Track and Field: Athens Christian, Commerce, Westminster, St. Pius, Marist, McIntosh and Mill Creek win state titles

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Cold, windy, rainy conditions appearing more like February than May, made for slower than usual times at the finals of the State Track and Field Championships, Saturday in Jefferson. But there were still some notable team and individual performances at Georgia Olympics XLII:

Class AAAAAA

Mill Creek won the school’s first track and field championship, paced by a strong performance from sprinter Michael Cheeks, who won the 200 meters (22.01 seconds), placed third in the 400 meters (48.49) and anchored the Hawks’ title-winning 1,600 meter relay team (3:24.22). Cheeks, a senior, won the High Point Performer award for Class AAAAAA … Allan Frey of Campbell earned the meet’s Outstanding Performing Award by registering the best overall times in both the 110-meter (14.46) and 300-meter hurdles (37.84).

Class AAAAA

McIntosh won its first championship as well, on the strength of Brooks Hardy’s win in the shot put (144-feet, 8 inches) and third place finish in the discus (49-1), Brad Hort’s victory in the 1,600 meters (4:19.62), and a win by Taylor Huntley in the 800 meters (1:55.47). The Chiefs defeated Cedar Shoals by just two points, 40-38 …. Josh Whitener of North Paulding won the High Point Performance award, winning the shot pu.t (54-08.50) and placing second in the discus (150-02), while his brother, Seth, took second in the discus (50-11.50).

Class AAAA

Marist dominated the field and prevented perennial favorite Carrollton from winning its third consecutive state championship. Daniel Navarro led the way with wins in the 1,600 meters (4:23.10) and 3.200 meters (9:21.20), while Kenneth Brinson won the discus (179-01) …. Kevin Williams of Monroe took home the High Point award with a fifth-place finish in the high jump (6-4), second in the triple jump (45-8) … Sophomore phenom Ryan Clark of Banneker, perhaps the state’s next great track athlete, lost his first race of the season when Demoton Boyd of Lagrange edged him in the 200 meters, 21.76 to 21.77.

Class AAA

St. Pius jumped out to a huge lead on the first day of competition on Thursday and never looked back, as Daniel Haugh won the discus (175-11) and the shot put (54-9.50), Fred Dorsey won the triple jump (45-05), and Austin Sprague (4:19.88) and Calvin Tirrell (4:25.00) finished first and second in the 1,600 meters. It was the Lions’ first title win since they won the AAAA crown in 2006 … Andrew Slanton of Sonoraville won the 100 meters (11.02) and the 110-meter hurdles (14.48) en route to taking home the High Point Award.

Class AA

Westminster, a state power in cross country, won its second track and field championship in five years as Jordan Flowers (4:24.45) and Jag Gangemi (4:28.07) finished first and third, respectively, in the 1,600 meters. Flowers also won the 3,200 meters in 9:47.96 … Darius Slayton of Greater Atlanta Christian won the 100 (11.00) and 200 meters (22.73) and took home the AA High Point Award

Class A Public

Commerce won its first track title since 1962, largely on the efforts of Dekerrio Ramsey, who won the High Point Performer Award by winning the long jump (21-1) and triple jump (44-2), and placing second in the 400 meters (50.75)

Class A Private

Athens Christian won its third consecutive title, its fourth since 2007, in dominating fashion, beating second place Landmark Christian School by more than 50 points. Jordan Pickerall won a Top Performer Award by setting a new discuss record (168-1) and winning the shot put (57-6) … Our Lady of Mercy junior Christian Coleman scored more points than any other athlete in the meet (30.50) by winning the 200 meters (22.43) and long jump (21-9), placing second in the 100 meters (11.15), and anchoring the Bobcats’ 400- and 1,600-meter relay squad.

30 comments Add your comment

Big Boy

May 5th, 2013
8:24 am

Hmmmm, lets see….obviously a private school won the class A private…but then, a private school or city school won class A, AA, AAA, AAAA…..but I’m sure that means nothing. All is fair….

Snoopy

May 5th, 2013
9:59 am

Big Boy – To pile on the “private” thinggie…. Wouldn’t any state finals be “new records”?? LOL

PS – Gwinnett dominating sports in the state??? Geez imagine that? Congrats Hawks!

GAHSFBFAN24

May 5th, 2013
10:03 am

@Big Boy, it’s not a private school thing. It’s called hard work, good coaching, and having quality athletes in all events. Track and field state championships are won in the field competitions. You have to have a balanced track program and many schools do not. Having great sprinters will not win a state championship. Go look at the stats of the events and see who won the field competitions. You have to have good pole vaulters, high jumpers, long jumpers, discus, shot put, …

S. Thomas Coleman

May 5th, 2013
1:29 pm

@GHSFBFAN24: True. Winning meets and state titles isn’t about who’s most talented or fastest. It’s more about who’s deepest. Thanks for reading and posting!

