JEFFERSON — One state title just wasn’t going to suffice for Daniel Drummond.
The desire to dominate the throws at the track and field state meet was enough to keep the Flowery Branch senior from enrolling early on his football scholarship at Georgia Tech.
Drummond made his commitment pay off, winning the Class AAA state titles in the discus (169 feet, 6 inches) and the shot put (57-6.5) during the first day of the Georgia Olympics on Thursday at Jefferson Memorial Stadium.
“This feels great to be able to come out and win state titles in both events,” Drummond said. “I feel really relieved.”
What makes his pair of state titles even more impressive is the fact that the defending state champ in the discus is coming off a pulled hamstring he sustained before the Region 7-AAA meet. In fact, he wasn’t able to throw in the two weeks between the region and state meet.
“Daniel is a very dedicated kid,” Flowery Branch coach Jimmy Sorrells said. “He’s a very mentally tough competitor.”
Drummond left little doubt that his hamstring was fine when he put up his best throw with his third attempt in the discus. He also took control in shot put with his best throw in the first attempt.
North Hall’s Peyton Wilhoite, a junior, took third place in the discus (159-11), which is a personal best by 12 feet. His previous best was a 147-11 at the Region 7-AAA meet two weeks ago.
“I’m shocked to get a personal best by 12 feet,” Wilhoite said. “I’ve been getting better and better each meet.”
Gainesville’s Paul Malquist emerged the Class AAA state champion in the pole vault with a 15-6. Last year’s state runner-up was pitted against St. Pius’ Nikita Kirillov with both hitting their mark at 15-0.
When the bar was raised to 15-6, Malquist, a junior, hit it on his first attempt. Kirillov faulted on his three attempts.
Malquist’s first attempt was at 14-0 after two other two competitors in the field from Woodward Academy failed to hit at 13-6. Gainesville’s vaulter cleared 14, 14-6, 15 and 15-6 without any missed attempts.
“It feels really good to win here at state,” Malquist said. “I like having other good competition to compete against.”
In the 1,600 meter finals, North Hall senior Nolan Clark finished second with a time of 4:25.33. The Trojans’ distance runner jumped in front of Columbus’ Charlie Sparks right as they hit the finish line. Clark finished behind Spalding’s Will Ficklin, who didn’t take the lead until the final 100. Clark led his first of two distance races this weekend after the 400, 800 and 1,200 mark in the race.
“I’m the second place pony,” Clark said. “I’m just not fast enough to keep up the pace on the 1,600 … the 3,200 is my race.”
North Hall’s Ty McCormack took fifth in the 1,600 (4:30.88).
Jefferson’s Tyler Porter won the Class AA state title in the pole vault (15-0).
Gainesville’s Chris West placed eighth in Class AAA and Buford’s Demonte Nelson finished eighth in Class AA each with a 6-2 in the high jump.
Habersham Central’s Justin Fleming finished tied for fifth in the high jump (6-2) and Nick MacMillian placed fifth for the Raiders in the discus (146-4).
Jefferson’s Josh Kles finished fifth in the discus (145-3).
Day 2 of the Georgia Olympics includes the finals of the 3,200 and heat races.