St. Al, Warren Central endure tough day at state meet|[05/11/08]

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 11, 2008

PEARL – Through two laps Saturday, Adam Thornton was running just a few steps behind McAdams’ Patrick Lewis. By the time they hit the backstretch of lap No. 3, Lewis was starting to pull away. When they crossed the finish line, he was a distant figure on the horizon.

It was that kind of day for Warren County’s athletes at the MHSAA state track meet. Despite their best efforts, there was always someone just a little stronger or a little faster. None of the athletes from St. Aloysius or Warren Central, competing in the Class 1A and 5A meets respectively, finished higher than fourth in their events.

“It’s about what I expected. But when you get to this point you’re proud of them all. There’s no down moment to being at the state meet,” said St. Al coach Mike Jones, who had athletes qualify in only five events. “You’re top eight in the state in your class. That’s a lot to be said.”

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While no one from St. Al or WC were favored to win state titles based on their qualifying times, Thornton and WC’s Condrea Collins both made strong runs in the 1,600 meters before fading late.

Collins was running second for most of her race before being passed on the last lap by Biloxi’s Shannen Weyer. As Collins cruised toward the finish line, Tupelo’s Maggie McFerrin caught her by running the last 100 meters in a dead sprint, and took the bronze medal. Collins finished with a time of 5 minutes. 37.47 seconds, one second behind McFerrin. Madison Central’s Katelyn Walker won the race in 5:31.72.

Collins, WC’s only athlete at the meet – boy or girl – also finished seventh in the 800 meter run.

In the Class 1A boys 1,600 meter run, Thornton stayed with Lewis through two laps before the eventual champion left him behind. Thornton was sixth by the end of the third lap, and that’s where he finished. Thornton crossed the line in 5:23.03, Lewis in 5:00.46 after he sprinted the last 100 meters.

“My legs just started getting tired. I was trying to tire him out. It didn’t work,” said Thornton, a junior. “Hopefully it’ll make me do better next year.”

Thornton also ran the 800 meters, and finished eighth. In the boys shot put, St. Al’s Price Blagg was seventh, with a throw of 39 feet, 9 inches. Chip Donald finished fifth in the high jump with a height of 5 feet, 10 inches.

In the Class 1A girls’ meet, St. Al’s Stephanie Howington was eighth in the 400 meters with a time of 1:13.63.