Morgan’s Utsey wins long jump on first day of AISA state meet

Published 9:56 pm Wednesday, April 12, 2017

On the first day of the Alabama Independent School Association track meet, Morgan Academy’s Hardin Utsey put on a show.

Utsey won the boys long jump, ran a leg of Morgan’s 4×200 relay victory and qualified to run in two more finals, which will take place Thursday. Utsey, a sophomore, won the long jump with a total of 20 feet, 7 inches, which was almost a foot farther than second place Fred Flavors of Escambia Academy.

“He was impressive. He has never jumped like that before,” said Morgan coach Rob Robinson. “He’s going to be really good. He’s only a tenth grader.”

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The opening day of the AISA meet was highlighted by preliminaries, but several finals were run as well.

Utsey won the long jump, but Senators teammate Dione Allen finished fifth with a total of 19 feet, 1 inch to earn Morgan two more valuable points. Like Utsey, Morgan’s Caroline Colvin and Anna Laken Tidmore had banner days too. Colvin finished fourth in the high jump finals with a total of 6 feet and Tidmore was sixth in the girls 800-meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 57.2 seconds. Both also ran on the Senators’ 8×400 relay team, which finished fourth with a time of 12 minutes, 37 seconds. Kristen Little and Laney Holladay were the other two runners on the relay team.

Utsey, Peyton Egbert, Brayton Brown and Ed Williams ran the 4×200 relay for the Senators, finishing in a time of 1 minute, 37 seconds. Morgan won the event by less than a second over Escambia Academy.

Several other Morgan Academy athletes qualified through preliminaries to take part in Thursday finals.

Averee Adams qualified in the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. She is also one of four runners on the Morgan 4×100 relay team that qualified for the finals.

Emily Strickland, Sarah Thomas and Peyton Granthum are the other runners on the 4×100 relay.

Brown and Utsey qualified in the 200-meter dash and Holladay will participate in the girls 400-meter dash final.

The Morgan boys also qualified in the 4×100 meter relay. Egbert, Utsey, Williams and Allen will run that event on Thursday.

Of course, it wouldn’t have been a Morgan Academy track meet without rain. Robinson said it rained for a while in Gulf Shores Wednesday, but the athletes continued to compete through it.

“It rained for a while and wet things down and made it kind of miserable for the people who couldn’t get under tents,” Robinson said.

Both of Morgan’s scheduled track meets this year were affected by rain. The Senators hadn’t actually completed any field events this year before Wednesday.

The AISA state track meet will wrap up on Thursday afternoon.