By R. Alan Richardson
Coming off one of the most disappointing seasons in track and field history at Morgan County High School in 2016, this year’s track team qualified 20 runners for the 2017 State Track Sectionals. Last year had nothing to do with coaching, but was more about the unwillingness of athletes to spend the time and effort needed to be successful in the sport.
Head Coach Leland Ready instituted some new ideas that helped get the kids (and better athletes) excited about getting involved in track. The ideas worked. Last year the numbers were at a near all-time low with only three players qualifying for the State Sectionals. Even though the teams both finished fifth in the region there were a lot of positives that came out of this season. Ready commented, “Things didn’t end up quite like we hoped and it was a little disappointing for the kids, but there are lots of positives that came out of the region meet and this season. We had 10 runners to finish in the top three and received ribbons or medals along with the 20 advancing to sectionals. We talked about wanting to be in a better spot and we were and are.”
If you look at the final team numbers, the second through fifth spots were separated by only 13 points on the girls’ side and only two points separated fourth and fifth for the boys.
Some of the highlights for the Dogs included Dalton Shaw’s official school record in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:03.04. Another was High Medalist, Aris Hubbard, who grabbed an amazing 31 points in winning both the 100 and 200 meters, running on the first-place 100 meter relay team, and garnering sixth in the long jump. Tatyana Davis finishing first in the long jump was another high point. Franklin County won both the boys’ and girls’ region championships.
Ready added, “I said when I came in that I wanted to leave this thing in better shape than I found it. It’s nice to look back and say that I was able to do that. The program still needs a lot of work, but the foundation has been laid for the next coach who comes in.”
The Sectionals will be run at Southeast Bulloch in Statesboro April 29 beginning at 9 a.m. and the State Meet will be run in Albany May 11-13.