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WESTOVER RELAYS NOTEBOOK: Lee County's Ebbets shines; Westover boys, girls both take second

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Looking for the best run and jump from the 7th annual Westover Relays?

He might not have set any track records, but someone should have had a stopwatch running when 53-year-old Rich Ebbets made a mad dash down the bleachers, leaped over the cement wall on the track, and then hugged his son.

Caleb Ebbets, a senior at Lee County, had just set the meet record in the pole vault, soaring over the bar at 16-feet, one inch to not only shatter the old meet record of 13-feet-9, but he recorded the sixth best pole vault in the nation this season.

"People in the stands don't realize how big that was,'' said Rich Ebbets, who was still smiling and a little winded after his impromptu run onto the track. "That 16-1 is huge because all the major colleges are looking at him, and they'll see that 16-1.''

It was a big day for the family, because Rich's daughter and Caleb's sister, Holly, a freshman at Lee County, won the girls pole vault title with a vault of 9-6.

No, mom and dad don't pole vault. Just the kids. Caleb started when he was a freshman at Lee County after thinking his future in track would be in the high jump.

"There were some juniors on the team and they wanted someone else to take up the pole vault,'' Caleb said. "So one day at practice they handed me the pole and said 'Come over here and try this.' It's something I always thought would be cool to do.''

Lee County doesn't have a pole vault pit so when Ebbets was a freshman he would come to Albany and use the pit at Albany State. Now he and his sister travel an hour and a half three days a week to Fitzgerald, where they are trained by former pole vaulting world champion Charlie Polhamus.

"I like it, but not as much as he does,'' said Holly, who took up the sport and learned first-hand from her older brother.

Caleb has come a long way since last year when his best vault was 13-6, but he thinks there are new heights ahead of him -- and with the region and state meets coming up he is peaking (no pun intended) at the right time.

"I was excited, real excited, said Caleb, who stole the crowd at Hugh Mills Stadium during his record breaking vault -- and he didn't miss 16-5 by much. "My goal at the beginning of the year was 16 feet. Hopefully, I'll get 16-5 before the season ends.''

Lee County's boys finished with 31 points, and two individuals were responsible for 30 of those. Ebbets scored 10 points and Lee County's Jacob Kennedy won the 1,600 meters (4:41.6) and the 3,200 meters (10:23.65) to score 20 by himself.

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WESTOVER SHINES:

Westover's Ericka Taylor, just a freshman, scored 20 points by herself, outscoring three entire teams that competed. Taylor won the 1,600 meter (5:37.94) and 3,200 (12:28.66) meter runs to help Westover finish second in the girls meet, but wants even more from the Westover Relays.

"I really want to set a record in this event, because it's the Westover Relays,'' Taylor said. "I want to run well in every meet, but especially at this one."

That's good news for Westover, because with three more years in front of her, it's hard to imagine Taylor leaving without at least one of two meet records.

Westover's boys will return its entire 4x800 relay team that set a meet record Friday, winning in 8:36.37, eclipsing the old record of 8:36.43. The team -- Cole Koster, Jason Taylor, Jerry Bonner and Greg Thorne -- are all juniors. Koster and Thorne finished second and third, respectively, in the 3,200 meter run and Thorne was third in the 1,600.

Westover's boys saw Chuck Lewis finish second in the 200-meter dash and fifth in the 100. Derrick Akins was fourth in the discus, Goldwyn Redding was fourth in the triple jump, and Dolphurs Hayes was fourth in the pole vault.

The Westover girls scored early and often in the field events. Clennysha Jones finished second in the high jump. Alysia Potts was second and Kayla Kirkland was fourth in the pole vault, and Ardrianna Taylor was third and Tiffany Harris was fifth in the discus.

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BURLEY RE-EMERGES:

Remember Tiona Burley, Mitchell County's All-sSate basketball player who led her team to the Elite Eight and then was the MVP of the North-South All-Star Game?

Well, Burley won the discus for Mitchell County on Friday afternoon with a throw of 113-feet-7.

Mitchell County's Ashiea Davis won the long jump (17-4) and finished second in the 100 meter dash and second in the 200 meter dash, finishing behind Monroe's Maikea Davis in both sprints.

Albany's Samaria Roberson was second in the shot put (37-7).

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MEET RECORDS:

Several meet records fell, including Monroe's girls' record in the 4x400 relay, Carver's girls' meet record in the 4x200 relay. Bainbridge's boys' record the 4x100 relay, Warner-Robbins' boys meet record in the 4x200 relay and Peach County's boys' record in the 4x400 relay.