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The Charlotte Observer - Sun 16 Mar 2008  

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BOYS' Track Athletics

Challenge keeps duo running

Hardworking state aces Grier, House use Resistance Bands

Set pace for West Charlotte

DAN TIERNEY

dtierney@charlotteobserver.com

It's barely 40 degrees with a bitter breeze whipping across the West Charlotte High track, and the sprint coach isn't yet back from business in Georgia.

Still, Bobby Grier and DeMario House know what they have to do. They begin running sprints of various distances -- always as a pair -- while other teammates do their respective workout routines.

"Nobody trains harder than us," House said of the West Charlotte track team. "When nobody else is practicing, we're practicing."

Known as a haven for sprinters, West Charlotte will again have two of the best in the state for the outdoor track season in Grier and House. Before the season even began, the duo made their names known nationally.

At the Simplot Games, one of the premier national indoor track meets, House and Grier took first and third place, respectively, in the 200 meters with times of 21.87 and 21.89. Grier also finished fifth in the 400 meters.

Not that Trenton Guy, the perpetually confident West Charlotte sprint coach, expected anything less at the Idaho-based event.

"(I wasn't) surprised at all," he said. "I knew they'd do good. They wanted to live up to the reputation of West Charlotte runners."

That reputation grew last year with another Guy -- Trenton Jr.

As a senior, Guy was chosen for an All-USA Today spot and earned a scholarship to Clemson. Among other events, Guy won a national outdoor title in 200 meters and an indoor national title in the 100.

Guy Sr., though, admits that sometimes the competition between West Charlotte sprinters tainted team unity, which Grier and House haven't let happen.

"They bring constant leadership," Guy said.

Best friends from the school to the neighborhood to the track, the two decided over a Waffle House meal in the off-season that they needed to set the example for the rest of the team. That meant training hard, showing up to practice on time, respecting the sport -- all characteristics ingrained in the team by Guy.

This weekend, the two will also get a chance to add to the program's ever-growing medal and ring collection at the Nike Indoor Nationals in Landover, Md. In addition to the individual events, Grier, House and two other still-undecided West Charlotte sprinters could compete for a national championship in the 4-by-200.

Soon after, the team will return to local competition and a shot at a state title. Guy, of course, has already placed the challenge to Grier and House.

"You can't come down here after winning at Simplot and let some local joker beat you," Guy said he told the duo. "That's just not an option.

"It's a track meet for everyone else. It's a clinic for us."


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