Mebane’s Parker goes the distance in state meet; wins three individual titles plus contributes in one team event win

By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

By the end of the Class 2-A state championships for track and field, Catherine Parker made it look easy.

The girl from Mebane won three individual events and took part in a title-winning relay representing North Carolina School of Science and Math.

“This school year has been a very good year for me,” Parker said.

She won the 1,600 meters, then the 800, and finally the 3,200 at North Carolina A&T’s stadium May 17 in Greensboro.

Parker, a 16-year-old junior, spent her first two high school years at Eastern Alamance, where she was on cross country, track and field, and soccer teams.

The competition in the latest state meet began for Parker in the 3,200 relay. She ran the anchor for NCSSM, which won in 10 minutes, 4.88 seconds with West Stanly next at 10:06.30.

Parker’s individual competition started with the 1,600. She cruised to victory in 5:06.41, nearly seven seconds ahead of runner-up Maya Little of Pine Lake Prep.

Then came her biggest test – the 800. Little and Parker separated from the rest of the contenders, and Parker finally passed Little on the inside for the lead with about 50 meters remaining.

“We took it out fast,” Parker said.

Parker’s time was 2:18.41 with Little at 2:18.65.

Parker and others had an extended break prior to the 3,200. The stadium was evacuated because of an approaching storm, causing a suspension of competition.

Parker was dominant in the meet’s final distance race on a wet track. She won the 3,200 in 11:16.68, lapping four of the runners. The runner-up was Abby Pike (11:49.59) from Pine Lake Prep.

The switch to the Durham school has been rewarding for Parker, she said. In the fall, she won the Class 2-A individual cross country state title and followed that in the winter by winning the Class 1-A/2-A 3,200 indoor championship and taking second place in the 1,600 indoor.

“Everyone is very interested in running at Science and Math,” she said.

Parker’s efforts helped the Unicorns to second place behind Cummings in the girls’ team standings in the state meet.

Parker is the daughter of Drs. Charles and Mary Parker of Mebane.  Charles is a professor at Duke University where he manages a lab and oversees research projects in materials science for federal agencies that include the National Institutes of Health, and is also a member of the ABSS school board.  Mary is deputy chief medical officer for the North Carolina and Virginia division of the federal department of Veterans Affairs.

Catherine is the fourth member of the family to attend the School of Science and Math.  Both her parents attended and fell in love there, and an older brother, Andrew, is also a graduate.