Photo by Heather Middleton
By Derrick Mahone
Before last season, Jonesboro girls' track and field coach Tim Floyd had heard rumors about the talents of S'kayia Hampton, who was making a name for herself at the nearby middle school.
Floyd wasn't ready to pass judgment until he saw the sprinter in person.
Judging from last season, and what she has done so far this season, it's easy to see why he has been impressed.
"I heard stories about how good she was in middle school," Floyd said. "After the first few meets last season, I could tell she was the real deal. She proved it at state."
As a freshman, Hampton was runner-up to former Mount Zion standout Alycia Prior, who is a freshman at Auburn this season. Hampton was third in the 200 event.
"Yes, I was a little surprised at how well I did," said the soft-spoken Hampton.
She has basically picked up were she left off last season. Hampton has the eighth-fastest time in the state, fourth-fastest in Class AAAA, according to the latest stats on ga.milesplit.com.
Floyd has high expectations for Hampton, who also anchors the squad's 400 relay team.
"She is very talented, and a hard worker also," Floyd said. "We you put those two combinations together, it makes for a good runner."
FAMILY TIES: It has been a good start to the season so far for the Vaughn siblings, who are members of the Union Grove squad.
Brianna Vaughn, a junior, was fourth at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in the 200 meters. She has the third-fastest time in the state in the 100 event this season.
"She has worked really hard and has matured as a runner," Union Grove coach Eric Daughtery said.
Vaughn's brother, Jordon, a senior, has the second-fastest time in the 100 event. Last weekend at the Eagle's Landing Chick-fil-A Invitational, he ran a 10.59 seconds in the 100.
"They are running real strong," Daughtery said of the Vaughns.
STRONG COMPETITION: This weekend, Union Grove will be one of three teams from the Southern Crescent that will compete in the annual Coaches Invitational at Georgia Tech.
The field, which has 64 teams, has some of the top programs from across the state and some out-of-town competition.
"We feel we can have a good showing," Daughtery said. "We got most of our varsity boys qualified."
SIMMS STILL STRONG: Although she has changed schools, Ciara Simms remains one of the top runners in the state. Last season, she competed at Luella, and ran a 12.1 seconds in the 100 to win the Class AAAAA title.
Simms is now at Dutchtown, where she has ran a 11.97 in the 100, the fastest time so far in the state.
Her time of 25.49 is the 12th-fastest in the 200.