STATE TRACK NOTES: With state title Abernathy now hopes to 'three-peat'

Staff Photo: John Bohn Micah Abernathy of Greater Atlanta Christian wins the Class AA 400 meter race during the state championship boys track meet held in Jefferson on Saturday.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Micah Abernathy of Greater Atlanta Christian wins the Class AA 400 meter race during the state championship boys track meet held in Jefferson on Saturday.

State placers

Click here for a full listing of Saturday's state placers.


Staff Photo: John Bohn Shiloh's Grant Swinton grimaces after winning the Class AAAAAA 400 meter race during the state championship boys track meet held in Jefferson on Saturday. Mill Creek's Michael Cheeks finished in second place in this race.

JEFFERSON -- Michah Abernathy never felt much of a challenge.

Even as the GAC sprinter came down the final stretch of his 400-meter state championship run, the rest of the Class AA field lagged a few steps behind and Abernathy sailed across the finish line in 50.14, a good four-tenths of a second ahead of runner-up Charles Mack from Wesleyan.

"I wanted to get out fast so I could hold a lead and let the race come back to me," Abernathy said. "The last 60 (meters) I just pushed it."

Abernathy fell short of a new PR, but will take a state title.

"I was just happy. This is my first time winning state," the sophomore said. "Hopefully, I can three-peat.

Lots of running for Littig

North Gwinnett's Andres Littig spent about 40 minutes in a car trying to keep his limbs loose, and hanging next to him was his prom tuxedo.

A state qualifier in the 800 and 1,600 relay, Littig brought along his tux and planned to shower in the Jefferson football fieldhouse before running to meet his date for dinner.

But running on the track came first.

Littig finished second in the 800 with a time of 1:55.12 -- not a great time, but one Littig was pleased with.

"I was hoping to win it," Littig said. "But what's rare about this field is I think there were about four or five guys out there that could say the same thing."

He was in the lead after the first 100, but Walton's Brian Sullivan took over from there and hung on down the stretch. Every runner in the field finished in less than two minutes.

"I got boxed in with 200 meters to go. I wasn't able to catch Sullivan," Littig said. "I'd like to think I had a pretty good kick, but in this weather I was trying to get every limb in my body to move as fast as I can."

Littig's relay team capped the state track meet with a time of 3:26.67, finishing second behind Mill Creek. From there, Littig kept running.

"I'm going to gun it to dinner," he said.

Photo finish

It ended so close, they had to go to the videotape.

In the first Gwinnett race of Saturday's rainy championships, Buford and Elbert County finished with identical times of 42.95 seconds in the 400-meter relay, forcing official to look at the monitor to see who finished first.

After review, Buford's Quinn Davis got the edge to give the Wolves a runner-up finish in the event.

"There was someone there, but I just tried to finish out," the senior Davis said.

The final time wasn't the best for the Wolves, who did shave a tenth of a second off their preliminary time, but Davis admitted the conditions played a part.

"The rain kind of got to us," he said. "You can't think about the weather you just have to go out there and perform. You have to work through and do your best."

Swinton keeps pace with 'New Bugatti'

With Rick Ross bellowing through his head, Shiloh's Grant Swinton never slowed down in his 400 meter Class AAAAAA state title run.

He finished with a personal disappointing time of 48.30, but well ahead of runner-up Cory Nicholls of McEachern who finished in 49.10

"It's cold and wet," Swinton said. "I should have hit 47 today."

But riding the pace of Ross' "New Bugatti," Swinton did enough to overcome the conditions and the field in the state's largest classification for his first state championship.

"A win is a win," he said. "I went for it today."

Lawson caps career in hurdles

Jay Lawson didn't end his track career at Brookwood with a blistering time in the 110-meter hurdles, but his final trip to Jefferson still made him smile.

"We won state (as a team) last year, I'm still happy about that," the Brookwood senior said.

But after a rough preliminary race that put Lawson in an outside lane, he recovered, despite the conditions to finish second with a time of 14.53. It's a far cry from his PR of 14.1, but all things considered, Lawson had plenty to smile about. The winning time came from Campbell's Allan Frye in 14.46 with the two close at the final hurdle.

"It's not a very good day to run in," Lawson said. "I felt good. I could have placed first.

"I am happy with the way I finished."

Speedy Slayton

GAC's Darius Slayton ran by all of Class AA.

In the top speed events of the state championship track meet, the Spartan speedster took home state titles.

Slayton won the 100 in 11-flat and followed that with a 22.72 in the 200. In both races he won by more than two-tenths of a second.

Gwinnett's AA punch

When the rain picked up, Gwinnett County's Class AA schools started to shine.

In the final race of the day, Wesleyan and GAC finished 1-2 in the 1,600 meter relay, packing the podium with Gwinnett punch.

John Walker, Jake Morris, John McCleskey and Charles Mack turned in a championship time of 3:27.50 and four seconds later GAC crossed the finish line in second place. The Spartans relay included Michah Abernathy, Javon Largie, Chris Williams and Darius Slayton. Abernathy and Slayton had already claimed titles earlier in the meet.