ORLANDO -- Rather than throw caution to the brisk winds and wet track, Monroe track & field star Sir Paul Jones played spectator rather than competitor in Saturday's Golden South Classic.
But as he watched from the bleachers, Jones said the 4 -hour road trip to Florida was still worthwhile because he got to see one of his fellow star teammates shine.
Mimieux Land won the girls high jump, long jump and triple
jump in a postseason
invitational that drew some of the top athletes from the South and the Bahamas.
That duplicated her performance from the GHSA Class AAA state meet.
"I got to see her doing good so I wasn't as mad," Jones said. "I still enjoyed it, watching
And Land said she had a blast, despite a soggy meet that had two long rain delays.
She was happy with her performances and seemingly even more pumped when professional sprinter Tyson Gay -- America's record holder in the 100-meter dash -- whirled around as he was being whisked away from the track during a rain delay and made her the last person he signed an autograph for. He smiled and scratched his name onto the Golden South shirt Land was given as part of her meet gift package.
"This is all exciting," Land said. "The appearances by famous athletes like that, the gifts, the big medals."
Jones' father, Paul Jones, coach of Albany's Ruff Riders Track Club, said he made the call to hold his son out of hurdles races.
"We're holding him back because it's so wet," Dad said. "We don't want him to get hurt. This is going to be the biggest summer he's ever had."
Coach Jones said his son competes in a Georgia qualifier for the USA Track and Field Junior Nationals next weekend, and will go to California for the Golden West Invitational and to North Carolina for the New Balance Outdoor Nationals later in June.
National leader Eddie Lovett of Palm Beach (Fla.) Lakes won the 110-meter high hurdles in 13.86. His best is 13.46. Jones' best is 13.86.
Miami Northwestern's Roy Smith ran the nation's top time of the season (52.40) to win the 400 hurdles.
Land cleared 5-feet, 6-inches in the high jump, long jumped 18-4 and triple jumped 38-1 . She said she scratched on what would have been her first 19-foot long jump.
"I went over the (takeoff) board by like a toe. Heartbreaker," Land said.
Another Ruff Riders runner, Makiea Davis, was second in the girls 400 and ran a 56.50 prelim time.