By Peter Vankevich
Ocracoke sophomore Karen Perez led Ocracoke’s track-and-field team at the regional competition in May at Camp Lejeune.
She had a first-place finishing the 1600m (one mile) and a second-place finish in the 800m. Her strong finishes qualified her to compete in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Women’s State 1-A Track and Field Championships in Greensboro, also in May, where she placed eighth in the 1600m (5:50) and tenth in the 800m (2:41).
Karen was part of Ocracoke School’s first ever track and field team this year, and coaches Denny Widener and Scott MacNally were pleased with how well the season went. After just three competitions, the team went to Manteo for the conference track meet. Every member of the team qualified for the regionals.
In addition to Karen, team members include Jordi Perez, Kyle Tillett, Kevin Perez, Evin Caswell and Dalton Kalna.
A sophomore honor student, Perez ran her first competitive race (the Ocracoke 5K) when she was in the fifth grade.
Running is a family talent. Her mother, Lulu, took first place this year in the Ocracoke 5K/10K in the women’s 10K (and was fifth overall). Karen’s brother Kevin, who will be a senior in September, won the 5K and Karen placed second in the women’s 5K.
Karen has played on the Lady Dolphins basketball team, though she is deciding whether to play both sports or concentrate on running next year.