As the biggest local school, Oxford has a larger student population to draw from than any of its county competitors.
And in a sport such as track and field, in which both quality and quantity count, it’s no surprise that the Yellow Jackets dominated the competition at the annual county meet at Jacksonville State Monday.
They won both the boys and girls divisions handily over second-place finisher Class 4A Anniston.
“We know we’re the only 6A school in the county and we should have a little advantage over the rest of the schools,” Oxford coach Jim Presnell said.
“But we enjoyed the competition. It brings out the best in us when we come run against the county schools because the kids know each other and it’s kind of bragging rights.”
There was plenty to boast about once the final figures were tabulated. The Yellow Jackets placed first with 271 points to best Anniston (136). Piedmont (71) was third and White Plains and Pleasant Valley tied for fourth with 44 points.
The Lady Yellow Jackets did the same with 222 points, 38 points better than Anniston. Piedmont was third with 79 points while Donoho finished fourth with 53 points followed by Pleasant Valley (36).
“It’s a good springboard for us for the second half of our season,” Presnell said. “This is the fourth meet in a row we’ve won. So, we think we’ve got a little momentum building up toward sectionals. I told our kids, ‘We’ve got two phases of our season. We have pre-County and we have post-County.”
Oxford senior Dominique Williams had a huge day for the Yellow Jackets, placing first in the 100-meter dash (11.12), long jump (20-08.75) and triple jump (42-10). Also finishing in first-place for Oxford’s boys were Jerome Foreman (400), Jacob Schwyn (800), Alec Young (1,600 and 3,200), Monte Bass (110 hurdles and 300 hurdles), Conner McCall (pole vault) and Judge Stringer (discus).
Pleasant Valley’s Austin Tate won the high jump, clearing 5’7 and White Plains’ Logan Giddens’ won the boys javelin with a throw of 145 feet.
Oxford’s girls were led by senior Jasmine Newell and sophomore Cori Green. Newell won county titles in the 100 and 300 hurdles with times of 17.42 and 51.73 respectively as well as the high jump with a leap of 4.10. She also ran a leg on the 400-meter relay team which placed first. Green took first in the 800 (2:42.31), 1,600 (5:53.67) and 3,200 (13:17.23), Jasmine Bowie (12.69) won the 100 and Jessica Stringer (102-05) won the girls discus for the Yellow Jackets as well.
Oxford’s girls also won the 400, 1,600 and 3,200-meter relays
It may have been Oxford’s meet but Anniston definitely had its moments, particularly senior Andre Patton. A false start kept him out of contention for the title in the 100.
He bounced back, running a 22.39 to place first in the 200 in a field that included Oxford’s Trae Elston, an Ole Miss football signee, and Racean Thomas, one of the nation’s top running backs in the Class of 2014.
“I knew that they were talking about them being the fastest guys out here,” Patton said. “I just had to go out and show them that they could be beat.”
Patton made it a point to shake each one of the anchors hands before they ran in the 1,600-meter relay, the meet’s final event. By the end of the race, everyone, opponents included, was dapping him up.
The Bulldogs were in second when he was handed the baton and Oxford’s Monte Bass had a 10 to 15 meter lead on him. Patton made up the ground, passing Bass near the end of the curve on his way to the finish line.
The Bulldogs relay team also consisted of Frederick Jordan, Damonte Miller and L.J. Heard.
Anniston’s Isaiah Riggins won the shot put with a throw of 44-08.
Fredricka Jordan (200), Jasmine Heard (400) Carsheara Curry (triple jump) and Quanetria Bolton (shot put) all took home first-place medals for the Lady Bulldogs.
Jacksonville’s Mallory McGuire won the javelin with a throw of 96.09. Piedmont’s BreAnna Thompson won the long jump with a leap of 16.5 feet.
Now, the Bulldogs coached by Bruce Hancock, Lisa Howard, Tracy Brazier, Joseph Jankoski and James Brazier will look to improve as sectionals approach at the end of the month.
“We did exceptionally well today. I was very proud of their performance because this is their third track meet,” said Howard, who coaches the girls. “We had some canceled because of weather and other circumstances and we had a couple (runners) who have just come out of rehab and therapy.”
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.