Track and Field Blog: Top meets this week, Grady’s Coburn takes early 800 showdown

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Top meets this week. Track and field fans have a chance to see hundreds of the state’s top athletes this weekend as two of the most competitive meets of the early season will take place Friday and Saturday.

The 2012 Coaches Invitational, hosted by Pope High School, will be held at Georgia Tech’s George C. Griffin Track, Friday and Saturday, while the 16th annual Roswell Rotary Relays will take place Saturday at Roswell High School. The Roswell meet will feature 24 teams and athletes like North Cobb’s Martez Hester, who has the fastest 400 meter time in the state thus far at 47.45 seconds, which is the fourth best time nationally. Hester has signed to play football at Ball State.

At Georgia Tech, more than 60 high schools will compete in a meet that will feature several college atheles as well. Events begin Friday morning. Among the top high school performers expected to compete are Kell junior Kendell Williams, who has the nation’s second fastest time in the 100 meter hurdles (13.86).

Grady’s Coburn takes early season 800 meter showdown. The much anticipated 800 meter race between three of the state’s top performers in the event at last week’s Grady Invitational fizzled a bit when Westlake senior Thomas Miller ran the 200 and 400 meters instead. However, Grady senior Zane Coburn and Druid Hills junior Andrew Whetten went toe-to-toe with Coburn pulling away in a time of 1:56.61, while Whetten clocked a 1:59.30. Coburn improved his time to 1:54.67 last weekend at the Eagle’s Landing Chik-fil-A Invitational. It is the fourth fastest time in the country.

State’s fastest. Two athletes are staking an early claim to the title “State’s Fastest Man and Woman.” Grayson senior Jasmine Abrams has the fastest time in Georgia in both the 100 and 200 meters at 11.93 and 24.60, respectively. Jadarius West of Drew has the boys’ fastest times in both events at 10.64 in the 100 meters and 21.54 in the 200 meters. West has signed to play football at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.

Morrow features two of state’s best. The Morrow program that produced one of the top runners currently at Georgia, Waymon Storey, has two more standouts this season. Seniors Ayrian Evans and Adolphus Gray are ranked second and eighth, respectively, in the 400 meters. Evans’ best of 47.95 is the ninth best time in the country. Gray’s best is 49.75.

Region 2AAAAA rivals still close. The M.L. King-Westlake rivalry, which began in the 2010 state championship meet when both school’s 1,600 meter relay teams – seeded No. 1 and 2 at the time – were disqualified when two of their runners got tangled up with each other, is still hot. Their 400 meter relay teams are ranked first and second in the state, with MLK posting a 47.73 while Westlake has run 47.92. Both times rank in the top 15 in the nation. Last season, Westlake beat out MLK for the region title, but MLK won the Class AAAAA championship.

Distance kings and queens. Here are the top five girls and boys 1,600 and 3,200 meter runners in the state: 1,600 meter girls – Sahara Fletcher, Westminster (5:06.46); Alex Cameron, Dunwoody (5:09.97); Rachel Thorne, Alpharetta (5:12.00); Caroline Kissel, Brookwood (5:13.06) and Lauren Kelly, Peachtree Ridge (5:13.53) … 1,600 boys – Kevin Mills, Peachtree Ridge (4:23.14); Paul McNeil, St. Pius (4:24.30); Calvin Tirrell, St. Pius (4:25.19); Drew Vander Wood, Brookwood (4:26.14) and Matt Barudin, Brookwood (4:26.80) … 3,200 girls – Marcie Merriman, Lassiter (11:08.95), Cameron (11:19.67); Annie Kelly, Milton (11:20.01); Lindy Long, Landmark Christian (11.23.91) and Kelly (11:31.09) … 3,200 boys – Sid Vaughn, Lakeside-Evans (9:27.96); Eric Westog, Mill Creek (9:33.90); Austin Sprague, St. Pius (9:35.65); Coburn (9:35.84) and Brad Hort, McIntosh (9:38.93).

16 comments Add your comment

Johnny Too Good

March 13th, 2012
4:59 pm

Where do you get the your stats from? not saying theyre incorrect, just curious

Camden74

March 13th, 2012
6:41 pm

I feel the need for……………………………… SPEED! :-)

FJ

March 13th, 2012
9:27 pm

Johnny, go to ga.milesplit.com for stats

S. Thomas Coleman

March 13th, 2012
10:31 pm

@Johnny: FJ is correct. Ga.milesplit.com is an awesome site. But coaches and parents also send me tips. Fell free to do so yourself. Thanks for reading.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Bruce

March 14th, 2012
8:53 am

Metro Atlanta is a national hotspot for track and field. I appreciate the coverage. Correction: “Sahara Fletcher” runs for Westminster High School.

2000 DeKalb Defensive Player of the Year

March 14th, 2012
9:08 am

Coach Franklin leaving Tucker is a major blow to DeKalb County Football!

S. Thomas Coleman

March 14th, 2012
10:43 am

@Bruce: Thanks for the correction on Sahara’s name. She also won the XC title, I recall. Nice young lady.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

March 14th, 2012
10:44 am

@2000: You are correct. Coach Stephens is one of the best in Georgia. Look for Lamar County to win a state title in two or three seasons.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Johnny Too Good

March 14th, 2012
12:21 pm

@Coleman, do you check the south carolina and florida milesplits? or sydexsports?
alot of the southeast schools have meets in other states too. camden and charlton counties, effingham, screven and savannah schools, also the augusta and columbus schools

S. Thomas Coleman

March 15th, 2012
1:21 am

@Johnny: No, because anytime a Georgia high school runner posts one of the fastest times or distances in an event, he/she is automatically placed on the Georgia Milesplit page. But I may check those pages to see if any of the deep south Georgia teams have been running in meets in those states and just haven’t posted great times/distances yet. I’ll do the same for the north Georgia teams by checking Tennessee and North Carolina, as well as Alabama for the west Georgia schools. That should cover everyone!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Trojan94

March 16th, 2012
2:42 am

Do anybody ever mention carrollton when it comes to track? We are the states best!

S. Thomas Coleman

March 16th, 2012
12:28 pm

@Trojan94: Yes, your program is one of the best in the state. Coach Musselwhite is as good as it gets!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

2000 Dekalb Offensive Player of the Year

March 16th, 2012
2:23 pm

good to see AJC talking about high school track and field. I think Atlanta needs more articles about track and field and milesplit is what dyestat was supposed to be in the late 90s but on a whole different level. Proud of Aryian Evans and performances thus far. Coaches Invitational is good for distance and field events, but if you want to see quality sprinting The Roswell Relays and Gary Townsend Invitational (Drew HS) are the places. You guys forgot to mention Stephenson Invitational and Morehouse Relays too this weekend.

Track & Field Fiend

March 17th, 2012
12:03 am

I am just wondering why Martez Hester, from North Cobb High School, does not get more press if he is the fastest 400m runner in the state and the 4th fastest 400m runner in the nation…Just curious….

2000 Dekalb Offensive Player of the Year

March 18th, 2012
11:03 am

I have to stand corrected with the Coaches Invitational. those times were way fast

Trojan56

March 19th, 2012
7:38 am

What do you mean, “one of the best”. Carrollton has the premier track and field program in the state of Georgia. No other team can even come close to matching our numbers. I would love to see a feature article on our track and field program. The numbers are literally unbelievable. We’ve won 27 state championships and more region championships than I can count, which at one point was 25 or 26 consecutive.