ALBANY -- It's over.
Really over for Tony Zenon, who said one final farewell to Deerfield-Windsor and his unforgettable high school sports career Saturday afternoon.
And Zenon said goodbye the only way he knows how: by running away from everyone in sight. Zenon didn't just win the Class AAA 100- and 200-meter dashes on the final day the GISA State Track & Field Championships at Hugh Mills Stadium, he made a statement every time he walked on the track.
Then he walked off with class.
"It was a good day,'' said Zenon, who also anchored DWS' winning 4x100 relay team, though it wasn't enough to lead the Knights to their season straight team crown. "But it doesn't feel good, because I wanted us to win the (team) title. Unfortunately, we didn't do it. A few points here or there...''
He held nothing back in his final appearance.
Just look at the way Zenon ran the final leg of the 4x100. He took the baton well behind the leader, then quickly made up ground with his initial burst, before tearing down the track to win the race.
"I don't know how far behind I was when I got the baton," Zenon said. "All I could see was the finish line.''
Zenon finishes like few athletes anywhere, whether on the football field, where he will soon be running the ball at Georgia Tech, or the track, where he was clearly the top athlete of the three-day state meet.
By the time the meet was over, Zenon was the high point man for the second consecutive year in Class AAA, where he scored a total of 30 1/2 points by himself. Twenty of those came in the 100 and 200, which he won easily, blowing away the competition in 11:15 in the 100 and 22.78 in the 200.
Zenon finished third in the long jump Friday, and he finished his day and career Saturday running the second leg of DWS' 4x400 relay. Just like the 4x100 race, he once again took the baton well behind the leader, then busted his way around the track to give Deerfield the lead. The Knights ended up finishing second in the race to George Walton, which barely edged Deerfield for the Class AAA boys team title, 97 to 88 1/2 -- a mere 8 1/2 points.
"It hurts,'' Zenon said of the close loss for the team state title. "I was motivated to come out and run my hardest.''
Then he stopped, realizing it was all over.
"I want to remember these days,'' he said of his prolific high school career. "I will never get them back.''
That's the way he left DWS. The kid who had blown into Albany in the wake of Hurricane Katrina five years ago, leaves a legacy like few at Deerfield-Windsor, rushing for more yards and touchdowns than any running back in history and tearing up the track by winning seven career titles (four individual titles and three relay titles), while also leading the Knights to the state title a year ago.
And he wanted to do it again.
"I wanted that more than anything,'' he said.
That's the way Zenon left, wanting to do even more.
"Oh man, he is an incredible kid,'' DWS boys track coach Craig Rhodes said. "He's a great athlete, but a better kid. He's something else. He's special. You don't get many Tony Zenons in a lifetime. Maybe one.''
"He's a giant, just a giant,'' Rhodes added.
It was a tough day for DWS, which came close to defending its boys title. The 4x100 relay team of Justin Webb, Davis Moore, Kh'ron McClain and Zenon set the tone for the day by winning the initial race, and Moore followed that up with a third-place finish in the 400. Webb scored points in three more events, finishing third in the 110 hurdles and seventh in the 200 meter dash.
However, Webb -- the defending champ in the 300 hurdles -- was on his way to his second straight state title in the event when he fell after hitting the final hurdle. He scrambled to his feet with a look of horror and disbelief and managed to still finish fifth.
"I felt so bad for him,'' Rhodes said. "He was trying so hard. You could see the look on his face.''
Even if Webb had won the race, DWS still would have fallen short of the overall title. It was neck-and-neck all three days with George Walton, which has had many state title showdowns with Deerfield this season, including the state championship football game, Final Four in basketball and most recently last week in tennis.
DWS' 4x400 relay team of Casey Rhodes, Zenon, Taylor Withers and Moore ran a brilliant race to finish second to give the Knights their final eight points.
"We had some highs and lows,'' Rhodes said. "I knew it was going to be tight, and it lived up to the billing. Our kids gave it everything, and we walk out of here (Saturday) knowing we left everything on the track.''
The DWS girls finished seventh with 42 points. First Presbyterian Day (120 1/2 points) won its final GISA meet because the school is moving to the GHSA ranks next year.
DWS' Kelly Conway ended a remarkable career with a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter run. Conway ends her career at DWS with 10 individual state titles.
"Ten is a great number,'' Conway said. "I was so fortunate to win so many during my career. I'm looking forward to running in college (at Clemson), but I've had a great ride here. I'll always remember my great coaches, and all the fans in Albany being supportive of me. There are always so many fans here at Hugh Mills. You get such an adrenaline rush running here in front of them.''
DWS' Amber Young was eighth in the 100-meter dash, and Ori Arroyo was eighth in the 300 hurdles. Southland's Kevin Greene finished third in the 100-meter dash, and Southland's Mary Catherine Calcutt was eighth in the 3,200.
CLASS AA: EAGLES STAR BROWN OVERCOMES INJURY, LEADS 4x100 TEAM TO STATE TITLE:
Sherwood Christian's Dontavious Brown came back from a hamstring injury in the region meet and torched the track on the final leg of the 4x100 relay team to highlight SCA's day as Brown won it for his team in a photo finish.
"That was amazing to watch,'' said SCA track coach Mark Meagher, whose daughter, Katie, finished second in the 3,200 meters on Saturday after winning the state title a year ago in the same event. "He worked with our trainer and came back from the hamstring, and then we won that race with that great finish.''
The relay team of Phillip English, Montrell King, Derinique Daniel and Brown, who ran in only one event because he suffered the injury early in the region meet, combined to give SCA a fourth-place team finish with 59 points.
"We're ecstatic over the fourth-place finish,'' Mark Meagher said. "Last year, we scored 15 points.''
English was third in the 200 and sixth in the 100, and King was fourth in the 400 for SCA's boys. Abby Divirgilis (fifth in the 100 and seventh in the 400), Princess Williams (eighth in the 400) and Lily Divirgilis (fifth in the 300 hurdles), along with Katie Meagher, who was second in the 1,600 and 3,200, helped SCA finish seventh with 42 points.
Southwest Georgia Academy's Parker Adams was sixth in the 110 hurdles, and Lee Weston was eighth in the 400, and the SGA boys 4x400 relay team -- Dylon Driver, Nile Knapp, Taylor Tabb and Weston -- finished second.