State title fits nicely in Castro’s plans
LINCOLNTON – North Lincoln High sophomore Allie Castro was born to run.
Or so it seems.
Castro’s father, Jerry Castro, coaches the Knights’ track and field team for which Allie competes. But there wasn’t much competition for the younger Castro in the Class 2A state track meet on May 11 at North Carolina A&T University.
Castro won the state title in the 3,200-meter run. She ran third for the first six of the eight laps around A&T’s track, but that was by design.
“We had the plan that Allie would try to speed up the race pace,” Jerry Castro said.
“We wanted to make other runners use up their energy early on by trying to keep up or lead for a while. There was no concern about that happening to Allie. We knew she had a chance to win. I had no doubt of that.”
That’s exactly what she did. Castro’s time of 11 minutes, 18.62 seconds was her second-fastest time ever in the 3,200-meter race. It was more than enough to capture the first individual state title in North Lincoln history.
It was also the second-fastest time in a Class 2A meet in 32 years.
Castro’s successful run in the state meet earned her the title of Lake Norman Publications Girls Track Athlete of the Year.
She said it was her ideal race: stay close to the lead pack for the first few laps, then make her run to the front late and stay there.
“I wasn’t worried when I wasn’t leading,” Castro said. “I felt confident the whole time. We knew what we planned on doing (late in the race).”
That confidence came with good reason. Jerry Castro said Allie’s final time – which was just .53 seconds slower than her best result, a 1:18.09 on March 31 in the Raleigh Relays – came thanks to the big lead she built on the last two circuits.
“It could have been even quicker if it needed to be,” he said. “Allie could have gone 1:15 if that was what it would take to win. But she got what she needed to get to win, and that’s what matters.”
Wendell Corinth Holders High’s Arden Vessie and Carrboro High’s Helen Morken, who led the race early, finished nearly six seconds behind Castro in second and third.
The finish was the high point of Castro’s season, but it wasn’t her only memorable moment.
She also set the fastest times in Lincoln County in the 1,600-meter run (5:13.01) and the mile, which she ran in 5:14.84.
“I want to hold onto the state championship for two more years,” Castro said. “It’s one thing to win it once. I want to keep it for a while.”