Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Sir Paul Jones was finished for the day. He had won Region 1-AAA titles in the high jump, and destroyed the field in the 110 and 300 hurdles, and just for good measure he ran the anchor legs on both of Monroe's title-winning relay teams.

And all he wanted to do is say thank you.

"This is for my coach, my school, my grandmother (Lula Spurlin who passed away last week) and most of all I want to thank my father for making me the runner I am today,'' said Sir Paul, whose father, Paul Jones, helps coach Monroe's boys track & field team, which blew away the field Wednesday at Hugh Mills.

Monroe scored a staggering 183 points to win the Region 1-AAA title and now is on its way to try to defend its Class AAA state title next week in Jefferson.

Westover had a solid day and finished second with 134 points without its top sprinter, Chuck Lewis, who injured his hamstring before the regional qualifying meet last week.

"He is one of the best sprinters in Southwest Georgia,'' Westover coach Harley Calhoun said. "With him, it would have been a little tighter. We did well in the field.''

But the day ultimately belonged to Monroe, which qualified for state in 10 individual events and won both relays. The top two in each event advanced to state.

Sir Paul led the way along with Donquavious Hill, who won the 200, the 400 and ran on both winning relay teams. Hill even ran a personal best in the 200, winning the race in 21.8. He won the 400 in 48.9, just off his best of 48.6 he ran earlier this year.

Sir Paul didn't come close to any personal records. He didn't have to. He won the 110 hurdles in 14.47 and Monroe's Larry Bellamy was second at 15.50. Sir Paul, who owns the second fastest time in the entire country in the 300 this year (36.66) -- that's right, throughout all of America, not just Georgia. -- won the region title in that event in 40.28, which was far ahead of Bellamy, who was second at 41.48.

"I did enough to make it to state, but when I get to state I want to be record-breaking,'' said Sir Paul, who knows the state record is 13.7 in the 110s and 36.7 in the 300 hurdles. "We want to win state. I want to do it for my grandmother, and for my coach. We didn't want to do it just for ourselves.''

Octavia Jones, who coaches both the boys and girls track teams at Monroe, will send his girls team to state today at Hugh Mills, where the girls state track & field meet has been held for the last 25 years, and his boys will make one last run next week for their coach. Octavia is expected to be approved by the Dougherty County School Board on Monday as the new football coach at Westover.

The seniors on the boys team met with the coach a few days ago.

"We went to him and told him from this point on it's all for you,'' Hill said. 'We told him everything we do is for him.''

Jones said Wednesday he got teary-eyed at the meeting.

"This senior group is real special to me,'' he said. "They have four words they say to me all the time: 'We got you coach.' And when they came to me and told me they wanted to win it for me, it was real special. I consider myself a pretty tough guy, but I got a little emotional. It got to me.''

Then just for a final touch, Monroe's 4x400 relay team -- the last event of the region meet -- set a school record, winning in 3:14. Benjamin Dunaway, Hill, Frederick Polite and Sir Paul make up that relay team. Dominique Reid, Polite, Hill and Sir Paul won the 4x100 relay in 42.12.

Now there's a state title in front of Monroe.

"We were regional runner-ups last year, and we went on to win the state,'' Octavia Jones said. "We weren't worried about not winning the region last year because we got all the people in we wanted to get in, and we did the same (Wednesday).

"Now we just have to perform and have a little luck.''

Monroe also qualified Johnny Moore, who won the discus, and had second-place finishes from Anthony Shurtan (discus) and Reid (100).

Westover went 1-2 in the pole vault as Dolphurs Hayes won at 10-feet and Alex Donnan was second at 9-1. Westover had second-place finishes from Dontrivious Ousley (discus), Goldwyn Redding (triple jump), Greg Thome (3,200 run) and Jeremy Bonner (800-meter run).