By R. Alan Richardson
After fielding only six tracksters at last year’s Region 8-AAA Tournament, first-year head Coach Leland Ready has turned the track and field program around at MCHS in a very short period of time. Hired to coach both football and track for the Bulldogs this season, Ready will be leaving the program after one year to pursue an offensive coordinator’s job at Jeff Davis High School and he will be missed.
He said, “I came into the track season with one goal in mind. I wanted to leave the program in better shape than I found it in. We’ve been able to do that. Before the season began we had to hold some fundraisers just to be able to hold and compete in a home track meet with the basic necessities.”
Ready contributes some of this year’s success to the bond he was able to make with some of the better athletes participating in football. “We now have 48 runners total with 22 girls and 26 guys. Each one is given a workout sheet when they come to practice. Even though we are usually there from 3:30-5:00, a player is free to leave whenever they finish up. We also decided not to have any Saturday events on our calendar. I think all of this has helped with our numbers.
We have some talented athletes out there. After our meet with Greene County was cancelled, four of our athletes attended an invitational this past weekend and showed what they are made of.” Aris Hubbard won both the 100 and 200 meters, but also competes in the high jump. Carolina Zant took second in the two hurdle events. She was beaten by the same opponent by .1 seconds in both entries. Alex Roundtree ran the 400 meters in 51 seconds while Austin Chynet finished in the top four in his two events, the one and two mile distance runs. Dalton Shaw, Morgan’s top distance runner in the 800 meters and mile, was unable to attend the event and could have possibly won both events.
The Bulldogs are 3-0 on the season having defeated Jasper, Social Circle, AAAAAA Alcovy, North Oconee, and Winder-Barrow. The Lady Dogs are 2-1 only losing to Alcovy this year. When asked about his teams’ strengths, he commented, “Of the times and scores I’ve seen posted, and meets we’ve been a part of, I see certain teams with certain strengths like in distance, sprints, throwing, or jumping. Our teams are balanced with multiple players in each event that could finish one through four. First place finishes are great, but I’d much rather get the second and third or fourth finish for more points. That’s how we hope to overcome some of the other teams when the Region Tournament rolls around. We hope our numbers and depth will take us the distance when it really counts.”
Ready finished up by mentioning his fine coaching staff. “These coaches do a great job. When you’ve got so many events you can use all the help you can get. I’ve tried to make sure they all have learned more than just about one event they might know the most about. They have helped coach some in every event.” The staff includes: Kathy Hubbard, Erica Finley, Kenneth Vaughn, Jeff Snipes, Rob Brown, and Marvin Mathis.
The track teams are off this week until April 4 where they will compete at Putnam County with Greene County in the mix for this tri-meet. April 11 the squads will travel to East Jackson. Other competition will come from Hart County and Jackson County in this meet.