Davie track duo among best in country

Published 1:15 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2024

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Davie’s dynamic duo in indoor track – junior thrower Cooper Williams and sophomore pole vaulter AJ Sweet – are having immense success.

Williams’ top throw in the shot put is now 57-9. In the state, he’s No. 2 overall and No. 1 in 4-A. He is ranked 20th in the country overall and sixth in his class. Talk about a sterling performance, he finished first out of 130 in the Virginia Showcase at Virginia Beach.

“There were kids from probably 15 states or more,” coach Rob Raisbeck said. “They came from everywhere. It was a really big deal.

“Cooper has had amazing development over the last year in a variety of ways. Part of it is physical maturity, getting stronger, shedding some baby weight for lack of a better term. So he’s much more of a physical specimen. Now his work habits are off the charts. I’m not sure if he threw over 50 feet last year, I don’t think he did. He was around 48 or 49 feet. He is now over 57.”

Cooper gets his athletic gifts honestly. His oldest brother, Spencer, is a sophomore thrower for the North Carolina Tar Heels. The middle brother, Palmer, is a freshman punter at Baylor.

“Spencer had a real nice freshman year,” Raisbeck said. “He was seventh in the ACC outdoor in the shot.”

More good news: Sweet has glittering numbers of his own.

His pole vault clearance of 13-6 made him the No. 13 sophomore in the country. When he cleared 14-1 last month, that made him the No. 8 sophomore in the country. In the state, he is ranked the No. 1 sophomore and No. 12 overall. He just cleared 14-6 to make him the No. 6 sophomore in the country.

Sweet recently attended the National Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nevada. It’s the largest pole vault event in the world, attracting 1,300 pole vaulters on Jan. 12-13. .

“You had kids from all over the country there,” Raisbeck said. “AJ and Cooper both have a shot to do really well at the state indoor meet (Feb. 9 at JDL in Winston-Salem). Cooper has a good shot to win it. AJ is the around No. 5 in 4-A. So if he has his best effort, he definitely has a shot at top three.”

Mason Kuhnemann has qualified for the state thanks to his personal-record 6-0 in the high jump.