STC

Big Boy

May 5th, 2013
3:17 pm

@GAHSFBFAN24….are you trying to make this racial? I wasn’t at all. I guess you are thinking that I making my point because my school only has sprinters??? Not at all the case. But you are nuts if you don’t think that PRIVATE and/or city schools don’t have ALL the advantages in the areas you say win championships. I don’t need to look at the stats…I was there. I know who wins the field events (though the long jump is more of an athletic only event)…but the winners of the pole vault, throw events and distance events are dominated by private or city schools. It’s the same reason these school have the advantage in football and really every other sport. You are nuts again to say it’s “hard work”…are you saying public schools don’t work hard? How high and mighty of you! Of course you are correct about the coaching. Because these schools can afford to hire the top coaches and OUTSIDE trainers for their abundance of quality athletes you mention. Also of note on the issue of all those athletes is the fact that these schools can recruit all those athletes to their schools. Makes it easy to have a deep well rounded track program when you don’t have to go compete with just the kids that live in a certain geographic area. Please….

some sense

May 5th, 2013
4:51 pm

Way to go, Westminster, St. Pius, and Marist. You just added fuel to the private vs. public fire. How crass and common of you. Bad private schools.

Pat Miller

May 5th, 2013
4:54 pm

I used to work at Westminster. Many of its top athletes entered the school in kindergarten long before anyone knew what kinds of athletes they would become. They were not recruited; they actually had to compete for admission. The school doesn’t give athletic scholarships. What these students all have in common is that they are smart and can meet the school’s high academic standards.

Big Boy

May 5th, 2013
5:16 pm

Oh Pat….what all those students at Westminster have in common is RICH parents! You are talking about one of the most…if not the most wealthy school in Georgia. Sure, I bet some kids do start in kindergarten. They also probably have a private trainer and specialty coach starting in kindergarten. Hey, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with it. I’m just pointing out the facts in the situation. If a kid has wealthy parents, a private trainer, the best facilities to train in, the best equipment and a BMW to drive to practice….more power to them!

freedomfighter

May 5th, 2013
7:17 pm

Big Boy,You are the one who mentions the race card because you obviously are a racist. The more you open your big mouth on here the more foolish you look. Your screen name should be Big Mouth instead of Big Boy, you idiot.Go grab another bag of potato chips and get back on your couch with your laptop and continue running your mouth because every word that comes out of your Big Mouth is NONSENSE.

SportsTopFan(c)

May 5th, 2013
9:07 pm

CONGRATULATIONS to all the State Track and Field CHAMPIONS !!!

Mill Creek — Class AAAAAA
McIntosh — Class AAAAA
Marist Class AAAA
St. Pius Class AAA
Westminster Class AA
Commerce Class A (Public)
Athens Christian Class A (Private)

A special congratulation to all the individual winners

Sports Top Fan supports track and field.

WarEagle

May 5th, 2013
9:33 pm

@BigBoy — I can’t speak to the other classes, but Marist is the only private school in Class 4A and has been for years, and this is the first boys track & field state title for Marist ever. Won because of a great team effort on the field and on the track.. If Marist had an unfair advantage being private in this sport, you’d expect to see more than 1 title in its history. Don’t take away from the kids who worked so hard for this win. Congrats to the War Eagles!

lhsalum33

May 6th, 2013
8:05 am

Big Boy: I don’t think he was bringing race into it. He made valid points. I coach track, have for the past 5 years and ran track from rec to my first year of college. The thing that I don’t think most FANS understand is why there is a split on the single A level. There is a split because some private schools that were Single A didn’t want to move up a classification because they wanted to remain playing the level of competition they were at. Although their enrollment was more that Single A allowed, there was a clause that said private schools could play in A class. Well the public schools didn’t like how their enrollment was much larger and therefore had more students and a bigger talent pool. At one point, private schools were not as dominate is sports as they are now. That’s just fact, but as they grow and get more talent, they were more dominant. I work at a tiny school and our team consists of 30 or less on any given day, but we only have maybe 120 boys, how fair is it to play a team that has 80 kids.

GAHSFBFAN24: You made some balance points but you don’t need team depth necessarily, you just need depth in events. I took 6 girls and almost won my region. I chalk it up to good coaching but if you have some kids that have the want to, and get the best performance out of them, good things happen

Big Boy

May 6th, 2013
8:06 am

@freedonfarter….you OBVIOUSLY have a reading comprehension deficit….nothing I said was racist at all…you idiot, moron, etc (yeah you are high quality)
@WarEagle…I do credit Marist because they play up in class…which ALL private or city schools should be made to do. For that I admire Marist. But, they still have the advantage of being able to bring in ANY kid they like from wherever that kid might live…and then provide that kid superior training. That can’t be argued.

