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).