North Stokes newest state champion, junior Emma Frye only had one request after taking home the gold medal in the triple jump on May 20 at the NCHSAA 1A Track and Field State Championship. She asked that her picture be placed beside her father in the rows of state title winners located in the hall, just before walking into the gymnasium at the school. Frye’s father, Franklyn won a state championship in 1990 wrestling in the 145 pound weight class.
“After it was over and I won, my dad said, ‘You just had to go and win one too, didn’t you?’” Frye laughed. “I wanted to have our pictures together for him. I thought it was pretty neat.”
The father-daughter duo are the first to hold state championship titles at North Stokes.
Frye dominated this season winning first in the triple jump, third in 100 meter hurdles and long jump and fifth place in the 300 meter hurdles. She also led her team to a second place overall win.
“I thought we could have done a little better but I’m proud of my team and the way we finished,” she said. “Swain County was really tough and had a lot of good girls competing.”
Frye began running track in middle school, but said she didn’t begin taking it seriously until her freshman season at North.
“The program is great. It’s friendly and welcoming and feels like a family. I know they’re always going to support me,” she said.
Over the past three years the athlete’s fine-tuned her skills and realized what she’s capable of accomplishing. Frye believes much of it stems from coach Rodney King.
“He pushes me and is just the best coach ever. I know he wants the best for me and he’s really helped me accomplish a lot of the goals I’ve set over the past three years,” she said.
After King announced he was stepping down from the program to take on an athletic director position at Millennium Charter Academy in Mount Airy, Frye took the news hard.
“I just bawled, but I’m happy for him. I support him just like he’s supported me over the years,” she said.
While many have followed Frye’s success as she’s set records and raked in win after win since her freshman season, she admits it’s the mundane work that may set her apart from others.
“It’s a lot of practice,” she said through a smile. “Because I’m a jumper and hurdler I alternate hurdle and jump days. I have warms ups and drills, a specialized workout and then do sprinting. But it’s so much more than going out and doing it. You have to want to be there. You have to realize what you’re capable of, then go after it.”
At the state meet, Frye said she didn’t know immediately that she’d won the triple jump.
“I wasn’t sure how the girl in front of me did and I thought it was pretty iffy. Jimmy (Dillard) came up and gave me the good news and I was so happy,” she said. “It’s what I wanted. My freshman year when the boys won the state championship it set such a high standard for a lot of us. It has been my goal to win since then and I couldn’t have been happier.”
Today, the rising senior isn’t resting on her laurels. In fact, she’s already setting goals for her last high school season.
She wants a repeat in the triple jump and believes she can take first in the long jump as well.
“I think I can place second in the hurdles. Of course I want first in everything, but I have to be realistic. I’d like to set more PR’s. At the end of the day, I want to put in the work not just for me, but for my team and my family. I want to bring more wins back to our community.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.