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Westover Relays set for 9th year

Dontrevious Ousley is not only the defending Class AAA state champ in the discus, but he is ranked No. 1 in the state this spring in all classes. He has already had a throw of 186 feet and five inches heading into today's 9th annual Westover Relays. (joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com)

Dontrevious Ousley is not only the defending Class AAA state champ in the discus, but he is ranked No. 1 in the state this spring in all classes. He has already had a throw of 186 feet and five inches heading into today's 9th annual Westover Relays. (joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com)

ALBANY — A year ago the Westover boys track & field team made shambles of one of the best meets of the season. They ripped apart the field and the record book, scoring a mind-boggling 170 points to literally run away with the Westover Relays.

And now they’re back.

Want To Go?

WHO: 18 boys and girls teams from around the state.

WHAT: 9th annual Westover Track & Field Relays.

WHEN: 4 p.m. today.

WHERE: Hugh Mills Stadium.

ADMISSION: $5.

So are the Westover Relays, the only track & field meet in Georgia that’s held under the lights that’s also the final showcase event of the regular season.

It’s the ninth year of a meet that has grown in stature and respect, and 18 schools will show up today at Hugh Mills Stadium, where the field events begin at 4 p.m., while the running events will run right into the night.

Westover’s boys and Monroe’s girls are favored to win the meet again, and both teams are expected to leave the field with a ton of points.

“We scored 170 points last year,’’ said Westover athletic director Harley Calhoun, who coaches the Patriots and Lady Patriots along with head coach Lewis Smith. “We’re not going to set any meet records in scoring this year, but we’re going to see if we can win it again. I don’t know what we will score, but we feel we have enough to win it.’’

The meet includes all the city teams (Westover, Albany High, Dougherty and Monroe) and other area schools such as Lee County, Randolph-Clay and Bainbridge.

It could be a dogfight in the boys meet between Westover, Bainbridge and Valdosta. It might not be close in the girls meet.

Monroe’s girls, who will be trying to win their fourth consecutive Class AAA state title in a few weeks, are the big favorites in the girls meet. The Lady Tornadoes have won the last three Westover titles, and with Mimieux Land back for her senior season, there’s no reason to think Monroe won’t win again tonight.

Land, who has won the state title in the long jump, triple jump and high jump the last two years and has already signed a scholarship to attend Clemson, already owns two Westover Relay records (high jump and triple jump), and if she’s healthy she could pick up 30 points for Monroe before the sun goes down.

“We feel pretty comfortable going in,’’ said Monroe assistant coach Paul Jones. “We scored 144 points last week in the Macon meet and won by more than 40 points, and Mimi scored 35 and was the top girl in the meet. Valdosta is going to be here, and they’re tough. They have a strong team and they beat us in a meet earlier this year by about seven points, but we didn’t have all of our girls at that meet.’’

Monroe has two young hurdlers who are on their way up. Chakera Fletcher, a sophomore, is ranked No. 5 in the state in the Class AAA 300-meter hurdles and Nydesha McKinley, a freshman, is ranked No. 7 in the same event.

“Monroe is the favorite in the girls meet,’’ Calhoun said. “They get so many points in the field. Mimi is great and they’ve got a real good team. Alexandria Childs won the state title in the discus last year and also scores in the shot put, so you’re looking at her and Mimi coming out of the field with 42-to-45 points just off of those two girls.’’

Westover’s boys are loaded in the field.

Dontrevious Ousley is not only the defending Class AAA state champ in the discus, but he is ranked No. 1 in the state this spring in all classes. He has already had a throw of 186 feet and five inches.

Westover’s Derrick Akins is ranked No. 6 in the state in all classes in the discuss, and Westover’s Martin McKenny is in the top 10 in all classes in the shot put. Those three can rack up a lot of points early, and Calhoun expects Dolphurs Hayes to win the pole vault.

“We hope to be coming out of the field and going onto the track with the lead,’’ Calhoun said.

Lee County’s Holly Ebbets may have a chance to break the meet record in the girls pole vault of 11-feet, six inches set in 2006. Her brother Caleb, who is now at Georgia on a track scholarship, shattered the boys pole vault record two years ago, clearing 16 feet and one inch.

Albany High’s boys are also expected to do well today. Led by Roscoe Byrd and Jontavious Morris (shot put and discus), Tim Pierce (long jump), and Emmanul Byrd (high jump), the Indians appear to be ready to make a run at the Class AA state title next month.

This is the final tune-up before the postseason, which is one more reason this meet carries so much weight. Region meets for both boys and girls begin Tuesday with the finals Thursday.

“We will know right now what we’ve got,’’ Jones said. “The region prelims are Tuesday.’’

That’s part of the charm and draw of the meet.

“This is the last chance teams have before the region meet,’’ Calhoun said. “It’s the Westover Relays. We have built a tradition with this meet over the last nine years. It’s a good feeling to hear people talking about this meet, talking about coming to the Westover Relays.

“It’s going to be great weather, and we’re going to be under the lights. We hope we get a big crowd to come out and see these kids.’’