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Lovejoy, Mount Zion should decide county championship

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Lovejoy coach Dwight Callaway will be going for his fifth straight Clayton County Track and Field Championship this week when the meet starts today at Tara Stadium.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Lovejoy coach Dwight Callaway will be going for his fifth straight Clayton County Track and Field Championship this week when the meet starts today at Tara Stadium.

JONESBORO — There are nine high schools in Clayton County, but the county track and field championship will likely be a two-team race.

From all indications, Lovejoy and Mount Zion should emerge as the top contenders for the boys championship, which begins today at Tara Stadium.

“Unless something happens to either of our buses on the way over, we should be the top teams,” Mount Zion coach Jason Battles said Monday afternoon at Twelve Oaks Stadium.

“I think everyone pretty much realizes that we will be battling for the top spots.”

Lovejoy coach Dwight Callaway agreed.

“Mount Zion has been looking good,” Callaway said. “Mundy’s Mill has shown that they have a lot of fight.”

Lovejoy will be going for its third straight title, while Callaway will be going for his fifth straight. He coached Riverdale to two titles prior to becoming the head coach at Lovejoy.

Not only do the Wildcats have a large contingent of track and field participants, but they also have some quality within the group.

As a tune-up for the county championships, many teams participated in last Saturday’s Gary Townsend Invitational at Southern Crescent Stadium. Lovejoy placed first in the boys championship with 74 points while Mount Zion was second with 73 points.

Battles pointed out that he was missing a couple of participants, including jumper J.R. Holder, a former standout on the basketball team.

“We held back some because we were saving it for the county meet,” Battles said.

“We just have to stay focused,” Mount Zion junior sprinter Marquett Simmons said. “We know Lovejoy is going to be strong.”

Callaway praised his 400-meters relay team for its second place finish at the Gary Townsend Invitational to defending state champion Creekside, which features standout sprinter Evan Berry. Creekside won it at 42.84 seconds with Lovejoy coming in second at 43.06 seconds.

Lovejoy’s relay is composed of Cinwon Whitehead, Jeff Murphy, Jarrett Williams and Tavarg Cooper. Whitehead, Murphy and Williams are seniors and members of the school’s Class AAAAAA state runner-up football team.

“We lost to Creekside by a footstep,” Callaway said. “This relay team is pretty strong.”

But Mount Zion says don’t count them out of the running for the county title.

“It’s all about family with us right now,” Andrew Nsuk said. “We feel confident in our ability to win county because we came together over the summer, and during the offseason and really bonded as a team. We’re able to encourage each other and pick each other up and that motivates you. Any time you can tell someone they can do something and that they can get better it makes you feel like you can do better.”