Piedmont boys claim track and field state championship
by Rip Donovan
Sports Correspondent
May 05, 2013 | 3678 views |  0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This year’s seniors at Piedmont started their high school careers with a state championship in football as freshmen. Saturday, with first-year track coach Mark Mitchell directing the show, the Piedmont boys pieced together enough points in enough events in the AHSAA Class 3A state track meet in Selma to send the seniors off the same way they arrived — as state champions. The Piedmont girls made a run at a big blue trophy of their own before finishing third.

The Bulldogs were the model of consistency. They scored 40 points Friday and added 41 points to that total Saturday. Piedmont’s 81 points were seven better than the 74 scored by second place Trinity Presbyterian of Montgomery. T.R. Miller of Brewton (57.5), Greensboro (52.5) and Deshler of Tuscumbia (44) completed the first five.

“I thought it was something to do to stay in shape for football,” said senior Jamie Major, an all-state selection in that sport who will continue his football career at Samford in the fall. Major was second in the javelin Friday and ran the first leg on the first place 4x100 relay team Saturday. “State championship never really crossed my mind. I knew (Mitchell) had won at Cedar Bluff but I thought he was crazy when he first came here.”

Crazy like a fox. Mitchell approached everyone in the school, seventh-graders to seniors, he felt had the potential to help in even the slightest way and once they committed his encouragement kept them.

“We started in February running stadiums and then after that he kept saying we were going to make it special,” Major recalled. “Then he said something about a state championship and we started believing. Every track meet we started getting better and better.”

If the members of the boys’ team needed something extra to drive them they only had to remember the final football game of the season, an unexpected 28-6 loss to Deshler in the second round of the playoffs. For seniors like Major, Michael DeVoe, Laphonso Burroughs, Sarandon Dunbar, Jaylan Johnson, Marquez Gamble and Logan Moore the defeat was particularly bitter and they didn’t have time for the track program to grow into a state contender in two or three years.

“We really used the motivation from the Deshler game. We had a sour taste in our mouths from that game,” Major said, adding that the seniors told themselves and then their younger teammates, ‘We’ve got to win a ring that we lost in November.’ It was really cruel losing in football but now that we came back in track and got a blue map it kind of makes it a little bit better.”

Running legs in the 4x100 in addition to Major were Cody Daughtry, Darnell Jackson and Denard Spears. Spears, a junior, won the 100-meter dash in 11.41 seconds, two-tenths of a second better than his nearest adversary. C.J. Savage was fifth for Piedmont.

By mid-afternoon, the Bulldogs had 71 points. Trinity sat third with 46 but was expected to finish 1-2 in the 800-meter run for 18 points and first in the final event of the day, the 4x400 relay, for another 10. Then Daughtry finished sixth in the 200 dash for three points and Spears out-jumped 10 contestants with better seeding distances than his in the long jump to finish eighth and give Piedmont 75 points, one more than Trinity could possibly attain.

Trinity got its expected 28 points in the 800 and 4x400 but Piedmont didn’t limp to the championship. Daughtry, Burroughs, Justin Young and Jamaal Young were third in the 4x400.

While the Piedmont girls trailed first place Bayside Academy (131.5) and second place T.R. Miller (110.5) in the team standings, senior BreAnna Thompson trailed no one in the triple jump, this year or from any previous year. In Thompson’s final event she jumped 37 feet, 2 inches, bettering her previous personal best by 14 inches, to set a state Class 3A record. The old record was 36 feet, 5 inches set in 2005. Sarah Garner was sixth and Riesha Thompson seventh in the triple jump.

Piedmont also got field events points on Saturday from Hayden Tyree (fifth) and Mallory Roberts (sixth) in the pole vault and Jaylon Majors (eighth) in the discus. On the track, Karri Green was third in the 300 hurdles and seventh in the 200 dash. Piedmont was fourth in both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

Class 3A

Weaver’s Chris English was second in the high jump and teammate Timothy Hawkins finished fifth in the long jump. Hawkins was sixth and Jules Hernandez seventh in the 100 dash. The Bearcats were 13th as a team with 19 points.

Isaiah Simmons of Saks was sixth in the 300 hurdles. Dale Reddick of White Plains was seventh in the 110 hurdles.

Class 2A

Matthew Bonds earned 20 points for Pleasant Valley Saturday. Bonds took first place in the 3200 run with a time of 10:04.39, more than 30 seconds better than his previous best effort. He also won the 800 run in 2:06.04 after having just the seventh best seeding time (2:15.1). Austin Tate was sixth in the high jump. Overall, Pleasant Valley was tied for fourth with Tanner with 51 points.

Destiny Parker was eighth in the discus and eighth in the shot put for the Raiders. Rachel Faucett finished eighth in the 3200.

Class 1A

George McMillan of Donoho was second in the 800 run with a time of 2:03.78. Will Faulk of St. Bernard (2:03.19) edged McMillan. For Talladega County Central, D.J. Swain was second in the 100 dash and Jeremy Allen eighth in the 300 hurdles.

Camryn Swain led the Donoho girls with a sixth place finish in the 3200 run. Rylee Segrest was eighth in the triple jump for the Falcons. Courtney Willis of TCC was fourth in the 200 dash and fifth in the 100 dash.

Class 6A

In the 6A meet at Gulf Shores Saturday, Jessica Stringer of Oxford was fourth in the girls discus. Jacob Schwyn finished seventh in the boys’ 800 run.

Auburn won the boys title and Hoover the girls championship.

Class 4A

At Gulf Shores, Anniston’s Carsheuna Curry was fourth in the girls’ triple jump. The Bulldogs were second in the girls’ 4x100 relay and Jacksonville finished sixth in the event.

Shelbi White of Lincoln won the girls’ 200 dash and teammate Kierra Groce finished sixth. The Golden Bears’ 4x400 relay team was first with Cleburne County seventh. In the 100 dash, Keira O’Neal of Munford finished fifth. Iesha Moore of Lincoln was eighth in the 300 hurdles.

Among the boys, Tadarius Smith of Anniston was sixth in the 300 hurdles. Benjamin Pryor of Jacksonville finished sixth in the 800 run.

Munford’s Kyle Franklin was third in the 200 dash. Austin Swain of Lincoln was third in the 110 hurdles and fifth in the 300 hurdles. Munford was first in the 4x100 relay and sixth in the 4x400. Cleburne County was seventh in the 4x400. Bradley Bozeman of Handley was eighth in the shot. Cherokee County got seventh place finishes from Max Bland in the shot and Ty Green in the 100 dash.

UMS-Wright of Mobile won both the boys and girls championships.
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Piedmont boys claim track and field state championship by Rip Donovan
Sports Correspondent

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