By Rubin E. Grant
Mountain Brook senior Grayson Scott literally went from cheering to soaring.
After being cut from the Mountain Brook cheerleading squad toward the end of her freshman year, Scott jumped right into track.
Two months after her cheerleading days ended, Scott won the Class 7A state high jump title, clearing 5 feet, 4 inches in the 2018 Alabama High School Athletic Association Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
“After I got cut, I had to throw myself into track,” Scott said. “Getting cut turned out to be the best thing that happened for me.”
Scott has continued to soar since then. She cleared 5 feet, 8 inches in the high jump in the Icebreaker Invitational indoor track meet on Jan. 8 at the Birmingham CrossPlex. The mark tied the school’s girls record and broke the CrossPlex record. At the time, it was the top girls mark in the event in the nation, but now it ranks third.
“That was pretty cool,” Scott said of having the top jump in the nation for a while.
She also won the triple jump at the Icebreaker with a jump of 33 feet, 1.5 inches. Five days later, she won both events at the Hump Day Octameet, hosted by Mountain Brook on Jan. 13 at the CrossPlex. She cleared 5 feet, 4 inches in the high jump and went 32-10 in the triple jump.
“So far this has been a good season for me,” Scott said. “There’s been a few rocky starts, but overall OK.”
Mountain Brook track coach Michael McGovern described Scott as a natural.
“She burst onto the scene as a freshman and continued to get better,” McGovern said. “She has lot of natural ability and she’s extremely coachable.
“Grayson’s also one of the toughest athletes I’ve seen. She works well through pain. And she’s always positive with a big smile on her face. She’s a fun kid to have on the team.”
Scott became a track and field athlete in the eighth grade, doing the pole vault. But after attending a track camp, she started high jumping. The coach at the camp was impressed.
“He told me, ‘You need to do high jump,’’’ Scott recalled.
Soon afterward, she added the long jump, triple jump, hurdles and relays to her repertoire of events. In the process, she developed into a standout in the pentathlon. She holds the school record in the pentathlon and will be competing in it Friday, Jan. 29, in the Last Chance Invitational.
The pentathlon includes the three jumps as well as the 60-meter hurdles and 800-meter run.
Scott set the school record as a sophomore with 2,692 points at the Last Chance Invitational and then broke it as a junior with 3,031 points. But she didn’t win gold either year, finishing fourth in 2019 and second in 2020.
She is cautiously optimistic about her chances Friday.
“You never say going into a meet that you’re going to win because everyone has off days,” Scott said, “but I’m going to give it my best.”
Scott is grateful to be competing during her final high school indoor season, especially after the 2020 outdoor track and field season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am very thankful to have this season because we were all wondering whether we would have a season,” Scott said. “We’re very fortunate.
“We take precautions in practice, even though that’s hard to do when you’re around each other every day and you can’t run with a mask on. But we try to keep socially distanced and wear a mask when we’re not running.”
Scott hopes to compete in track in college.
“I am talking to a number of schools,” she said. “I am trying to figure out the best fit for me.”
Scott also is looking forward to the state indoor meet Feb. 5-6 at the CrossPlex. The Spartans will be competing in Class 6A after competing in 7A the past six years. Mountain Brook won the Class 7A title in 2019 but finished eighth in 2020.
“When we won the year before, we had a lot of seniors,” Scott said. “Last year, we didn’t do terrible, but we had a young team. This year we have some really good athletes. In 6A, I’m not sure what our chances are, but we’re just going to try to do our best.”