Gators claim county tennis title|[05/06/07]

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 6, 2007

From Jeff Byrd

PEARL – Courtney Prentiss made sure there was no doubt about the result in her last race in Missy Gator green.

The Vicksburg High senior closed out her outstanding prep career by winning the Class 5A girls 200 meter dash Saturday at the state meet at Pearl High. It was the only gold medal won on the day by a local athlete, but six other individuals and a relay team earned medals.

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Hinds AHS, meanwhile, saw its two-year reign as Class 2A boys champions end. The WarDawgs finished third but did play a part in setting up a wild finish for the 2A crown when they edged out Rosedale in the 4×400 relay. Rosedale finished second to get eight points which was enough to tie J.Z. George of Carrollton for the team title with 115 points.

Thanks to Prentiss’ gold in the 200, the Missy Gators finished third in the team standings behind first-time champ Madison Central and runner-up Columbus. Vicksburg had been the state runner-up for the past three years but was not expected to get in the top three this time after the loss of Ole Miss signee Rachel Jenkins.

&#8220It was a downfall not to have Rachel here because we only had one person in the field and that would’ve given us two people, but it still would’ve been hard for us to have won the team championship,” Prentiss said.

&#8220It felt good to win the 200. I still don’t know what happen to me in the 100,” she said of the shocking result that left her with silver while Madison Central’s Candace Polk took the gold. It was the closest race of the day as Polk &#8220officially” clocked a 11.95 time to Prentiss’ 11.96.

&#8220She didn’t beat me. She was behind me,” Prentiss said, emphatically. &#8220But if doesn’t bother me. If they want to give it to her, then give it to her.”

After leading the Missy Gators to a third place finish in the 4×200 relay, Prentiss had time to get some rest for her final race, the 200 meters. She came out of the turn with the lead and a strong finishing kick left Polk at least a yard behind her. The winning time was 24.87 seconds.

&#8220I wasn’t worried about Polk in that race. I thought the Natchez girl (Ke’Arra Jones) would push me, but she never showed up,” Prentiss said.

Stephanie Wright closed her VHS career with silver in the 300 intermediate hurdles and a bronze in the 110 hurdles.

&#8220I’m just glad to medal in my last race,” said Wright who finished ahead of teammate Miniimah Hasain in the 300 hurdles. &#8220I definitely plan on running next year either at Alcorn State or Ole Miss.”

The Vicksburg boys got a second place finish from Carlos Williams in the shot put and Michael Cooper was third in the 400 meter dash.

Warren Central got a close second place finish from Geroid Chambliss in the 110 hurdles. He was beaten by a step by division rival Martin Lee of Greenville-Weston who won despite being the seventh seed in the race.

&#8220He beat me when it counted. I had beaten him before in the division and the regional meet. The guy from Starkville (Antione Liscomb) didn’t run because he shattered his ankle earlier in the day in the long jump,” Chambliss said.

The WC Lady Vikes had a pair of bronze medals. Samantha Butler was third in the long jump with a leap of 17-feet, 7 inches while Condrea Collins was a surprising third in the 800 meter run.

Hinds’ Derrick Steele was one of the day’s best performers. He turned in a state best triple jump of 48 feet, 1/2 inch to win the first of three gold medals. He also won the long jump in 23 feet, 6 inches and the 300 hurdles in 39.55 seconds.

&#8220This is a really good surface for me to jump in and I think that’s why I broke 48-feet today,” Steele said. &#8220Most of the places we’ve ran at this year didn’t have good jump pits or boards. I like the one here.”

Steele said the WarDawgs were denied a third straight team title because of disqualifications at two preceding meets.

&#8220Our 4×100 team was DQed at the regional meet and I was DQed in the 110 (hurdles) at South State. We also lost our shot-putter and we had no one in the 100.”

Jerrica Thomas led the Lady WarDawgs with a pair of golds winning both the long jump and triple jump.