapel Hill this fall.

     “Katlin has that ‘want to’ mentality,” said Nicole Hudson, Tar Heels sprints/hurdles coach. “In watching her run, you notice right away that her will to win is very strong. Katlin is always ready to compete, and it doesn’t matter who the opponent is.”

     A year ago, Sherman, a junior at that time, won the 100 and 200-meter dashes at the Class 4-A state outdoor track and field championships. She also anchored Parkland’s state title-winning 4×100 and 4×200 relays and was voted state meet Most Valuable Player.

    As a result, she emerged as a hot prospect in the eyes of a host of major-college programs. Aside from the Tar Heels, Sherman attracted heavy interest from Tennessee, East Carolina, Virginia Tech, South Carolina and Texas A&M.

    “We need athletes like Katlin who can help Carolina track return to the level of dominance we had in the late 1990s/early 2000s,” Hudson said. “We’re excited to have her join us. She has those qualities that will enable her to do well in the classroom and on the track. The fact that she was a key figure on a deep Parkland team says a lot about her skill set and what she’s capable of doing in the future.”

     This spring, Sherman, who signed with UNC last November, fell short in her efforts to duplicate another state championship sprint double. Even so, there were two memorable sequences from 2015 that revealed much about Sherman’s competitive persona.

     At the state indoor meet in February, Sherman put on an impressive display in the 4×400 relay. Initially, Sherman led the pack on the second leg, but she seemed to be overcome by fatigue.

     In the meantime, Leesville Road, Raleigh Wakefield and Cary took over as the frontrunners. Sherman, however, wasn’t finished. With about 300 meters to go, she ran down three people to put the Mustangs back in front. One of the three runners was Layla White of Cary, the defending state outdoor champ at 400 meters. Parkland ended winning that relay in state record time.

     In the finals of the 100 meters at the state outdoor championships, Sherman appeared destined to finish third. Tamara Clark of High Point Central and Sydnei Murphy of Apex, held the lead for most of the race. The outcome changed drastically when Sherman bolted past the leaders over the final 10 meters to win in a photo finish with personal best time of 11.53 seconds.

     “When those runners went past me in the 4×400 at the state indoor meet, I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to go out like that,” Sherman recalled. “I left everything I had on the track. In the 100 finals, I kept telling myself, ‘gotta win, gotta win.’ As I got closer to the finish line, I put all my focus on picking up my knees and pumping my arms as hard as I could.”

     For now, Sherman is taking a track sabbatical of sorts. She continues to train, but will not engage in any competition for the first time in three years. The vacation is welcomed and well deserved. Since early March, Sherman had been hampered to some degree due to an ongoing ankle injury, which prevented her from being totally healthy.

     “It’s been a long time since I took any time off,” said Sherman, who maintained a 3.7 grade-point average as a senior. “Physically, mentally and emotionally, I needed to get some rest. The reason I continue to train is so I won’t get destroyed during workouts when I get to Chapel Hill. I know that college workouts are no joke and I want to be ready for that.”

     Sherman, who plans to major in exercise sport science, looks forward to the future with eager anticipation. There’s no doubt in her mind that Chapel Hill is right place for her to be.

     “My first reason for choosing UNC is academics,” she said. “When I made my visit, I felt like I was accepted right away by the team, coaches and other staff members. Not only do I get to go to school in my home state, but I have a genuine opportunity to help create another dynasty like Parkland. I’m confident that Carolina will provide everything I need to help make that happen.”  

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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