With his competitive spirit, Augusta Christian School’s Grant Newman is showing he can hurdle obstacles that get in his way.
Heading into the South Carolina Independent School Association Class AAA state track meet, Newman was battling strep throat and wasn’t at his best.
“The night before I had broken my fever, but I got no sleep,” said Newman. “It was a rough night.”
Add to the mix that the Lions don’t have a track and have to train on the school’s football field.
Still, the Lions’ junior took first-place trophies in the 400-meter hurdles and the long jump, and finished fourth in the 110-meter high hurdles and triple jump.
Newman ran varsity track in eighth and ninth grades, switched to baseball his sophomore year, then returned to track this year.
“I hadn’t done baseball since T-ball and I wanted to see what else was out there,” Newman said. “I realized I’m much better at track. I like that the work I put in really shows through rather than one person making an error and messing it up for everyone.”
It’s the one-on-one aspect of track that excites him.
“I’m a very competitive person,” Newman said. “If I see someone ahead of me, I’m going to do everything in my willpower to pass them or beat them. It’s very much the competition aspect of it.”
That attitude plays into the events he likes best.
“I’m probably best at the 400 hurdles, but the event I desire the most is the long jump. I really like the one-on-one competition. Seeing someone else jump and knowing that’s your benchmark and having to beat him.”
He played football in the fall for the Lions, and that’s where track coach Charles Cooper saw Newman flip a switch.
“He became an extremely hard worker; very intense,” said Cooper. “I was hoping it would carry over to the track season, and it did. It carried over and grew into his intensity and work ethic.”
The success he had at the track meet has given him more confidence that will carry over to his senior year.
‘‘This year, I never truly knew what I was capable of. So now that I do know what I’m capable of and what I can do, I’m going to work much harder toward those goals,” Newman said.
Cooper doesn’t think he will have to press Newman to work hard. “The thing about Grant is that he pushes himself,” Cooper said. “There’s no reason I have to motivate him. He motivates himself.”