Track Tigers roar to state title
Published 9:05 pm Monday, May 8, 2006
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
T.R. Miller Tigers track coach Eddie Brundidge picked up where preceding coach Alan Baker left off and Antonio Gomez picked up where, well, Antonio Gomez left off.
Brundidge guided the Tigers to the Class 3A state championship Friday in his first season with the program. It was the Tigers' third outdoor state title in four years and fifth in the program's history.
T.R. Miller not only won the meet, which was held at Oak Mountain High School, but did so in convincing style. The Tigers racked up 99 1/2 points, 36 more than runner-up Sheffield's total of 63 1/2 W.S. Neal finished seventh with 37.
The key catalyst in the Tigers state crown was Gomez. The senior won four events and set a state record in the process. Gomez won the long jump with a leap of 22-8 and the triple jump at 43-7. Gomez then claimed the 110 meter high hurdles with a time of 15.42. The biggest highlight came in the 300 intermediate hurdles where Gomez set a state record with a time of 39.65. Two years ago Gomez broke the state record in the 110 meter high hurdles.
Gomez and Briddell Jones formed a potent one-two punch in the two hurdles races. While Gomez was busy racking up first place marks in those races, Jones was right behind in second place in both events with times of 15.87 in the 110 highs and 41.17 in the 300 intermediates.
T.R. Miller also got a second place mark from its 400 meter relay team of Nykeem Barton, Mikel Riggs, Cortez Banks and Brandon Andrews in a time of 44.3. They finished second to Sheffield by five one hundredths of a second.
Gomez was not the only local state champion. W.S. Neal thrower Joe Bailey won the discus championship for the second year in a row with a heave of 136-4. Bailey was one inch shy of winning the event by 10 feet over his closest competitor.
W.S. Neal's Rachel Davis had the best individual performance by local competitors on the girls side, as she was third in the long jump with a leap of 16-4.
The Lady Blue Eagles finished tied for seventh in the team standings with 23 points. T.R. Miller finished tied for 14th place with 10.