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Lovejoy track running ahead of schedule

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Derrick Mahone

dmahone@news-daily.com

While he was building Riverdale into a county contender, Dwight Callaway was fully aware of the potential at rival Lovejoy.

Now, Callaway has an upclose perspective of the program as he is in his first season as the coach.

The Wildcats have won five of the six meets they have entered while placing second in the only meet they didn't win.

"So far, we are a little ahead of where I thought we would be," Callaway said. "We are so young. I thought it would be a couple of years before we stepped into this position. The kids have done real well, and they have been working extremely hard."

Last week, the team won the rain-shorten Clayton County Championships at Twelve Oaks Stadium. It was the third straight time that Callaway has led a team to the county title.

He was coach at Riverdale for the previous two county championships.

"I knew the talent pool was deep over here because of the football and basketball success," Callaway said. "I think they just needed some consistency to help turn the program around."

He said they have about 55 athletes on the varsity.

"We are probably the largest program on the southside," Callaway said.

OFF TRACK STRENGTH: Callaway said the team can hold its own on the track, but has real good strength in the field events. It was evident in winning county.

After the first day of running events, Lovejoy was down 107-79 to Morrow. However, the team got 122 points out of the field events to win the meet with 201 points as Morrow finished runner-up with 114 points.

The Wildcats swept the top three spots in the discus, shot put and pole vault events. Lovejoy had the winner in the long jump with Joe Marable. The team had competitors finish second and third in the triple jump and high jump.

"When it came to the field events, I knew we could light up the scoreboard," Callaway said.

The coach is particularly high on freshman Randy Anyanwa, who won the county discus. Senior Lamont Hardy won the shot put.

EVANS RUNNING WELL: Morrow junior Ayrian Evans is ranked among the top sprinters in the state, according the latest ratings on ga.milesplit.com. Evans has the third-fastest time in the state in the 200. He went 21.8 seconds at the Jerry Arnold Challenge last month.

He has a time of 48.73 in the 400, which is the sixth-fastest in the state.

"I'm having a real good season," Evans said. "I'm running a lot more relaxed this season."

Last season, Evans ran in the shadows of Wayman Storey, who is now at Georgia. Storey won the 200 event at the Class AAAAA meet last season, and was third in the 100.

Evans placed sixth with a time of 49.48 in the 400 at state last season.

"It was good having someone like Wayman on the team last season," Evans said. "I was able to watch and learn from him."