Fourth place finish ends Track Tigers reign as state champs
The final result may not have been what some people had wanted, but the way the T.R. Miller Tigers track team competed was what retiring coach Alan Baker desired in his final meet.
The Tigers two-year reign as Class 3A state champs came to end Saturday when T.R. Miller left Paul Bryant High School in Tuscaloosa with a fourth place finish.
T.R. Miller, which stood in 12th place after Friday's first day of competition, scored 52 of its 59 points on the second day.
Senior sprinter Rodney Lane had arguably the Tigers' best outing at state where he was second in the 400 meter dash with a personal best time of 49.99 and a third place mark in the 200 meter dash at 23.26.
Lane was also on the 400 meter relay team along with Travis Holland, Javaris Drakeford and Damien Jackson that finished second with a time of 44.15.
James Hildreth also earned a place in the 400 meter dash along with Lane, as he was fourth with a time of 52.07.
Michael Hunt notched a seventh place time of 11:44.29 in the 3200 meters.
Five Tigers earned places in the two respective hurdles races. In the 110 meter high hurdles, Briddell Jones was seventh with a time of 16.75 and Antonio Gomez was eighth at 17.58. Gerald Banton led T.R. Miller in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles with a fourth place effort of 42.27, Jones was sixth at 43.75 and Antonio Gomez was seventh at 45.65.
All three T.R. Miller relay teams earned points. In addition to the second place 400 meter relay quartet, the 1600 meter relay team of Lane, Hildreth, Drakeford and Marcus Jones was third at 3:36.84. The 3200 meter relay team of David Mathieu, James McCracken, Chris Byrd and Hunt was fourth at 8:57.03.
The Tigers got their other six points in the field.
Jackson was seventh in the high jump at 5-10. Fred Samuel was eighth in the shot put at 40-6, Julius Harris was eighth in the discus at 110-6, Jackson was eighth in the triple jump at 40-6 3/4 and Byrd was eighth in the pole vault at 10-0.
W.S. Neal finished seventh at the state meet with 33 points.
The Blue Eagles posted the only local state champion Friday when Joe Bailey won the discus at 134-3. Bailey later came back and earned a fourth place in the shot put at 42-6.
Ray Dunn posted a runner-up spot in the 1600 meters with a time of 4:48.8 and a fifth place time of 11:02.6 in the 3200 meters.
Jonathan Alexander also earned two places at state, as he was sixth in the long jump at 20-4 1/2 and seventh in the triple jump at 41-2.
W.S. Neal's other point came from an eighth place finish by its 400 meter relay team with a time of 45.83.
Leeds won the boys team championship with a score of 94 1/2 points, while Sumter County was second at 71 and Lincoln was third at 65.