3A Boys Preview contributions by Coach Matt King
On paper St Pius X has a clear advantage due to the number of athletes who are ranked number 1 in their event. Daniel Haugh has dominated the shot and discus, Fred Dorsey has the best triple jump, and of course the distance with Calvin Tirrel and Austin Sprague in the 8-3200. They also have Andrew Anastaiades in the 3200 (ranked #2), Joe Beach (4th in 300 Hurdles, 7th in the 110), Dorsey again in the long jump (4th), and their 4x400 team in ranked 7th. If they finish were they rank they will be hard to catch. If St. Pius stubbles watch for Appling County, Elbert County, Cedar Grove, Chapel Hill, and possible North Oconee. Appling County’s Kevin Johnson who is ranked first in the hurdles (110 and 300) and is part of their #1 ranked 4x100m relay team. Jordan Vann is also a threat in the 100, 200, and long jump and their 3rd ranked 4x400 team. Elbert County is led by Marquice Dye(#1 in 100) who is a threat in the 100, 200, and their 4x100 (ranked #2). Elbert also boasts Tyshon Dye (100, 200) and Mecole Hardman (long and triple jump). Cedar Grove is right in the mix with 10 entries and 2 relays. Darius Freeman (ranked #1 200, #5 100) looks to score some needed team points and their #1 ranked 4x400 relay. More places for points include Cedar Grove’s 4x100 (ranked #6), Dieon Sellers (100 and 200), Shane Ward, and their high jumpers Chance Baines and Karlis Roberts. Chapel Hill boasts 15 entries and their two relays and in always a threat to score in the distance events with Cameron Lord, Paul McCloud, and Jelani Omari. North Oconee has 9 qualifiers led by Kevon Hudson, Harper Sigler, and Cole Thornton. Others to watch out for include Washington County’s Quintavious Poole (#1 400) and Jackson County’s Layson Giles (high jump).
Everyone is living in St.Pius' world in the 800-3200. The Golden Lions haven't been State XC Champs and been setting distance relay records for no reason. These guys are motivated and have excellent coaching. In the 800m Calvin Tirrell has the top time in 3A at 1:58.72 Drew Sands of Woodward Academy is ranked 2nd at 2:00.01 Within 1.5 seconds behind Sands are 6 runners including Oconee's John Issac Smith, David Bush of Chapel Hill, Paul McLeod of Chapel Hill, Ben Kuzell of Blessed Trinity and Harper Sigler of North Oconee. The 1600 may be dominated by St.Pius as 3A XC Champ Austin Sprague has a pr of 4:22 and Tirrell pr'd on a 1 Mile converted time of 4:20. It should be a wild finish for the top 8 as again 7 runners are within :02 of each other including McLeod, Cole Thornton of North Oconee, Bryce Schuebert of North Hall, Sowell and Caleb Teachout of Pike County. Pius should continue to roll up points Friday evening in the 3200m behind Sprague and Andrew Anastasiades (9:38) Matt Munns of Blessed Trinity has also clocked a 9:38 this Spring.
Andrew Slanton from Sonoraville has popped up out of nowhere in Sectionals blazing to 10.74 100m and glided to a 14.63 in the 110 hurdles. Elbert County has 2 chances to score in the 100m behind Marquise Dye at 10.70 and Tyshon Dye at 10.84! Jamaal McDaniel of Chapel Hill, Darius Freeman of Cedar Grove, Kevon Hudson of North Oconee, Rico Johnson of Swainsboro and Jordan Vann of Appling County are all dual threats in the short Sprints. Quintavious Poole from Washington County has emerged out of Sectionals as the man to beat in the 400m clocking a 48.54 Wake Roberds of Oconee County has been strong lately with a pr of 49.44 at Region. Cedar Grove Q'd a duo for Jefferson including Demetrius Pinkett and Nicholas Everett. Samuel McDade of Cross Keys boasts a pr of 49.46 followed by Peach County's Malcom Lowe.
Kevin Johnson of Appling County will be hurdling for a double in the 110/300h in an effort to pile on some points for the Pirates with pr's of 14.46/38.40 Slanton's recent prowess in the 110h can't be overlooked as he appears to be on the way to something special. Roberds of Oconee County has clocked a 39.14 in the 300h for the 2nd best time in 3A. Elijah Hayes of Decatur is a dual threat in the hurdles with pr's of 14.65/39.36 and don't count out Elbert's Marquise Dye at 14.72....
Appling County and Cedar Grove are loaded in both relays with Appling having a 41.81 at Sectionals in what a few observers reported an obvious zone violation not called and Cedar Grove rounding the oval at 3:22 in the 4x400m. The battle for points will be intense especially in the 4x400m with Oconee sporting the 2nd best time in 3A at 3:24.79
Daniel Haugh could throw 20 points up on the board for St. Pius X early as he's easily the top thrower in 3A with a huge mark of 174-01 in the Discus and 55-8.50 in the Shot. Torace Sturgeon of Hart County is strong in both throws at 149-06/49-0 Dalton Whitfield from White County has tossed the Discus 161-7 at the GACS Invite. Jameel Spencer of Woodward has a pr of 154-11 in the Discus and 50-02 in the Shot. Quintavius Lattimer of WACO and Jeff Chandler of East Jackson have gone 51-8 and 51-6 respectively in the Shot.
David Curry of Buford has the top clearance in 3A this Spring at 14-0 and may be the pre-event favorite. Spencer Clapes of Woodward pr'd at Sectionals at 14-03. Jared Scotland of Hart County cleared 13-09 at Region and will be in the mix for a title and Will Check of Blessed Trinity has cleared 13-06. the HJ competition is up for grabs completely as no one in 3A has eclipsed 6-06 this season. The top jumpers competing Thursday will be Layson Giles of Jackson County, Deonte Smith of Franklin County, Chance Baines of Cedar Grove (who needs some big points to keep up w/ St. Pius X).
Its clear no one in 3A is going to challenge Sandy Creek's Christian Taylor in the record books Thursday although 3 athletes had magical performances during Sectionals at Lakewood, even getting my attention as I keyed in their marks breaking the 23' barrier. K'Lan Harris of Henry County flew to 23-10 followed by Tre Owens of Chapel Hill at 23-9.25 and Tyler Gibson of Peach County at 23-5.75 The Triple Jump competion is WIDE OPEN and some tweaks/turn of the wrench here and there the past couple days could make the difference...The top hopper in 3A is Fred Dorsey of St.Pius X with a bound of 44-10.5 followed by Jackson Wallin of Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 44-10 along with Preston Smith of SE Bulloch.