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Photo finish in hurdles … but meet to be continued

Terry Cooper, foreground, and David Heard, Vicksburg High teammates, leap the final hurdle before finishing neck-and-neck in the 110-meter hurdles in the River Hills/Dr Pepper Relays at Vicksburg High Saturday. Cooper finished first, but the seven-team meet was stopped because of rain with five events remaining. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[03/26/01] Warren Central’s JaQuita Benard and Chase Grogan, and Vicksburg High’s Terry Cooper each won two events at Saturday’s Dr Pepper Relays, but Mother Nature claimed the most events.

Rain washed out the last five events, with WC leading VHS by 11 points in the boys’ standings and WC trailing Madison Central by seven on the girls’ side. The meet, hosted by VHS, was suspended until Thursday at 4 p.m.

“I hate it because it started off as such a beautiful day,” VHS boys’ coach Alonzo Stevens said. “But it’s good for us to be right where we are, coming back with our strongest suits ahead of us.”

The WC and VHS boys swapped first-place finishes, but the Vikings managed to hold the slim lead when the rain came.

Grogan’s wins in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters were balanced out by Cooper’s victories in the 110-meter hurdles and high jump. WC’s Roosevelt Truitt won the long jump with a leap of 22 feet, 41/2 inches, but VHS’ Willie Powers jumped 45-3 to win the triple-jump.

The Gators also won the 4×200 relay, beating WC by .16 seconds, and in the discus, with Robert Lewis’ throw of 129-5.

“Our 400, our 800, our mile relay and our 300 hurdles are going to be our strong suit … so we’re sitting right where we want to sit,” Stevens said. “I know the two of us (VHS and WC) will be there.”

The success of the WC girls was the biggest surprise of the day.

Led by Benard’s wins in the shot put (34-6) and the discus (106-11), the Lady Vikes accumulated 87 points despite missing five runners because of other school functions.

WC’s Wanda Calvin won the 100-meter hurdles (:17.6), while Wendy Thomas won the long jump (17-81/2) and was also second in the 100-meter dash by .02 seconds.

WC coach Andrea Fairchild said she was looking forward to the chance to overtake MC.

“This is the first time we’ve had a shot at Madison Central … We’ll give it the old college try,” she said.

VHS was a distant third in the girls’ standings, with 50 points.

“I feel like we could have made up some ground if we finished, but probably not enough to maybe move us into second or first place,” VHS girls’ coach Eric Solis said.