JEFFERSON — Albany High came into the GHSA Class AA boys state track & field meet with one of the fastest 4x100 relay teams in the state. But the Indians didn’t get to show it Friday.
The unit normally consists of seniors Jeconiah Jackson and Jerrod Williams, and juniors Greg Williams and Jauron Brown, and the quartet had the second-fastest time in the classification entering the state meet. But Tuesday, school administrators informed head coach Jessica Thomas and assistant coach Ralph Wilson that Brown would not be allowed to participate because of a suspension he had received earlier this month for a disciplinary infraction.
The team’s primary alternate, Kalis Armstrong, suffered an ankle injury and was not available Friday, so junior Emannul Byrd, a high jumper who placed 11th in the event Thursday, was inserted.
The team failed to qualify for Saturday’s finals.
“(Brown) was hurt by (the decision)” Wilson said. “But it’s a good lesson for him. When you do something, you have to pay the consequences. But you hate that it had to come to that and hurt the team. But they did as well as they could do. I’m proud of them.”
JERROD WILLIAMS KEEPS HIS PROMISE: While Jerrod Williams will not be able to compete for a title in the 4x100 relay, he will be able to run in the 800-meter finals today. His time of 2:01.68 seconds is the fifth-fastest time and the best time of his career.
Williams said his times began to improve three weeks ago when coaches changed his racing strategy.
“It’s called the pacer’s run technique,” said Williams, noting that his time has improved by three seconds since switching to the new system. “I try to run the first 200 (meters) in 30 seconds, and the next 200 meters in 30 seconds. It’s been working for me.”
Wilson said Williams worked hard get to Saturday’s final.
“He just started running last year and he didn’t make it to the final,” Wilson said. “He told me, ‘coach, I’m going to make it next year,’ and he did. He’s worked hard and I’m proud of him.”
WESTOVER ON TOP ... FOR NOW: After a stellar day in the field events Thursday, which included two championships — Dontrevious Ousley in the discus and Brandon Hudson in the high jump — Westover enters the final day of competition of the Class AAA state meet in first place with 40 points.
But two-time defending champion Carrollton is looming, sitting in third place with 26 points. Westover has one chance to score today with hurdler Jackie Childs in the 110-meter hurdles, while Carrollton has four opportunities in the 110-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles, 200 meters and 400-meter relay.
Westover A.D. and assistant track coach Harley Calhoun hopes the lead the Patriots have built can hold up.
“We hope we can get six or eight points from Jackie in the hurdles and we’ll see what happens,” Calhoun said. “We were hoping to get more points (Friday), but it didn’t work out. But the good thing is that we already have our 40 points. (Carrollton) has to catch us. We’ll just have to sit back and hope they don’t perform as well as they did today.”
The favorite to win the Class AAA meet is Charles Drew High, which didn’t have anyone compete in the field Thursday but is loaded on the track for today’s finals.
TERRELL COUNTY SET TO MAKE STATEMENT TODAY: Terrell County has a chance to make some noise in the Class A state meet today. Terrell County is sending its 4x100 relay team (Tracy Chick, Jerkerious Scott, Jatoria Jones, and Bernard Lumpkin) to today’s finals, and Scott and Lumpin both qualified for the 100-meter finals. Scott also qualified for the 200-meter finals, and Chick qualified for the 400-meter finals.
Bainbridge’s 1,600-meter relay team (Alton Miller, Rhyan Edwards, Hubert Thomas and Dontarius Jackson) ran the third fastest times (3:21.03) to qualify for the finals today, and Edwards qualified for the 400-meter run.
Calhoun County’s 1,600-meter relay team (Andrew Slaton, Clay Johnson, Keiodran Isham and Travis Hall) qualified for today’s Class A finals, and Pelham’s Marquis Copeland made it to the Class A 110-meter hurdles finals. Baconton Charter’s Bryton Wenzel qualified for the Class A 800-meter run finals.