By Derrick Mahone
Stockbridge coach James Thornton could not have drawn up the race plan any better for Aaron Coleman last week at the Henry County Track and Field Championships.
The standout senior middle-distance runner ran with the pack in the 800-meters race for the first lap. With about 300 meters remaining in the race, Coleman made his move. Coleman sprinted to the county championship with a personal-best time of one minutes, 59.53 seconds.
"He basically ran his race," Thornton said. "Usually Aaron runs his race regardless of the competition. He is becoming a lot stronger runner as he gets more training."
With the cold weather now behind, Thornton said that the training will begin to pick up. He hopes to cut about six more seconds off Coleman's time before the Region 4-AAAA championship later this month.
Last season, Coleman won the 800 with a time of 2:01.25 after finishing as county runner-up. He was second at state with a time of 1:59.93 at the Class AAAA in Jefferson.
"My training has been more distance based this season," Coleman said. "At the county meet, I knew someone would be close to me. That was the best competition that I've had all season. It was great winning county with this being my senior year."
Last October, Coleman was ninth at the state cross country championship with a time of 16:56 in Carrollton. He had also placed ninth at the region meet.
Thornton said the weather hasn't been a concern in formatting a training program.
"It has been a disadvantage to all the runners," Thornton said. "Regardless if it is two degrees or 80 degrees, you have to put the workout in."
Coleman, who has yet to sign with a school, has also added the 1,600 to his responsibilities. He had a time of 4:30.49, which shaved 17.51 seconds off his previous best, to finish fourth overall at the county meet.
"We just asked him to try it this season, and he did," Thornton said. "He is having a good season."
GIRL NOTES: Mount Zion senior and Auburn signee Alycia Prior had a time of 11.77 seconds to win the prestigious Mobile Challenge of Champions meet at St. Episcopal High in Mobile, Ala. last week. It came on the heels of winning the 100 and 200 events at the Clayton County Championships last week at Southern Crescent Stadium.