Glenn High School’s Daryl Napper has earned bragging rights as the dominant jumps specialist on the Forsyth County track and field scene. Napper, a junior, pulled off a rare sweep of those events at the Scott Brent Invitational meet two weeks ago.
The Brent Invitational is the one annual track event in which most of the schools in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County participate. The competition is widely acknowledged as the unofficial city-county track championships.
In this year’s hometown showdown, Napper held off all challengers in winning the high jump (6 feet), long jump (20-feet, ½ inch) and triple jump (40 feet, 11 ½ inches). As a result, Napper won the Brent Invitational’s Outstanding Field Athlete Award.
“I have to admit that I’m pleased with how the season has gone so far,” said Napper. “But that’s no reason for me to be satisfied with what’s already happened. There’s more for me to accomplish.”
Even though Napper is the best at what he does in this county, it’s doubtful that he can duplicate a three-event sweep at the regionals and the NCHSAA 4-A outdoor championships in the coming weeks. What’s most apparent, however, is that at the state level, he’s a proven commodity in the long jump. All season long, Napper has delivered as one of the elites in North Carolina high school track.
Napper’s best leap of the season is 22-feet, 1 inch, which places him fifth in the most recent state rankings released by the ncmilesplit.com web site. This year’s Class 4-A state meet could produce some intriguing face-offs in the long jump. There’s only a difference of nine inches that separates the top seven long jumpers in the state. Brandon Mcrae of Hoke County is No. 1 in the rankings at 22-feet, 10 inches.
“Effort, that’s the main reason why the season has gone as well as it has for me,” said Napper. “I worked hard last year, but this year, I’m pouring more of myself into everything I do. Coach pushes me extremely hard, which helps to bring out the best in me. I’m still a work in progress, but I believe that if I keep working and keep moving forward, I can place among the top four at the state.”
Glenn Track Coach Antwon Stevenson concurs. Work ethic and confidence, the coach explained, have given Napper a mindset that he belongs in competition with the best high school long jumpers in the state.
“There’s no questioning Daryl’s desire to get better,” said Stevenson. “I can give him a complete workout regimen to follow and I’ll never have to look over his shoulder to see if he’s doing everything he should do. With him, it’s more a matter of continuing to coach him up technique-wise. In the meantime, he’s gotten a lot stronger and he’s more mature. Daryl learns a lot from his own experiences as well as what he sees from the competition. He takes special note of what he’s doing when it comes to form and technique. Then he makes the necessary corrections, which helps him to keep improving.”