Bearcats win boys title at Smith & Benson Relays as Samuels upsets UGA signee Scott-Wesley in 100, 200 finals

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- They soaked it in, the rain, the day, the title and more, and by the time the Bainbridge boys track team left Hugh Mills Stadium, they could have floated all the way back home after winning the 21st annual L.C. Smith & Winfred Benson Relays.

As for Shawn Samuels? He could have flown there.

He did just that on the track Saturday afternoon, beating Mitchell County's Justin Scott-Wesley in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, events that Scott-Wesley set records in at the Class AA state meet last year.

"That was my goal, to beat him. I told coach (Pat Clark) that I was going to beat him,'' said Samuels, who ran a personal best in the 100 (11.04) and then beat Scott-Wesley in a photo finish in the 200, inching ahead in 22.14 in the race of the day.

"He told me last week that he was going to do it, and he did,'' said Clark, an assistant track coach at Bainbridge. "He has been working hard and he believed he could beat him.''

Scott-Wesley, who was one of the top recruited football players in this part of the country before signing with Georgia, took the losses in stride.

"I can respect that (Samuels was gunning for me),'' Scott-Wesley said. "He ran great, but I thought I had him in the 200. I've put on some weight and I'm not running as well as I can. I've still got pretty good speed. It will come back. It's early, and I will run better.''

Scott-Wesley has added 10 pounds -- now weighing 215 -- in an attempt to get bigger and stronger for football season.

"Georgia sent me all these weight training books that tell you what to lift, when to lift and how to lift,'' he said. "I am bigger, but I'll be fine on the track, too. The weight has kind of slowed be down a little but I'll adjust to it.''

Bainbridge also had a huge day from Joseph Ausgood, who was the MVP of the boys meet after winning the 400 (50.92) and 800 (1:57.42) meter runs, and anchoring Bainbridge's second-place 4x400 relay team that ran without Samuels, who sat out with a sore leg after winning his sprints.

"This is a big meet for us to win,'' Ausgood said. "It shows us where we are at this time of the year and helps us get where we want to be.''

Bainbridge, which won its first boys state track title a year ago, wants to be back on the podium in the Class AAAA state meet again.

"I think we can do it,'' Ausgood said. "My goal is to win the 800 and 400 at state and win another team state championship. We just have to get our relay team straightened out. But this was a good day. You see a lot of good competition at this meet, and we had a good day.''

Bainbridge won the Smith & Benson Relays in 2008. The meet was rained out in 2009, and the Bearcats were second in 2010 to Carrollton, which won later went on to win the Class AAA state title.

Bainbridge scored 109 points to beat a talented team from Westover, which was second with 81 points, followed by Valdosta (79), Lowndes County (77), Thomas County Central (59), Mitchell County (43 ), Westminster (36), Brooks County (30), Albany High (29), Tift County (22 ), Lee County (20), Monroe (19 ), Jonesboro (12), Cairo (10 ) and Troup County (5).

Bainbridge's Jamar Venissee-Cosby won the high jump at 6-0, and Bainbridge got big days from Steven Crowell, who was third in the shot put, Dwayne Gurley, who was fifth in the discus, Octavious Scott, who was third in the 300 hurdles, Ryan Edwards, who was second in the 400, and Dylan Thomas, who was fifth in the 800. The biggest surprise was Rohan Gaines, who just joined the team after a long basketball season. Gaines was third in the triple jump and fourth in long jump.

"(Rohan's) going to get a lot better,'' said Larry Clark, who has been involved with Bainbridge track for more than 30 years. "This is a big meet, and this is a big stride for us (Saturday). We had a lot of kids score points for us. We have enough balance on this team that one two or three people don't perform up to their capabilities other guys make up for it.''

There was no better example of a team effort than the one Westover put together Saturday. The Patriots had just one champ, Dolphurs Hayes, who won the pole vault at 11-6, but they scored points all afternoon.

"Everyone we brought to this meet scored for us,'' Westover coach Harley Calhoun said. "We just nickel and dimed it. Taking second place at this meet is not bad. We got points where we could get them. We're ecstatic we did as well as we did.''

Calhoun's kids showed up just about everywhere. Derrick Akins and Dontrevious Ousley finished third and fourth in the discus behind TCC's Ray Drew, who won it with a toss of 179-10, while Monroe's Anthony Shurten was second (150-3). Drew, one of the top defensive linemen in the nation who has signed with Georgia, also won the shot put (51-11).

Westover also got points from Reginald Lewis, who was third in the 100. Jeremy Bonner was second in the 800 and fifth in the 400 meters. Justin Taylor finished fourth in the triple jump and fourth in the 400 meters, and Josh Mason finished third in the 3,200-meter run and fourth in the 1,600-meter run. Jackie Childs was sixth in the 110 hurdles, Dalviness Green was sixth in the triple jump, and Alex Donnan finished sixth in the pole vault.

Mitchell County got points from Scott-Wesley, Jaquan Williams, who won the long jump (21-11- ) and Anthony Brown, who was fifth in the shot put. The Eagles' 4x100-meter relay team finished second.

Lee County's Jacob Kennedy won the 1,600 (4:39.43) and 3,200-meter races (10:09) to pace the Trojans. Tim Pierce was fifth in the triple jump and Roscoe Byrd was fourth in the shot put to lead Albany High, and Larry Bellamy was fourth in the 300 hurdles to help lead Monroe, the host team.