Mt. Zion senior Austin Smith was the male high-point winner at the Clayton County Track and Field Championships with 28 points.
By Derrick Mahone
Most of the spectators and competitors were long gone.
The lights were on at Twelves Oaks Stadium on a chilly evening, not fitting for a track and field competition.
However, the handful of people still remaining were treated to a high jump duel between Austin Smith of Mount Zion and Lovejoy's Joe Marable in the last event at the Clayton County Track and Field Championships.
It wasn't until Smith cleared a personal-best 6-feet, four inches some three hours after the field events competition started that the meet came to an end.
And what a finish.
Marable decided to scratch on his last jump, which enabled Smith to win.
"I gave it my all," said Marable, a junior. "It was a good competition."
Marable won the long jump event a few feet away from the high jump area on his last jump of 21-feet, nine inches. Austin went 21-3.5, but scratched on his last jump.
"Man, I wish I had that back," Smith said. "But I'm happy for Joe. He deserved it."
Smith, a South Carolina State football signee, was the male high-point winner with 28 points while Kenya Collins of Mundy's Mill led all the female competitors with 28 points.
Lovejoy boys amassed 201 points to win the title, its first since 2003, and eighth overall in school history. The Wildcats entered the field events in second place with 79 points as Morrow led after Monday's rain-shorten running finals with 107 points. The Mustangs would add only seven points in the field events as Lovejoy dominated.
"I wasn't too worried about our points after the first day," Lovejoy coach Dwight Callaway said. "I knew we had a lot in the field events. I'm definitely pleased with our effort out here despite the could weather."
It was the third straight year that Callaway has led a team to the county boys championship, with his last two coming at Riverdale.
"I knew we had some talent over here," he said.
And it showed on both the track and in the field competition.
In addition to winning the long jump event, Lovejoy swept both the pole vault and discus events. The Wildcats placed second and third in the triple jump and went first and second in the shot put.
"Our goal now is to win the region," Callaway said. "We are getting better with each meet, and we should start to peak at the right time. We have won the four of the last five meets that we have entered."
Mundy's Mill had 136 points in winning the girls' championship with North Clayton finishing second at 101. Jonesboro was third with 85 points and Lovejoy had 74 points to finish fourth.
The Lady Tigers had 86 points coming out of Monday's running finals as Jonesboro was second with 71 points. North Clayton was able to score 49 points in the field to place second.
Collins won the 100 and 300 hurdles and was on both of the Lady Tigers' relay teams.
Smith won the won the high jump, triple jump and was second in the long jump. He called winning the high jump with a personal-best time the most gratifying of the meet.
"I'm overwhelmed with that," Smith said. "I definitely wasn't expecting this. I'm happy."
Individual results -- 100: S'Kayia Hampton, Jonesboro, 12.58. 200: S'Kayia Hampton, Jonesboro, 25.84. 400: Britney McBride, Jonesboro, 1:01.18. 800: Kanetria Kitchens, North Clayton, 2:27.4. 1,600: Evante Belardo, Forest Park, 5:55.36. 100 hurdles: Kenya Collins, Mundy's Mill, 15.22. 300 hurdles: Kenya Collins, Mundy's Mill, 49.21. 400 relay: Jonesboro, 49.73. 1,600 relay: Mundy's Mill, 4:13.45. High jump: Amani Richards, Morrow, 5-2. Pole vault: Roxie Carberry, Mount Zion, 8-7. Long jump: Shaprya Wilder, North Clayton, 16-8. Triple jump: Chelsea Johnson, Mundy's Mill, 35-1. Shot put: Kelsey Arnold, Jonesboro, 36-5.5. Discus: Jasmine Heath, Mundy's Mill, 105-0.
Team results -- Mundy's Mill 136, North Clayton 101, Jonesboro 85, Lovejoy 74, Mount Zion 67, Forest Park 51, Drew 46, Riverdale 24, Morrow 19.
Individual results -- 100: DeAndre McBride, Drew, 11.2. 200: Ayrian Evans, Morrow, 21.8. 400: Ayrian Evans, Morrow, 48.73. 800: Derrick Tucker, Morrow, 2:00.59. 1,600: Tyrone Stewart, Jonesboro, 9:46.55. 110 hurdles: Taurean Ferguson, Jonesboro, 14.94. 300 hurdles: Stanley McLaughlin, Lovejoy, 40.43. 400 relay: Drew 43.89. 1,600 relay: Morrow 3:26.79. High jump: Austin Smith, Mount Zion, 6-4. Pole vault: Joseph Mosely, 10-0. Long jump: Joe Marable, Lovejoy, 21-9. Triple jump: Austin Smith, Mount Zion, 44-11. Shot put: Lamont Hardy, Lovejoy, 47-0. Discus: Randy Anyanwu, Lovejoy, 140-11.
Team results -- Lovejoy 201, Morrow 114, Jonesboro 84, Drew 73, Mount Zion 59, Forest Park 28, Mundy's Mill 19. Riverdale 15.5, North Clayton 15.5.