WarEagle

May 6th, 2013
10:10 am

@BigBoy — Thanks. Marist actually plays up 2 classes (2A size, participate in 4A). I think it helps in some “country club” sports (tennis, golf) to be the only private school in 4A, but the limited depth hurts in so many others — the school has only about 400 boys in high school (about 100 per high school grade) to fill all the sports and other extra-curricular activities, from varsity to jv to freshman teams. Many of the public schools against whom Marist competes have more upperclassmen to fill their teams than Marist has students. A few injuries here or there can really hurt our teams. True, Marist can bring in kids from anywhere in metro Atlanta and does supply them with great coaching/facilities. On the other hand, many great young athletes who are struggling a bit in academics won’t be admitted to Marist but will be able to join the teams at his/her public school (and hopefully learn to excel in academics as he/she matures). Same is true for many of the other top private schools in metro-Atlanta. A good analogy might be the challenges of Ivy League schools to recruit top athletes — great students who are good at sports desire the schools, but great athletes who are just good students often choose another option, which is probably why Princeton is not likely to win a football national championship any time soon!

KdubATL

May 6th, 2013
12:50 pm

Several of the comments contain valid points. As a track coach of a school(I shall leave unnamed) that has 2 Boys State Championships and 2 Girls State Championships within the past ten years, I understand the importance of having talent in the technical events, as well as the timing of your talent, meaning having the right personnel in events that are not as deep within your classification. Every championship that we have, both boys and girls, came about because of several events, not just sprints. We have had hurdlers, jumpers, etc, to help lead us to state championships. And until two years ago, we did not even have a LJ/TJ pit that was suitable for jumping.

However, in a year where field events and distance events dominated the state meet, we must not ignore the fact that there are schools who are primed to be more successful, due to several factors. For example, we have a hard time producing high jumpers and pole vaulters because we lack the facilities to even practice those events. Also, because of financial limits, many schools are unable to hire enough coaches to cover all of the events.

Private and city schools do have an advantage in terms of access to kids that other schools do not. Is it always a direct correlation with the number of championships? Not necessarily. Of course, Carrollton has dominated for years on the track. That’s not just pure coincidence.

S. Thomas Coleman

May 6th, 2013
1:16 pm

lhsalum33: Your comment about the reason for the Class A split is incorrect.

First, the GHSA would not allow a private school with AA, AAA or AAAA numbers, etc. to compete in Class A simply because they are a private school. There are NO Class A private schools with more than the number of students the GHSA allows for competing in class A (I believe the number is 500).

The split came about because the public Class A schools, mostly in South Georgia, believed (and still believe) that they are at a disadvantage competing against private schools, because private schools have an unlimited enrollment area from which to draw students and are allowed to “recruit” students (as they must do as private schools because they do not have a geographic attendance zone). There was much debate on what to do about the issue and there was a proposal to re-adopt the 1.5 multiplier rule that had been in place several years ago. However, that proposal was rejected and a significant number of Class A public schools (again, mostly from South Georgia) threatened to leave the GHSA and either start their own association or join the GISA.

Taking all of this into consideration, the GHSA’s executive committee voted to split public and private schools in Class A only, in just about every sport. They will re-examine the issue this winter when it is time to consider the realignment of regions in all classifications.

Thanks for reading and posting.

STC

Just Sayin

May 6th, 2013
2:09 pm

@KdubAtl: What do you mean “in a year where field events and distance events dominated the state meet”? Aren’t the events the same every year?

KdubATL

May 6th, 2013
2:32 pm

Just Sayin’: Yes, the events are the same. When I say that field and distance dominated the meet, I mean in terms of the events that had the most effect on the results, meaning where the teams that won state scored their largest amount of points.

Just to give you an example: Marist scored 35 points between the 1600, Discus, and Shot Put. Between those three events, they had almost solidified their state title this year. Once you added the 3200, it was over.

Just Sayin

May 6th, 2013
2:51 pm

@KdubATL: OK, but so what — how does this show that private schools have an unfair advantage over public schools? In every year there will be one place where the champion team wins most of its points — might be field, might be track, might be sprints, might be distance. Observing that Marist was dominant in the distance running and the throwing events this year does not show that being private is an unfair advantage — especially for distance running, where cost is not the impediment for training (no special facilities are needed to train to run long and fast). Seems you are just identifying where the winning teams did well and then proclaiming “Ah Hah, caught you”!

GAHSFBFAN24

May 6th, 2013
8:25 pm

@Big Boy, if you think anything I said was racial then you misread what I was saying. The coach above said it better than me when he said you need depth in many events to win a state championship. I went to a AAAA public school and we had 1 coach for the entire track team. We were good in some events and bad in others. Some of the bigger schools have multiple coaches that can help the kids grow in their area of expertise. I think having a coach that can show a kid the proper way to pole vault, high jump, long jump, etc is a huge advantage. Kids that are taught properly and work hard have a better chance of success than a kid who is just out there trying their best with bad technique.

