Is Miller Grove’s Kenneth Gilstrap the state’s fastest man?


Northview's tennis team celebrates four state championships in a row (Courtesy of Shannon Hacker)

Northview celebrates after winning four state tennis championships in a row

Miller Grove’s Kenneth Gilstrap perhaps earned the title as the “state’s fastest man” at the GHSA track championships Saturday in Jefferson.

Gilstrap led the Lithonia school to the Class AAAA championship by sweeping the 100 and 200 meters. A day earlier, Gilstrap posted a 10.37 in a qualifying heat to barely miss breaking the seemingly untouchable state record of 10.33 in the 100.

“I feel like I’m the fastest man in Georgia, and I feel like I proved it,” Gilstrap said. “I didn’t get the record, but that wasn’t my aim. My goal was to help us win the team title, to make our school and community proud. We did that.”

The 5-foot 9-inch, 175-pound Gilstrap will run track and play football at Middle Tennessee State next year. He won five medals Saturday, including two as member of Miller Grove’s 1,600- and 400-meter relay teams.

In Class AAAAA, Parkview’s Ethan Kasson won the 400 with a blistering time of 47.43 seconds to lead the Panthers to a dominating performance, scoring twice as many points as runner-up Mill Creek. The other team champions were Warren County (A), Westminster (AA), and Monroe (AAA).


The Northview-Walton showdown in the state’s largest classification (AAAAA) was decided by the No. 2 doubles match, with Northview hanging on for its fourth consecutive state championship.

With the team score tied 2-2 and the other matches finished, players and fans from both undefeated powerhouses gathered around closely to see Northview’s Matt Hacker and Taishi Nogata rally with a 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 win over Walton’s Drew McIntrye and P.J. Verstraete.

“We had that first set and gave it up, but we knew we could do it in three ,” Hacker said. “It was fun playing with everybody watching, and our teammates rushed the court after the final point.”

Northview (21-0) won without one of its best players, Tulane-bound Trevor Getz, who was sidelined with a shoulder injury. Northview’s Matt Smiley and Andrew Goodwin won at singles, while Walton’s two team points were earned by Mark Verstraete and the doubles team of Alex Doherty and Sean Foley.

“To me, it was the two best teams in the state,” Northview first-year coach Robert Hunter said. “Everybody was hanging out every point there at the end, and we were fortunate to win.”

It was the first loss of the year for Walton (16-1). “It was full of drama, and I think Northview’s experience prevailed at the end,” Walton coach John Evans said.

In Class AA, the Blessed Trinity girls defeated Greater Atlanta Christian 3-0, while the Westminster boys edged Blessed Trinity 3-2. In Class A, the Athens Academy boys won 3-0 over Walker, and the Brookstone girls slipped by Walker 3-2.


Lovett’s Bo Anderson had four goals and four assists in a 16-5 victory over Harrison for the boys’ all-classification championship. After the final buzzer, the team ran onto to the field to hug goalie Austin Heaton, who had 20 saves. Heaton’s mother died of cancer just before the season.

“This year started with a funeral and ended with a state championship,” Lovett coach Jim Buczek said. “It was real good to see how the kids care about each other.”

Meanwhile, the Chattahoochee girls pulled off a 9-7 upset over four-time defending champion Milton.


St. Pius forward Zach Elstad had a pair of goals in a 3-0 win over West Hall for the Class AAA championship. St. Pius scored three times in the first half, with Stephen McGill heading in a goal within the game’s opening two minutes. In Class AAAAA, Marist’s William Raffety scored the game winner in a 2-1 win over McIntosh. The other championship games were played late Saturday night.

15 comments Add your comment


May 10th, 2009
9:07 am

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May 10th, 2009
10:14 am

congrats to all the state champs.


May 11th, 2009
10:38 pm

Gilstrap has proven that he is the State’s Fastest Man. Congratulations to Coach Bailey, Coach Upshur and the Miller Grove Wolverines Track and Field Team. Two State Championships in one academic year, that is a phenomenal accomplishment.


May 11th, 2009
10:41 pm

GREAT JOB WOLVERINES! Hats off to Coach Bailey and Coach Upshur. Gilstrap has proven that he undeniably the Fastest High School Athlete in the State of Georgia.


May 12th, 2009
10:15 am

Gilstrap, hands down, is the fastest man in the state. Middle Tennessee State got a steal when they signed the phenom. Shame on all of the major D-I’s for for missing out on such talent. The best Athlete in the state in state is his teammate Stephen Hill. The Georgia Tech football signee was All-State football, basketball and track; was a cataylst on state champion basketball and track teams this year. In addition, he finished career with Five Gold Medals (Long Jump (2), 300H and 4×400 (2)). I think that’s a story within itself.


May 12th, 2009
11:30 am

That is an awesome acheivement. But AJC don’t forget that there is also the GISA classification in Georgia as well, and those athletes deserve coverage as well! They held their state meet in Albany April 29-May 1 and I saw zero coverage of those fine athletes.


May 12th, 2009
1:55 pm

Does anyone at the AJC knows that Highschool baseball is played in Georgia and Highschool spring football practices are underway at the majority of schools around the state……..Where is the coverage?

D-I secondary coach

May 12th, 2009
2:24 pm

Gilstrap is just fast,he has zero awareness in pass coverage.


May 12th, 2009
11:02 pm

Wow D-1 Secondary coach, that is a very shallow comment. We are talking about the tremendous accomplishments this kid made on the track this year, and you come back to bash him? Just shows just how shallow your thought process really is.

To D-I secondary coach

May 13th, 2009
7:52 am

D-I coach, how many kids that are recruited have ‘great awareness?’ If you are a good coach, the awareness will come and I beg to differ that he has no awareness. He finished his career with about nine picks, meaning you have to have some awareness to do that? He has potential and game-breaking speed. Oh by the way, everyone is calling him now, including your institution I bet.


May 13th, 2009
5:47 pm

Gilstrap is the fastest man in Georgia and a big play athlethe on the football field. For all who dont think so just wait and see he will make a believer out of you. Just wait to 2012 when he get draft and run in the olympics.

football time

June 15th, 2009
5:15 am

AJC, lets get with it! This blog has been sitting here since the beginning of May. Football is about to start and we all know that HS football is huge in the state. Where is our coverage? AJC don’t let us down in this area!!!!!

D-I secondary coach

June 30th, 2009
5:39 pm

fast kid,not really a football player.
He runs a 10.3 100meter and signed with Middle Tenn …should tell you a little.


July 27th, 2009
6:20 pm

I expect a better comment from a “D-1 secondary coach” than that. Why don’t you go over and see who Middle Tennessee State signed before making an idiotic comment like that. I would expect a little more knowledge from a “D-1 secondary coach”.

trouble funk

August 10th, 2009
1:26 pm

Ken Gilstrap is a fine athlete from a fine family and I hope he does well at Mid Tennessee State. He also proved that he is the fastest in the state and I look forward to seeing him perform in the near future. We sure miss him at TCHS