Grayson Fipps and her South Carroll girls indoor track teammates wrote specific goals on their hands prior to the Class 2A West meet at Hagerstown Community College on Feb. 2.
Fipps was set to compete in three events — the 55-meter dash, the 4x200-meter relay and the pole vault. She won the 55 and finished second in the pole vault at the county meet one week earlier, and the senior admitted she felt nervous entering the next phase of championship season.
Fipps hit her first personal record of the season with a second-place finish in the 55 dash in 7.47 seconds. She then led off the Cavaliers’ 4x200 relay, and the girls finished second in 1:50.72. Pole vault had already started prior to the relay, and Fipps said she left the event when the bar was set at 9 feet, 8 inches.
Middletown senior Allie Watt was still in contention when Fipps returned. Watt missed her first two attempts, which gave Fipps more chances to vault. She cleared 10-2, a personal record, and came away with her first regional championship of any kind.
“I think that was one of the most humbling moments,” Fipps said. “This was out of my control and this was not my doing. I got lucky with pole vault, the 55 and the 4x200. We ran great and it was definitely one of my most proud moments.”
The Times Girls Indoor Track Athlete of the Year led all Carroll County athletes in points scored at regionals and states this season, and helped the Cavaliers win their third straight indoor county title and second straight regional title as well.
Fipps’ 2A West performances landed her among the top 10 list of Carroll’s indoor greats — she’s 10th all-time in the 55 dash and fifth all-time in pole vault, according to performances listed on carrollcountyrunning.com. Former teammate Summer Bingaman ranks second on the list, and Fipps said Bingaman became a factor in her decision to start pole vaulting.
Fipps participated in a track and field play day in middle school and developed an admiration for jumping. She was the fastest sprinter on the field hockey team as a freshman and decided to pursue track. She toggled with cheerleading in the winter, but joined the outdoor track team that year and stuck with it.
Fipps said the Cavaliers heavily rely on one another for support, and it shows. Each of the girls’ individual talents has helped the team improve year after year.
“I’m so proud of all of my teammates because we’re so talented and to be a part of that is just something so special,” Fipps said. “When I can contribute, when I can score points, I feel blessed that I’m given the ability to do that. I turn to God in those times and before I run, I pray … I feel very blessed — it’s not always me. They have my back and I feel like we’re always being looked down on, so it helps to know I’ve been given these talents.”
The Cavaliers are in their second season under the leadership of coaches Kevin Selby and Don Caparotti. Fipps said rebuilding with a new staff has helped the girls build stronger relationships with one another and it has equally contributed to their depth and continued success.
“Our group of girls is so strong and since we have been under a new coaching staff, we have kind of learned to trust each other and rely on each other,” Fipps said. “There’s just constant support there and our girls are so close. We pray together before every meet and we warm up together. We’re constantly watching each other.”
Selby said Fipps’ ability to perform in multiple events was a facet in the Cavaliers’ success during championship season. Fipps, who is committed to Salisbury for field hockey, will compete again in outdoor prior to graduating in June.
“She’s a strong leader,” Selby said. “A lot of the girls on the team go to her for advice. A lot of the girls on the team look up to her and there are a lot of events she can compete in. She is amazingly talented and extremely competitive.”