KdubATL

May 6th, 2013
10:02 pm

@ Just Sayin: So are you saying that private and city schools do not have an advantage, even though they have access to all students? Remember, if you are a public school, you only have access to those in your school zone. I’m not blaming city and private schools for taking advantage. But let us be honest: If we approach this with any objectivity, there is no denying.

Nothing about my comment says, “Ah Hah, caught you”. As I already stated, I do have multiple state rings, so there is no agenda behind my statements. Not to make this about Marist, because it really is not, but they are not the first team with great distance runners. (Demographics make a difference in one’s ability to compete in distance events but obviously training has a great effect as well) This really has more to do with obvious advantages that some programs have due to facilities, access to “all students”, and number of coaches. As I said in a previous post, if we had pole vault facilities and a high jump pit, we would have even more of an opportunity to be in the state championship conversation every year.

Nothing in sports will ever be “even” nor “equal”; therefore, many of us will continue to play the hand we are dealt.

freedomfighter

May 6th, 2013
10:29 pm

Big Boy Im sad to say this because you are a human being I believe, but the more that you open your mouth the more ignorant you sound.You might want to re read your posts and if you do you will realize how stupid you sound and everyone that reads this knows it, The less you say the smarter you look so zip it buddy and save yourself some embarrassment.

Just Sayin

May 7th, 2013
8:06 am

@KdubAtl — “Remember, if you are a public school, you only have access to those in your school zone.” Come one, if you want to keep it real, then be honest — public schools recruit just as much as these private schools. How many silly hardship applications have you heard about? What about Milton basketball? Once we stop pretending that recruiting is a private school issue, then we can try to solve the issue. Until then, it just sounds like sour grapes. (BTW, I have had one child play sports in public school — and get recruited to transfer on a bs hardship theory — and one play sports at private school — and no recruiting was involved.)

KdubATL

May 7th, 2013
10:20 am

Did you just name a school in a very affluent area, who already had been investigated for possible infractions? Lol…I’m not into name dropping, and I understand that several schools recruit illegally, some more than others; however, that is a totally separate issue. Plus, GHSA has put things in place to crackdown on some of it, but of course, nothing is full proof.

We will just say say city schools and private schools can recruit “legally.” Once again, there is no denying. And best believe, there is always recruiting involved.

Just Sayin

May 7th, 2013
10:36 am

Sure, we’ll just pretend that there is no recruiting among and between the various DeKalb public schools, the APS schools, or the Southern Georgia schools — it is just an affluent public school issue. Okay now, you can open your eyes!

Big Boy

May 7th, 2013
2:59 pm

@freedomfarter…..thanks for the laugh, seriously

GAHSFBFAN24

May 7th, 2013
4:53 pm

This whole public v. private thing is funny to me. Everyone at a public school is on a scholarship funded by the taxpayers and they have a built in student base. With very few exceptions, the private school kids have to pay $10,000 – $25,000 to go to school and these schools have to market to get attendance and test for academic minimum standards.. The public schools have the advantage if the community and administration is behind the school and funds it for success.

freedomfighter

May 7th, 2013
9:29 pm

Big Boy ,I didnt say anything to make you laugh, you just looked in the mirror.

mccn80

May 8th, 2013
1:33 pm

It’s very interesting conversation that is going on here, why can’t everyone just give the coaches & the athletes credit for talent and hard work. This whole private vs public school debate is nonsense, especially in this sport. Of course, some schools will have an advantage in some areas such as the pole vault, discus etc. If you have the facilities and equipment, you’re more likely to do well. But this is what I truly love about the sport of track and field, if you have the talent, the will, and the coaching, you can be successful regardless of the situation…folks, this ain’t football. I’m speaking from experience, in HS I ran 1:50.02, in the 800, 46.66 in the 400, an NCAA all-american, pan am games participant ( double state champ in both events;another state}, my Mom won a state championship ( another state) with 6 girls, they won the 100, 200, 400, 4×1, 4×4 and the long jump…… so it can be done, so this nonsense of who has money and who doesn’t, white, black, public or private, is a bunch of hog wash….. give credit due to these schools and their kids. Some of this talk is coming from individuals who themselves have obviously never competed at a high level!!!

izog

May 8th, 2013
3:13 pm

Way to destroy the moral of the future American Olympic athletes. Several years from now these are the young men who will be representing the USA in the Olympics and other international events. We need to be proud of their talents and wish them all the best. So people just congratulate the young men who won whether private or public/black, white, hispanic/ weatlthy/challenged financially. For those who were not successfull encourage them to work harder next time.