Tennessee junior Jangy Addy isn't the best decathlete Norcross High School has produced, simply because Stephen Harris set the bar so high.
But Addy is fairing pretty well in his own right, winning the SEC decathlon title last weekend at the SEC Outdoor Championships. Although it's tough to follow Harris at Tennessee, where he was a four-time All-American decathlete, Addy is improving in an event that's still relatively new to him.
In high school, Addy was mainly a hurdler who occasionally did the high jump or a relay in addition to being a four-year member of the Blue Devils' basketball team. When he got to Tennessee, the coaches began training him as a decathlete.
"It was definitely difficult, it was a challenge," Addy said of the transition to the decathlon. "I just went into it with an open mind, just trying to learn. It's a great place to learn up here with guys like Stephen Harris and five other decathletes. Olympian Tom Pappas was still around when I first got here."
Because of his background, Addy does well in the hurdles as well as the sprints and jumps, but he also has developed into an effective thrower. If he struggles, it's usually with the pole vault.
The team captain's toughest events at SEC were eighth-place decathlon finishes in the pole vault (11 feet, 113⁄4 inches) and the 1,500-meter run (5 minutes, 14.01 seconds). Yet he dominated in other events, tallying a personal-best score of 7,461 points, an NCAA qualifying score that ranks him among the top five nationally in the event.
Addy won the decathlon discus (157-4, 40 feet better than the runner-up) and javelin (192-9), and added a school record in the decathlon shot put. He also won the 110 hurdles with a meet record time of 14.31.
The strong showing gives him high hopes for the upcoming NCAA Championships.
"I just want to try to do what I've been doing and see what happens," Addy said.
TRACK AND FIELD
Turchin earns NCAA mark
North Gwinnett grad Kathleen Turchin qualified for the upcoming NCAA Mideast Regional by winning the 5,000-meter run last weekend at Georgia Tech.
An All-American in cross country, Turchin won the 5,000 in 16:38.76, slightly more than 23 seconds faster than her nearest competitor and well under the NCAA qualifying time of 16:52. Her winning time was six seconds off the track record at Tech. SOFTBALL
Three South grads make Southern Conference team
South Gwinnett grads Jenny Side and Samantha Russo of Georgia Southern and Blake Murray of Furman were named to the 10-player All-Southern Conference Tournament fastpitch softball team.
Side hit .320 with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs in the tourney and also hit nine home runs this season for the second-highest total in school history. She had a team-high 27 RBIs, playing every inning of the Eagles' 61 games.
Russo hit .375 with six RBIs in the conference tourney for runner-up Georgia Southern, including a walk-off double vs. Western Carolina and a two-run homer vs. eventual champion Furman.
Murray, who plays for Furman, was 10-17 this season with a 3.24 ERA as a pitcher and also had a homer and eight RBIs at the plate.
Bandy, Emory earn World Series trip
Duluth grad Kim Bandy and her Emory University fastpitch softball team advanced to this weekend's Division III World Series.
Bandy, a sophomore, hit .440 this season with three home runs and team highs of 34 RBIs, four triples and 13 stolen bases (in 13 attempts). She also has 11 doubles.
As a freshman Bandy made the All-Atlantic Region team after hitting .331 with two homers and 35 RBIs. She also was 10-for-10 in stolen bases as a freshman.
Rogers named All-South
Alabama outfielder Brittany Rogers, a Dacula grad, was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association's All-South Region team this week.
The sophomore, also a first-team All-SEC selection, has made the All-South first team her first two years of college.
Rogers led the SEC with 58 runs scored and hit .415, fourth-best in the league. She also had a school-record 44 stolen bases this season.
Howard makes All-Region
Georgia College pitcher Matt Howard, a North Gwinnett grad, was named second-team All-South Atlantic Region as was teammate Hans Stancil, who attended Parkwood Christian Academy in Lilburn.
Howard was 9-0 with a 1.32 ERA this season with 61 strikeouts in 542⁄3 innings. Stancil hit .381 with 43 runs, 23 stolen bases and 20 RBIs.
Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting the achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via e-mail to will.hammock@gwinnett
dailypost.com or via fax to 770-339-8081.