Lloyd signs athletic scholarship at UNC-Charlotte

Published 3:31 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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AHOSKIE – A member of Hertford County High School’s state championship 4×100 meter relay team has signed an athletic scholarship at UNC-Charlotte.

Jada Lloyd committed to the college upon signing the scholarship last week.

Back on May 17, Lloyd joined teammates Cashmere Cooper, Jamiyah Valentine, and Gabby Hayes in blistering the track at NC A&T State University in Greensboro with a time of 49.34 seconds to win the gold medal at the 2024 NCHSAA Class 2A state finals.

In addition to the relay team’s gold medal effort, Lloyd collected two individual medals by winning silver (2nd place) in the girls 100 meter dash (12.36 seconds) and bronze (3rd place) in the 400 meter dash (58.23 seconds). She placed fourth in the 200 meter dash with a time of 25.75 seconds.

A native of Jamaica, Lloyd said she started running competitively at the age of four and continued that effort while attending school in Montego Bay.

In 2021, she moved to Hertford County with her family. Lloyd said she didn’t know much about the county prior to her arrival.

“I did know that the high school here had a track team, so that made me happy,” she said.

After getting over the culture shock from relocating from a tourist destination in the Caribbean to rural northeastern North Carolina, Lloyd said her next challenge was to overcome her shyness that was “self-inflicted” due to her strong accent.

“I was very quiet at first before getting more accustomed to the way of life here,” Lloyd said. “The people here were very welcoming and I was able to make friends along the way.”

Lloyd says she feels that the 100 meter dash is her strongest event. However, she also likes the 400 meter dash, a competition she just added to her repertoire this past March.

“Running 400 meters is more strategic,” she stressed. “You have to have patience and endurance in running that distance.”

As far as the gold medal she and her HCHS teammates won at the state finals, Lloyd said it really come as a big surprise.

“We went into the state finals knowing that we would win,” she said, noting the positive attitude was because she and her teammates had something to prove after finishing in second place last year at the same event. “We’re happy that we came through this year.”

Lloyd is already looking forward to new challenges she will find at the collegiate level of competition.

“I’m very, very excited,” she smiled. “This is a great opportunity. Not only do I get to go to college and do something there that I’ve loved since the age of 4, but I get to go for a cheaper price based upon my athletic talent.”

At UNC-Charlotte, Lloyd plans to major in Health Science with a minor in Psychology.

Beyond college, Lloyd dreams of competing in the Olympics.

“I would love for that to happen; I would love to represent my native country,” she said.

HCHS girls track and field coach Ben Anthony expressed his happiness over seeing one of his student-athletes make it to the next level.

“She’s not only a gifted runner, she’s also a great student,” Anthony noted. “Having colleges to recognize the talent we have here in Hertford County is a tribute to our overall girls track program.

“The staff at UNC-Charlotte really like Jada and her work ethic,” Anthony added. “She is strong in the speed events, so I can see her doing well at the collegiate level of competition.”

The coach said his track and field program is growing.

“This year I had 72 girls on the opening day of tryouts,” he recalled. “I had to make three cuts to get the team down to 30-or-so.

“It’s because of student-athletes like Jada that we’ve enjoyed success over the years. She and others have set the bar high for others in our program to equal or exceed in years to come,” Anthony concluded.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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