Scott, Herndon and Cheek and the argument for state qualifying

The hypothetical situation has often been brought up in the past. Could you justify the system for qualifying for state if the three best competitors in their event all resided in the same region. Take that argument one step further. What if 3 of the top 10 all time in their event resided in the same region. The time for hypothetical thinking is\'s happening and could have a big impact on what happens at state.

Jordan Scott is one of those rare athletes that comes along once in a coaches lifetime. With a 16-7 mark in the vault already this season, he\'s ranked number 2 in the nation in his event. A coaches dream, Jordan is personable, obviously dedicated to his craft and Georgia\'s all time best vaulter. One would think that an athlete of his caliber would have nothing to worry about in terms of qualifying for state but this year is different. Jordan has finished runner up in a competition this season and to someone in his own region. Casey Herndon and Cameron Cheek, from Franklin Co., have both given Jordan a run for his money at meets this season. The teammates from Franklin Co. have continued the tradition of excellence, following in the path of such great vaulters as Brad Smith, John Scott Hartness and Seaj Hartness. Region for these three gentleman takes on a very special significance.

Two will qualify for state while one has to sit home. They own the top 3 marks in the state this season and are over a foot ahead of their nearest competitor and yet one will not qualify for state. The loss of a top 3 finisher at the state meet for both teams is something they should not have to consider but here we are. Region competition for these three men has taken on special significance and the real loser in all of this is the sport of track and field and the spectators at the state meet. A classic battle between three of the all time best on the state\'s biggest stage will not happen because of the way we go about choosing athletes for state. The unthinkable has happened and the questions will rise anew. Isn\'t there something we can do to ensure that this doesn\'t happen again next year?

I\'ve had the pleasure of meeting Jordan Scott and had an opportunity to watch Cameron and Casey compete recently. Earlier this evening, I watched as Casey cleared 15\'8\" in the vault in the same pit that Jordan Scott cleared 15\'6\" in only a couple days earlier. These three young men have reached the pinnacle of their sport and yet one will not be able to step up on the podium at state and tor no other reason, this writer thinks that serious reconsideration should be given to how we pick our athletes for state. These three young men deserve nothing less.