By R. Alan Richardson
Morgan County’s High School track program is headed in the right direction according to second-year boys’ head Coach Aubrey Fortson and first-year girls’ head Coach Patrick Kicklighter. As most track coaches will tell you, it’s all in the numbers. The sport is driven by getting as many quality athletes out to participate as you possibly can.
Convincing those stars from other sports like football, basketball, cross-country, swimming, volleyball, and others is a key ingredient to being successful in AAA track.
Fortson commented, “We’re making strides. I like where we are with about 86 kids signed up and 40 already working out these first three weeks. And, we still don’t have our winter sports runners from basketball, swimming, and wrestling.”
Kicklighter, a 10-year veteran coaching cross-country and track, comes to Morgan County from Heritage High School. The 36-year-old is a U.S. History teacher who also served as an assistant to the swim team under head Coach Stacy Dearing this past winter.
He said, “I feel like I’m coaching some possible State Champions under by belt here at Morgan County. They seem to be hungry for a real track program. These are great kids with some outstanding leadership out there. They seem to be excited for the future.”
Both coaches mentioned some intriguing facts about why the numbers might be up. One was that this year’s spring break will no longer be the same week as the State Track Meet. Another may be that the team is scheduled to compete in larger meets including a 20-plus team meet at Heritage on February 23 where the players will receive much more exposure than some of the smaller events they are used to participating in.
In talking with Fortson, several important names of returnees came up. “Right now it’s looking like Seth Robinson could be the face of our program this year. He is the current school record holder in the triple jump who also participates in the long jump. Stevin Greene will be joining us after the basketball season. He will compete in the high and long jump, but has also shown some interest in running the hurdles this year. Donald Brooks is also a guy that jumps out at you with his ability in the high jump, relay teams, and 200 meters. I also think Justin Hubbard can compete in the discus for us this spring.”
He then turned to the girls’ side saying, “Miranda Powell will also join us after basketball season. She will be a contender in both the 100 and 300 hurdles. Unique Hubbard ran the relays as well as the 100 and 200 meters. Briana Clark returns as a strong runner in the distance races of the 800 meters and mile while Tiana Adams will be strong this year in the shot put.”
Kicklighter summed things up with these remarks, “I really love the feeling of culture and community here. It’s something I’ve never seen before. These students and student-athletes are proud of their school and act like family. Not only that, but we have some stellar athletes here.”
The first unofficial meet will be held on Feb. 12. The first actual meet will be Feb. 23 at Heritage.