VHS’ Williams buries field for 4A shot-put title|[05/10/08]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 10, 2008

Missy Gators still looking for elusive crown

PEARL – Carlos Williams put the shot close to his ear, spun and threw. As the 12-pound steel ball clunked to the earth more than 50 feet away, Williams unleashed a shout as mighty as his throw. Both served notice that this was his day, and everyone else was playing for second place.

Williams bested his nearest challenger by 5 1/2 feet to win the boys shot put and cap an undefeated season with his first state championship Friday at the Class 4A state meet at Pearl High School. Williams tossed the shot 53 feet, 2 1/4 inches. Gautier’s Ezell Hardy was second, with a throw of 47-8 1/2, and Moss Point’s Darrion Simpson was third at 47-3 3/4.

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“I’m just so happy and so excited, I can’t even speak,” Williams said.

Williams’ first throw was the shortest of his six attempts, other than an out of bounds scratch on his final try. It traveled 49 feet, 8 inches and was more than enough to win. He threw at least 51 feet on all four of his other valid tries, with the official distance coming on his fourth throw.

By then, the competition was long over. As Ezell and Simpson battled for second, Williams kept putting their solid attempts to shame with his heaves.

“I don’t doubt nobody, but I told them from the jump they weren’t going to beat me,” Williams said.

State championsClass 2AHinds AHS boysKenderek Washington (high jump)Cedrick Thompson (110 hurdles and 300 hurdles)Hinds AHS girlsTanesha Clark (long jump)Class 4AVicksburg High girlsBriana Jones (long jump, 800 meter relay)Kamiko Martin, Kina Hasain, Jazmine Walker (800 relay)

Unfortunately, Williams’ victory was one of the few bright spots for Vicksburg. The Gators finished in a tie for fourth with Moss Point in the team standings. VHS had a chance to finish alone in fourth, but opted not to run in the 1,600-meter relay, the day’s final event. Moss Point finished fourth to pull even with the Gators, while Pearl won it to take the team title.

The odd ending wasn’t the only disappointment for a Vicksburg team on Friday.

Briana Jones won state titles in the long jump and as part of the 800-meter relay team, and finished second in the 100- and 200-meters, but the Missy Gators failed to pull in an elusive team championship yet again. Vicksburg ended up third, behind champion McComb and West Jones, for its sixth consecutive finish in the top three – all without a championship.

“Had we just had the fight in us that we did in district, regionals, and North State, we would have won,” Vicksburg coach Deborah Brown said, before calling out her star athlete. “You have to be able to run with people ahead of you. Briana disappointed me as a coach. Had she kept going, she could have beaten the girl from West Jones.”

Jones was beaten in the 100 and 200 by West Jones’ Kristin Bridges. Jones false-started in the 100 and then got a bad jump out of the blocks on her second try, forcing her to play catch-up. She closed to within about 10 feet of Bridges, but couldn’t catch her. Bridges crossed the line in 11.65 seconds, and Jones in 11.77.

In the 200, it was a similar story. Jones nearly false-started again, then fell behind heading into the last 100 meters. Despite getting within about 15 feet again, she couldn’t catch the speedy Bridges and lost by about a half-second. Bridges ran the race in 24.39 seconds, Jones in 24.87.

Brown said she thought Jones gave up toward the end, but Jones said competing in four events and the fast pace of the meet caught up to her.

“Everything is moving so fast. There’s no time for breaks. As soon as something finishes, you get up to run again,” Jones said. “We were just head-to-head until the end. I started cramping a little at the end.”

As Jones draped her second silver medal around her neck, to go along with two golds, she tried to look at the positives from the day. She long jumped 18 feet, 11 inches to win the state title in that event, then ran a strong anchor leg to carry the 800 meter relay team to victory. Jazmine Walker, Kina Hasain and Kamiko Martin were also on the relay.

“It’s really a good day because I dropped my time,” Jones said.

Hasain also finished third in the 300-meter hurdles, and the 1,600-meter relay team of Martin, Kameesa Smith, Kourtney Jones and Meredith Stirgus finished third.

“I’m glad Kina, as a senior, is going out with her state championship,” Brown said.

A team championship also proved elusive for Hinds AHS in the Class 2A boys meet. The War Dawgs were neck-and-neck with J.Z. George all day, until George pulled away late to win 120-107. West Bolivar was third, with 99 points.

The key race was the 800 meter run, when J.Z. George’s Maurice Robinson and Jarmal Jenkins finished third and fourth, respectively, to take a 10-point lead with only two events remaining.

“I always tell people if you’re good from the 800 down, you’re going to win the track meet,” Hinds coach Michael Fields said.

Despite the loss, Fields was happy with the runner-up finish in what he considered a rebuilding year. Hinds won the 2006 championship and was third in 2007. This year, they got state titles from Kenderek Washington in the high jump, and Cedrick Thompson in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles.

Tanesha Clark won the girls’ long jump for Hinds.

“It’s bittersweet, but we’ll take it. We overachieved this year,” Fields said. “I was pleased with them. That’s indicative of the hard work they’ve put in all year. That just shows we’re ready to get back on top.”