Titans of the track
Published 1:15 am Saturday, May 9, 2015
Flashes, Lady Flashes win first team championships
PEARL — The school without a track has become the ruler of the sport.
DeMichael Harris won three individual gold medals, Alyssa Engel won two, and both the St. Aloysius boys and girls track teams brought home the team championship at the MHSAA Class 1A state meet on Friday.
It’s the first team state championship in the sport for both programs.
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“It feels so good. I’ve been waiting for this for six years, and never thought it was possible to be that team,” Engel, a senior, said.
Harris powered the Flashes to the boys championship by winning the 100, 200 and 400 meter dashes and finishing second in the triple jump.
He set the Class 1A record in the 100 meters with a time of 10.75 seconds, then set the record in the 400 meters with a time of 48.52 seconds.
The 400 time broke a Class 1A record that had stood for 37 years.
“That’s what I was pushing for, was the record in the 100,” Harris said. “Then in the 400 I looked up and it was 48.52 and that was the record too.”
Harris ran the 200 in 21.82 seconds. It wasn’t a record, but it did clinch the team title with one race to go in the meet.
The Flashes totaled 113 points, well ahead of runner-up John F. Kennedy’s 79. Ray Brooks was third, with 78.
Besides Harris’ big day, the Flashes got victories from Tae Warnsley in the 300 meter hurdles and from the 4×400 relay team of Warnsley, Connor Bottin, Lofton Varner and Emanuel Islam.
Warnsley was also second in the 110 meter hurdles, and the Flashes medaled in 10 of the 14 events they competed in. They only finished worse than fifth in one event.
St. Al’s other boys’ medalists were Luke Eckstein (third in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters) and Josh Price (second in the discus).
The victory in the 4×400 relay, the last event of the meet, put an exclamation point on the championship. The relay team hadn’t lost all season, and didn’t want to let up in the grand finale.
“It was real important to win it,” Warnsley said. “We hadn’t lost all season and didn’t want to lose today. We wanted to end it on a good note.”
The Lady Flashes won five events, medaled in another, and totaled 87 points. Tupelo Christian Prep was second with 71 points, John F. Kennedy was third with 70, and Coldwater fourth with 69.
Engel reclaimed her long jump championship — she’d won it in 2013 and lost last year — with a leap of 17 feet, 11 inches. She also won in the triple jump.
Maggie Waites took first in the pole vault, while seventh-grader Madelyn Polk was a double winner in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs.
Polk won the 1,600 with a time of 5 minutes, 53.33 seconds, and the 3,200 in 12:53.71. Both were more than 20 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.
“It’s kind of weird. You don’t really expect it,” Polk said of winning two state championships as a seventh-grader. “I’m probably going to keep doing this throughout high school. I’m going to try to beat the 1A record.”
Those victories, along with a second-place effort by Olivia Curtis in the high jump, accounted for 58 of St. Al’s points. The rest came from sheer numbers.
The Lady Flashes competed in 13 of the meet’s 17 events. Even though they only won medals in about half of them, the points from the lower finishes added up and carried them over the top to the team title.
“Everybody came together,” St. Al coach Keiko Booth said. “They knew it was all about the team today, and not so much the individual effort. I think that’s what all of them were focused on.”