In her final high school track event, Aris Hubbard went out with a bang. The four-year all-around sports star garnered 11 points for the Lady Dogs as they took 13th place out of 58 AAA high schools across the state. Hubbard has been a force for the MCHS track team since arriving on the scene her freshman season. She will be sorely missed not only in track, but as an All-Region pick in both volleyball and basketball.
The State Track Meet for boys and girls was held at Hughes-Mills Stadium in Albany this past week. According to Coach Aubrey Fortson, it was a brutal weekend from a heat standpoint with temperatures on the turf reaching into the mid-90’s. He said, “The meet was run extremely well, but the heat took its toll on many of the runners. I got there Thursday morning about 8:30 and it was already scorching hot. It was miserable.”
However, the four girls that made the trip fought through the heat and performed well. Hubbard was a one-girl wrecking crew as she took 11 points by herself. She finished fourth in the 200 meters with a time of 25.79 seconds, fifth in the 100 meters at 12.45 seconds, and seventh in the high jump with a best of 5’2”.
She, along with Destiny Williams, Miranda Powell, and Unique Hubbard did an outstanding job by finishing eighth in the 4×100 relay and a time of 50.57 seconds in the finals. Fortson commented, “Aris did a great job for us with this being her final season. I was pleasantly surprised by the relay team. To finish eighth in the state was a testament to their hard work. It paid off.”
The lone Morgan County boys’ competitor was Seth Robertson. He qualified for both the long jump and triple jump finishing in sixth place in the long jump. His best effort measured 21 feet 9.5 inches.
The big event was played out over Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with field events and running events qualification on Thursday and Friday. All finals were held on Saturday. It was a long weekend for those fans, coaches, and players that attended.
The track team was recognized at the regular Board of Education meeting this past Tuesday night for their accomplishments.
Fortson talked about his first season as the head coach with these words, “I thought for the first year overall we did a great job as a team and as a coaching staff preparing ourselves for the region, sectionals, and state meets. By it being my first year, I think next year the kids coming back will understand how to prepare themselves better for season to come. Our numbers weren’t bad. We started the season with 61 runners and ended it with 21. You really don’t need that many kids to win a Region or State Championship. Elbert County won the boys AA with only 12 guys. If you have a couple of kids take a first or second and your relay teams do well, you can easily be in the top five.”
Monroe-Albany took first place at State with 138 points followed by Greater Atlanta Christian with 119. These traditional powerhouses are always in the hunt, according to Fortson. He said, “To compete with them, you almost have to run year-round because that’s what they do. I would like to think we could get some of our runners that don’t play football or basketball to do that. I think it would help them to see what it takes to compete at the state level against competition from all over Georgia and the Southeast by attending some of these big meets they have. It would also get them used to performing on a bigger stage like they see at the AAA State Meet. They really don’t know what it takes. Maybe if they see it, they’ll better understand what we’re trying to tell them. I think that Morgan County could be a special place for track.”
Next year the head man doesn’t plan on changing much of what he’s already set in motion. He again commented, “This year was somewhat of a culture shock for them with some big changes for everybody; players and coaches. It was different from past years. Going into next year I believe the kids will know what to expect. If they will buy in to what we’re doing and believe in the program, then it should make everything easier from an expectation standpoint. Next year I hope to schedule some more Saturday meets to invite and see more teams from across the state, and not just local area teams. It will give them more experience to get ready for the Region, Sectionals, and State.”
Fortson wanted to tell some people how much he appreciated their support this season. He said, “I want to say thank you to the Board of Education, Dr. Woodard, Dr. Edwards, and Doug Connelly for believing in me and allowing me to coach at Morgan County. I can’t say enough about my assistant coaches. Kathy Hubbard, Erica Finley, and Kenneth Vaughn at the high school were a big help, and Milfred Franklin and Marvin Mathis at the middle school did a great job for us. I would also like to thank Coach Richardson and the Morgan County Citizen for giving us the great attention that we needed. They did an awesome job. Also, many of our local churches donated to our track team as did others in the community. Thank you for supporting us. Mayor Perriman has been very supportive since the time I got here with setting up our community service projects and helping me to meet preachers in the area. He’s been awesome. Thank you sir.”
It’s been a great first year for track under the direction of Coach Fortson. Congratulations on a job well done.