Williams 2nd; Sweet 5th in state track meet

Published 10:45 am Tuesday, June 4, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

While it’s true that not all journeys end with glory, it was still a titanic year for Davie track & field star Cooper Williams.

In February, Williams captured the 4-A indoor state championship in the shot put with a throw of 58-06.25.

In April, he set a new junior class state record at 63-2. (Older brother Spencer holds the state record at 66-2.5.)

In the outdoor state meet at North Carolina A&T University on May 17, Williams took runner-up at 55-2.25. He lost to Weddington senior Christopher Stewart, who was second to Williams in the state indoor meet.

In the Midwest Regional on May 11, Stewart beat Williams’ 58-10.5 by 11 inches. A week later at A&T, Stewart triumphed at 61-7.5.

Williams is obviously crazy-good, making Stewart’s double play on May 11 and May 17 quite remarkable. The rival from Weddington certainly hit his stride at the right time.

“(Stewart) kept getting a little better and a little better through the year, and he had a good meet on Saturday,” Davie coach Rob Raisbeck said. “Cooper did not have his best day. You can’t change the fact that he’s already won a state championship in indoors and he’s only a junior.”

The third-place finisher was another senior from Weddington. The fourth-place guy was a sophomore, but six of the top eight were seniors. In other words, Williams will be almost impossible to handle next year.

“(Williams and the fourth-place finisher) will be head and shoulders ahead of everybody in the state next year,” Raisbeck said. “After he kind of had a disappointing end to his sophomore season, he just became a fanatic during the offseason leading up to the state indoor this year, and he improved dramatically through a ton of hard work. Based on what I know of him, this will just motivate him to work even harder. To be a junior and second in the state, you can’t be disappointed in that.”


AJ Sweet’s performance at the state meet could not have gone any better. He endured a nasty slump in the pole vault around midseason, but he rediscovered his magic when it mattered most.

Sweet soared a season-best 14-6, breaking his own school record, and placed fifth. A senior and a junior cleared 15 feet, while three guys cleared 14-6. The tiebreaker determined third, fourth and fifth. A junior finished third, a senior took fourth and Sweet went down as the top sophomore in 4-A – “and it’s not even close,” Raisbeck said.

Last year Sweet was seventh in the state at 13-0; the winning mark in 2023 was 14-6.

Even better, there will be many more chapters in Sweet’s story.

“He’s had an interesting spring,” Raisbeck said. “As he’s grown, he’s gotten much stronger and much faster – and it really affected his approach. He was just too fast on the runway and it was playing havoc with his takeoff. It got to the point where a month ago in one meet he jumped 10-6. He was having all kinds of difficulties. His dad, coach (Marc) Sweet, went back to basics. Instead of doing full run-ups, they were doing five-step approaches to work on technique so he wasn’t too fast going into the plant. We saw marked improvement in conference, and he kind of put it together at the state meet.”

Raisbeck is already looking forward to 2024-25.

“We are really young, so we’ll look to qualify a bunch more guys next year,” he said. “We will make a run at top 10 in the state next year.”