JEFFERSON — The Jefferson High boys track and field team proved that it doesn’t take tremendous depth to win a state title: You just have to make the most of your opportunities.
Even though only four Dragons scored points for the team, Jefferson still managed to capture the Class AA team title with 41 points at the Georgia Olympics on Saturday at Jefferson Memorial Stadium.
Derrick Perkins was the last to score points with a sixth place finish for the Dragons in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles (41.156 seconds), securing the victory over second-place Westminster (35). He also placed fourth in the 110 hurdles earlier in the day (15.012).
“We have high-quality athletes,” Jefferson coach Tim Corbett said. “We just don’t have a lot of folks.”
The stage was set for the Dragons’ win with state titles from Josh Kles in the shot put (56-feet, 2.5-inches) and discus (158-2) during the first day of the meet on Thursday. Tyler Porter also grabbed the state title the same day in the pole vault (16-7.25).
“Josh and Tyler really did it when it counted,” Corbett said.
Meanwhile, Buford shot up to a 12th-place finish Saturday behind a wealth of runners taking to the track. C.J. Moore, a state placer in 2009, placed fourth in the 100 (10.88) and his teammate Eric Barr was fifth (10.96). Tyshawn Holley placed eighth in the 110 hurdles (15.64).
Then in the 400 relay, Moore, Barr, Seon Jones, Holley and Jamal English teamed to finish fourth (42.56). It was the first time that Buford’s relay team ran at state since 2007.
“I thought it was a good day,” Barr said. “I felt like I did as well as I could in the 100.”
Then in the wheelchair events, Buford’s Martinez Johnson took third in the 800 (3:25.68) and 200 (48.39).
In the 300 hurdles, Riverside Military’s Hyueng-Seo Oh placed fifth (40.71).
In Class AAA, Chestatee junior Emmanuel Ibarra ran a new personal best time of 1:57.86 in the 800, which was good enough for a fourth-place finish. He ran the race one second faster than his state-qualifying time, despite a nagging distraction during the race: part of the number on his bib came lose and stuck to the bottom of his shoe.
“Little tedious things like that can mess you up,” Ibarra said.
Despite a slow start to the race, he picked up his pace on the second lap, which fell in line with his race strategy and edged the fifth-place finisher from Creekview. After splitting time between track and soccer during the spring last season, he stopped soccer to focus on running and saw the results that he wanted to see. He wanted to focus on running the 800 for the War Eagles due to the connection with his coach, Wes Wessely.
“Running the 800 is just the combination of sprint and distance,” Ibarra said. “It’s a practiced pace”.
In the 300 hurdles, East Hall junior Kerry Mata finished fifth in the state with a time of 39.49. Mata rebounded from a knee injury during the season’s first meet and came back in time for final two meets leading into Region 7-AAA.
“I’m hoping to go good next season and represent East Hall well,” Mata said.
Jackson County senior Charles Smothers placed sixth in the 100 (11.069).
The Gainesville High 400 relay team of Blake Sims, Chris West, Justin Owens and Paul Malquist took seventh (42.95).
In Class A, Commerce’s Deon Brock took second in the 110 high hurdles (14.86), Terick Ramsey placed seventh in the 100 (11.19), and the 400 meter relay team placed eighth.
NOTES: Mitchell County’s Justin Scott-Wesley earned a state title in the 100 and 200 in Class AA on Saturday. His time of 10.35 in the 100 was the nation’s fifth fastest time this season and second fasted in meet history. Then on the podium after winning the 200, he put on a University of Georgia hat, handed to him by a teammate, and made a verbal commitment to play football at the University of Georgia. He is Georgia’s ninth verbal commitment for the Class of 2011.