Viking runners shine at relays

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 22, 2004

Hinds AHS hurdler Brandon Harris, left, leaps over one of the final barriers on his way to a second-place finish in the 100 meter hurdles at the BancorpSouth Relays on Saturday. At right is Greenville’s Terrance Gordon, who placed fifth. (Jenny SevcikThe Vicksburg Post)

[3/21/04]Larry Warner and Fred Payne are turning into a formidable combination for Warren Central.

The two Vikings took first and second place, respectively, in the triple jump for the third straight meet, and helped the 4×100 meter relay team to a first-place finish and the 4×200 team to a second-place effort at the Bancorp South Relays Saturday at Vicksburg High.

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Payne also won the 200 meter dash as WC finished second to Natchez in the team standings, 116.5-109.5.

“Those guys, Larry and Fred, have done this for three years. They’re our veterans,” WC coach Larry Tyrone said.

The Vikings also got strong performances in several other events. Larry Thomas was second in the high jump and Robert Warner was second in the long jump. Joseph Glapion and Skylar Wilson took second and third in the pole vault, respectively.

Robert Warner has finished first or second in the long jump in each of WC’s three meets, Thomas has been second in the high jump in all three meets, and Glapion has two second-place efforts under his belt.

The strong performances in the field events have made WC a team to watch early in the season. Tyrone cautioned, however, that it was still too early to gauge where everyone stacks up.

“This is really the first one where you compete against the 5A competition you’re going to see the rest of the season. You really find out where you’re strong and where you’re weak,” Tyrone said.

One of the strongest runners in the state made a blazing return to the track on Saturday. Vicksburg’s Maurice Taylor, the defending state champion in the 100 meters, won that race with a time of 10.79 seconds.

He joined distance runner James Wood as the Gators’ only winners. Wood won the 1-mile and 800 meter runs to help VHS to a fifth-place team finish, with 80 points. It was Vicksburg’s first meet of the season.

“He competed well last year, and just picked it up from where he was last year,” VHS coach Bobby Huell said of Wood.

Hinds AHS was sixth in the team standings, but had one of the meet’s wilder wins.

During the 4×400 meter relay, the War Dawgs were comfortably in the lead until anchorman Brandon Harris fumbled the exchange from Albert Williams. Harris stayed calm and picked up the baton as it rolled off the track, then proceeded to blow away the field on his relay leg, leading HAHS to an easy win.

St. Al finished last in the eight-team meet with 20 points. It got all of its scoring from a pair of winners, Austin Golding in the pole vault and Scott Fife in the 2-mile run. Golding cleared 12 feet, while Fife cruised home in 11 minutes, 39.24 seconds.

The Flashes don’t have a track to practice on at their school, and coach Mike Jones said that has affected the team’s preparation this spring.

St. Al’s girls’ team also struggled, totaling just four points. The Lady Flashes didn’t have a finish higher than sixth place.

“It’s hard to prepare ourselves when you don’t have a track to run on,” Jones said. “That’s what we use these meets for, is to get the practice in that we’re not getting in.”

Like their male counterparts, Warren Central’s girls dominated in the field events.

Ebon Williams won the discus, Amanda Doyle won the triple jump, and Saleda Montgomery was second in the long jump to spur the Lady Vikes to 54 points and a sixth-place finish.

All three athletes were participating in their first meet since joining the team after the end of basketball season two weeks ago. Half of the Lady Vikes’ track roster also played basketball, which has made it difficult to practice, coach Andrea Fairchild said.

“They have it. They just need to move into that track mentality. We’re really looking toward two weeks from now to get going, which just happens to be the Coca-Cola (Relays),” Fairchild said, referring to WC’s home meet on April 3.

Vicksburg had no first-place finishes, but collected four seconds and two thirds to total 69 1/2 points. That was good for fourth place overall, behind Natchez, Gentry and Wesson.

VHS may have finished better, but nearly half its team left early to get ready for the school prom on Saturday night. Missy Gators coach Deborah Brown said she didn’t mind her athletes leaving, however.

“I can forgive them, because if I was a senior and it was prom night I would want my coach to let me go too,” Brown said, adding that she was treating Saturday’s meet as practice. “I just look at this as practice. This lets us know where we are and what we need to work on come Monday.”