PONTOTOC SWEEPS DIVISION 2
By Mike Talbert
The Daily Journal Relays was revived, after a year’s absence, with a series of big team wins though the weather-chilled individual times Saturday.
Pontotoc was the only double winner with both its defending state Class 3A champion boys and runner-up girls dominating Division 2. The Tupelo boys and Starkville girls did the same in Division 3, and the Biggersville girls in Division 1.
The meet, which was rained out last year, was run in chilling weather that was intensified by heavy, gusty winds.
“The temperatures weren’t that bad, but the wind was tough, especially on the back stretch,” meet director and Tupelo track coach Jamie Mitchell said.
The host Tupelo Golden Wave won 10 first-places and nine seconds in Division 3. The Wave dominated with 218 points, followed by Starkville with 92 points and Columbus with 55. The Starkville girls scored 151 points, followed by Columbus with 104 and Alcorn Central with 57.
In Division 1, the Biggersville Lady Lions won their seventh straight Journal Relays championship under track coach Bobby Purvis. It was also the last Journal Relays championship for the Lady Lions’ Purvis, who moves to Corinth next year to coach track and girls basketball.
“It definitely feels good to win this one with as many young girls as we had, and with this being my final season with them,” Purvis said.
Sophomore Tyronza Davis was the top scorer for the Lady Lions with wins in the 100-meter run, 100-meter hurdle and as the anchor on the 400-meter relay. The Lady Lions scored 112 points.
Potts Camp, which followed with 77 points, dominated the distance events with a pair of eighth graders, Demetria Burks, who set a new Journal Relays record with a 2:32.2 time in the 800-meter run, and Lindsey Edwards, who won the Division 1 3,200-meter and 1,600-meter runs.
Weir scored 58 points to edge Nettleton by one point for third place.
Only one other met record was set, 1:47.61 in the 800-meters relay by the Columbus Lady Falcons.
Biggersville also challenged in the boys side of the division until it literally ran out of athletes.
Joey Patterson, who won state in three events, was out with a pulled hamstring. Hurdler Torrey Sorrell was suffering from a stomach virus. Both of them are on three relays. Biggersville was unable to compete in two relays and the 300-meter hurdles.
“I thought we did pretty great missing four people we expected to score for us,” Purvis said.
Biggerville built an early lead with Scott Thompson winning the pole vault and the 1,600-meter run and Eddie Patterson winning the triple jump. The team scored enough to lead most of the meet.
With two events left, Biggersville was tied with Shelby Broad Street with 81 points and Ackerman was just two points back with 79 points. Broad Street finished second in the final event to finish ahead of Ackerman 93-88.
Pontotoc track coordinator Chris Coleman, who came away with his 11th winner in the Journal relays, extending back to his term as Tupelo’s coach said, “This meet gives our kids a lot of confidence. It gives them an idea of the competition that they will face in the division meet.
“We have a long way to go before we are where we need to be, but it was good to be here.”
Alan Copeland, who won the 100-meter run, and Shalando Jones, the long jump winner, also paired in the winning 400 and 800 relays, and Scott Whiteside won the 3,200-meter and 1,600-meter runs and placed second in the 800-meter run for the top Pontotoc performances. Candie Floyd won the 100 meters, the long jump and was on the two sprint relay winners to pace the Lady Warriors.
“I think one of the reasons we are so successful is our coaching staff with Mike Bain working with the distance runners, Nina Roberts with the girls and David Tutor the sprinters,” Coleman said. “I also think this was a total team effort for us with a lot of people who do a lot of things.”
Pontotoc’s Warriors scored 202 points to double second place Amory’s 101. Eupora was third with 55 points. The Lady Warriors scored 196 points, Amory 59 points and W.P. Daniel of New Albany 53.
“It was a big win for us,” Tupelo’s Mitchell said, “but we didn’t run well at all. I don’t think we had the times we need to run.”
Charles Penson, who participated in six events for the Golden Wave, won the high jump, was on the winning 800-meter and the meet-ending 1,600-meter relays. Lanauldo Bolden was on the same relays and won the 100-meter and 200-meter runs.
Mitchell said the weather conditions may have contributed to the lower times.
“We need to get busy Monday to get back on track,” he said. “Still, it’s good to have a bad day and win.”