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Boys get an extra week to rest, prepare before state meet

By Derrick Mahone

dmahone@news-daily.com

The boys state track and field championship is still a week away, but the majority of the field has been set. Several regions ran their boys and girls championships together last week.

Coaches and athletes agree that the extra week before the boys state meet in Jefferson will be beneficial.

Dutchtown's Chris Austin is the lone Dutchtown boys runner to qualify for state after winning the 110 hurdles.

Bulldogs coach Nicholas Walker said Davis will get a lot of one-on-one instructions since he will be the only one at practice.

"Next week will be a good week for preparation," Walker said. "We just focus on one event with Chris. You move from a team focus to the individual."

For Mount Zion sprinter Quartterrio Morgan, the extra week will give him more time to heal a hamstring injury that sidelined him for nearly a month.

Morgan sustained his injury at the Clayton County Championships, but healed enough in time to finish as Region 4-AAAA runner-up in the 400-meters last week at Southern Crescent Stadium.

"I think I'll be back at 100 percent come state," Morgan said. "I think I'll be able to run a good time."

Mount Zion coach Barry Howard is hopeful.

"He is a tough kid," he said. "His focus has improved each week since the injury. I think he is ready to perform at the level he was at before the injury."

The following is a look at each region involving Southern Crescent teams:

Region 4-AAAAA: Riverdale finished second in the 1,600 relay to Morrow, but it give the Raiders enough points to win the region championship. Going into the meet's final event, Riverdale trailed leader Chapel Hill 135.5-133.

Chapel Hill took fourth in the relay, and coupled with its runner-up finish, Riverdale won the meet 141-140.5 at Westlake High School earlier in the week.

Riverdale had five participants to qualify in eight events for the state meet. Both of the team's relays also qualified with region runner-up finishes.

Individuals qualifying for the Raiders were Juwhan Arnold (discus), LaVelle Westbrooks (long jump and triple jump), Tony Warren (triple jump and 400), DeAndre McBride (100 and 200) and Sylvester Baisden (110 hurdles).

Region 4-AAAA: Led by Auburn signee Alycia Prior, Mount Zion won its first region championship since the 2004 season. Prior won the 100 and 200 events and anchored both relay teams to championships.

Region 4-AAA: Host Woodward swept the boys and girls title, but Eagle's Landing boys finished runner-up. Drew athletes Vernezia James, Shian Williams and Timothy Barnes made school history by qualifying for the state meets.

They become the first three in school history to qualify for the meet. James was runner-up in the 100 hurdles and long jump and won the triple jump with a leap of 35-feet, seven inches. Williams was runner-up in the discus.

Barnes had a time of 11.14 seconds in the 100 to win the region championship.

Region 4-AA: The Henry County boys captured the region title with 121 points at Thompson Stadium in Macon to edge out Northeast-Macon, which finished with 117 points.

Winning region championships for the Warhawks were Devante Peace in the 110 and 300 hurdles, Darnell Brown (400 meters), and Sonny Williams (discus).

Also earning a spot in the state meet as a region runner-up were Bryant (800) and Kavon Sadler (pole vault).

On the girls' side, Henry County finished runner-up to Northeast. In all, the Lady Hawks had six participants to qualify for the state meet in Albany.

Region 7-A: After missing the region championship last season due to the swine flu outbreak, Eagle's Landing Christian Academy made up for lost time.

The Chargers finished as region runner-up with six individuals in seven events qualifying for the state meet. Symone Ball was named region MVP.