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Prep track and field: Drummond, Clark win state titles
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JEFFERSON ­­— The Flowery Branch boys track and field team got state titles from junior Daniel Drummond in the discus (171 feet, nine inches), and Otis Clark won the Class AAA state title in the high jump (6-8) to take the lead after the first day of the state meet (28 points) Thursday at Jefferson Memorial Stadium.

Flowery Branch, which has 28 points, leads second place Sandy Creek (21.5), Westover (18) and Westminster (12).

“It’s been a good start,” Flowery Branch coach Jimmy Sorrells said. “If you look at how we qualified on paper you’d expect 28 points, and I’m glad it played out that way.”

Drummond accounted for 18 first-day points, with 10 in the discus and eight for his second place finish in the shot put (55-9). He increased on his distance in the discus (165-0) from the Region 7-AAA meet, and was almost right on line with his state qualifier in the shot put (55-10.5).

Last year, Flowery Branch’s new track and field star placed sixth in state in the discus for West Hall.

“This is what I wanted to do today,” Drummond said, “I earned 18 points for my team, and we have a lot of guys in events, so we have some good chances to earn points.”

North Hall’s Nick Long also came away with a state title, winning the 1,600-meter (four minutes, 25.11 seconds) in the final event of the day. Long’s title in the 1,600 goes along with his title in the 3,200 in his sophomore year.

Long has the opportunity to add another win for the Trojans when he competes in the 800 tomorrow.

“I didn’t get my personal record, but I’d rather take home gold than a new PR,” Long said. “It’s pretty exciting to win because this race is this the hardest.”

Flowery Branch can extend its points lead at the Georgia Olympics with athletes competing in the 400, 3,200, 800, 4x400 relay, 300-hurdles and 110-hurdles in the final two days of the meet.

Paul Malquist set a new school record for Gainesville and placed second in the pole vault (13-6).

“I was trying to change my form around, push up and push the bar down,” Malquist said. “I now know what the state competition is like, and now I can find a new pole and practice harder.”

The Red Elephants will participate in 200 and 400 relay today.

Jefferson’s Tyler Porter set a Class A record and won the state title in the pole vault (14-2). Dexter Morgan placed second for the Dragons in the discus (155-5).

West Hall’s Stephen Eckenroth earned third in the high jump (6-6).

Buford’s Demonte Nelson finished eighth in the Class AA high jump (6-2). Habersham Central’s Andrew Perry took eighth in AAAA’s discus (130-5).

Dawson County’s T.J. Byrd placed fifth in the Class AA pole vault (12-6). Commerce’s Chase Keller finished fifth in the long jump (20-11.75).

The Georgia Olympics continues at noon today with qualifying heats for all classifications. The finals in the 3,200 will run tonight.

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