Asheville High senior Brandon Washington has a deep, rich voice he hopes to parlay into a career in broadcast journalism.
Right now, Washington is making headlines, not reading them.
The state’s top athlete in the 300-meter hurdles recorded a personal record (39.64 seconds) to win the event at Saturday’s Blue Ridge Classic track meet.
Washington came into the competition at Reynolds with the best time (39.70) of any NCHSAA hurdler in 1-A, 2-A, 3-A or 4-A.
“I was aiming for 38 (seconds) today, but I got first place so I can’t complain,” Washington said.
“I heard about the (No. 1 state ranking) last week, and I didn’t believe it. It just means that if I can keep dropping time, then that’s a state championship, and that’s exciting to me.”
Washington’s individual points — he also came in second (15.33) to Roberson’s Drew Barker (14.65) in the 110-meter hurdles — helped the Cougars (105) win the Blue Ridge team championship.
Washington began his high school career at North Henderson and said he really got serious about track after placing sixth in the 300-meter hurdles at the 2011 NCHSAA 2-A meet. Last year, Washington came in third, this time at the 3-A level, for Asheville.
“This year, I guess I’m hoping to get first,” Washington said with a smile.
Washington hopes to compete at the next level for N.C. State and room with good friend, Hendersonville senior Grant Rivers, who is a two-time NCHSAA 1-A champion in the high jump.
Rivers won that field event Saturday with a height of 6 feet, 4 inches.
Washington said he is still discussing a possible scholarship package with the Wolfpack coaching staff. Rivers has already signed.
“(Washington) has been my best friend since the fourth or fifth grade,” Rivers said.
“I can’t wait for college. It’s great to see all the success he is having.”
Speaking of Rivers, he and fellow Hendersonville senior Elizabeth Lackey were named winners of the Gothberg Grant scholarships at Saturday’s meet.
Rivers and Lackey wrote essays on how track has positively impacted their lives to receive the grants. Each Bearcats athlete will receive $500 to go toward their college education.
It is believed to be the first time in the 11-year history of the BRC that two athletes from the same school have received the Gothberg scholarships. Lackey and Rivers were nominated by Hendersonville coach Pam Bolton.