State track championships off to a fast start

Published 7:51 pm Friday, May 3, 2013

Breuna Dean, with J.U. Blacksher High School, works to clear the bar during the Class 1A girls high jump competition Friday. -- Tim Reeves

Breuna Dean, with J.U. Blacksher High School, works to clear the bar during the Class 1A girls high jump competition Friday. — Tim Reeves

Earlier in the week, organizers with the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 1A-3A state track championships were looking at a weather forecast that said rainy weather was all but assured.

As the last few events made their way around the track at Selma’s Memorial Stadium Friday afternoon, organizers were counting their blessings as day one of the two-day meet had gone on relatively dry.

Only a little mist rolled over the stadium late in the afternoon, causing those in the stands a little discomfort.

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“The people in the stands are the ones impacted the most by the little rain that we did have,” Selma Parks and Recreation Director Elton Reece said. “As for the athletes, it didn’t affect them at all.”

Reece did say though that the cloudy, breezy weather throughout the day made the setting more comfortable to the thousands of spectators in the stands and the hundreds of athletes who competed in first day of events.

“It really was a nice day. We didn’t seem to have any major issues throughout the day,” Reece said.

Now, Reece and officials with the Alabama High School Athletic Association must turn their attention back to the forecast for Saturday, as championship events will kick off at 8 a.m.

At the end of day one, many of the team races are tremendously competitive.

In Class 1A boys, after seven scored events, Falkville High School has 43 points, while Cedar Bluff High School has 35.50 points. St. Bernard is in third place with 24 points.

In Class 1A girls, after seven scored events, Westminster-Oak Mountain (37.33 points) holds a slim lead over Cedar Bluff (36), with Falkville (32) in third place.

Lafayette (42 points) holds an 8-point lead over Mobile Christian in the Class 2A boys division after five scored events, with Lanett (25 points) rounding out the top three. In the 2A girls division, Montgomery Academy and Altamont are tied at the top with 29 points after five scored events, with Mobile Christian following with 23 points.

In 3A, after seven events, Piedmont (40) is in first place in the boys division, with Trinity (36) in second and T.M. Miller (30) in third.

In the 3A girls division, Bayside Academy (51.50) has pulled out to a strong lead over T.M. Miller (36) and Piedmont (26).

On the individual side, athletes found the conditions extremely good, with many of them easily besting their state qualifying times.

Friday also saw a few state records set.

In the 3A boys javelin competition, Quante Brown from Greensboro won the event with a throw of 178 feet, 5 inches; nearly two feet further than the state record. The previous record of 176 feet, six inches was set last year.

In the 3A girls 1600 finals, two runners broke the state record as they finished one and two. Kylie Fraank, from Catholic-Montgomery, finished the race in first place with a time of 5:11.11, just ahead of T.R. Miller’s Karisa Nelson (5.12.22).

Both runners eclipsed the state record that was set on April 30, 2010, when Nelson herself set the mark then at 5:13.77.

For Reece, day one of this year’s meet went far smoother then the 2012 meet, the first time Selma had hosted the meet in more than 20 years.

“Easily 100 percent better than last year,” Reece said. “We learned a lot from last year and tomorrow will be better than today.”

Reece said the only problem that might have been considered major Friday came from the installation of synthetic boards on the long jump and triple jump courses. The AHSAA had requested the boards — which are used in collegiate competition — be installed. But, Reece said the teams and competitors urged the wooden boards be put back in for day two, as they spent the entire season competing on wooden boards.

“That really is the only thing we’ve had to address so far,” Reece said. “If we can just get through tomorrow dry, we will be pretty happy.”

More than 120 schools from across Alabama are represented by at least one athlete in this competition.

Reece said early estimates from parking revenues show the crowds for day one outpaced those of last year’s meet.