It looked like the luck of the draw was going to play out against the Shiloh boys with the original dates for the 2014 Gwinnett County Track and Field Championships scheduled for March 29-31.
But Mother Nature evened the score, as rain postponed the opening of competition back two days, allowing several individuals whose participation otherwise would’ve been limited by the school’s prom to participate more, while allowing others nursing minor injuries two more days of rest.
The Generals took full advantage, riding a first-place sweep of the hurdles events from Jeremy McDuffie and single wins by Grant Swinton in the 200-meter run and the 3,200 relay team to run away with their first county title since 1994 by 39 points.
“It helped,” Shiloh boys coach Rob Blaszkiewicz said of the rain-delayed schedule. “It was good for us. We didn’t expect the margin (of victory) to be that great.”
The best may still be ahead for the Generals as several individuals who have battled through injuries continue to heal, most notably McDuffie, who had a big meet despite a sore quad muscle.
But while the team’s prospects for strong finishes at the upcoming Region 8-AAAAAA, Class AAAAAA state sectional and state championship meets may seem bright, Blaszkiewicz says his team’s focus is limited to one day at a time.
“We’re trying not to think about it too much,” Blaszkiewicz said. “We’ve got (less than a month) to state, and we’re just going day-to-day.”
Archer girls relay sets record
The time of 46.53 seconds posted by the Archer girls 400 relay team of Tatiana Wayne, Serenity Douglas, Jacqueline Switzer and Akua Obeng-Akrofi did more than just win the event at last week’s county meet.
It set a new meet record, as well as became the second-fastest time by a girls team in the event in Gwinnett County history, trailing the all-time county record of 46.33 set by Collins Hill’s Lauren Tillman, Courtney Champion, Lydia Ruiz and Nicole Brown in 2003 by just two-tenths of a second.
The Tigers’ time is now the sixth highest in the event nationally this season according to the latest times posted on dyestat.com, and trails only McEachern among Georgia teams.
“They were already fast,” Archer girls coach John Williams said. “They’ve just been training hard, and we’ve just had some girls involved with track sooner (in the season) this year. That’s helped.”
More national splashes
The Archer girls 400 team isn’t the only Gwinnett competitor showing up in the latest dyestat.com national rankings.
The highest local ranking is held by Collins Hill’s Daniel Ellis, who holds the fastest time in the nation this season in the boys 2,000 steeplechase at 6:13.96.
Also appearing in the most recent national top 10 in their respective events are Parkview’s boys sprint medley relay team of Nick Edwards, Will Henderson, Kharee Patterson and Turshard Kimble-Brinson (fifth, 3:30.68), Shiloh’s spring medley relay team (ninth, 3:31.35), North Gwinnett’s Jeramey Hampton in the boys 800 (third, 1:51.93), Shiloh’s Bryan Kamau in the boys 1,500 (fourth, 4:02.50), Brookwood’s Bailey Vitatoe in the boys high jump (tied for ninth, 6-10), Lanier’s Devin Valentine in the boys triple jump (tied for fifth, 47-3, NWI) and Shiloh’s Jeremy McDuffie in the boys triple jump (tied for second, 48-6 3/4).