By D.E. Wheeler

Daily Journal

The Tupelo High School boys track team rode a wave of success all the way team title Saturday at the Coca-Cola/Action Tri-State Challenge.

Senior George Roby led the Tupelo charge to the team title, winning the triple jump and the long jump. And Roby finished a strong second in the 110 meter high hurdles in a meet featuring 12 schools from four different states.

“I was tickled to death with George Roby today,” Tupelo coach Jamie Mitchell said. “He had a personal best in the long jump, was just good enough in the triple jump, and most amazingly, was second in the 110 hurdles.”

Tupelo’s point total of 105 was just enough to hold off Tuscaloosa Central, which scored 101. Houston High School (Tenn.) was third with 73 points.

“I knew we had a good bunch of guys because they’re working hard and getting better,” said Mitchell, whose Tupelo club won a track meet at Ole Miss last week. “I knew after Ole Miss we had a chance to win today, but we ran as good today as we could.”

In the girl’s team scoring, which was not as down to the wire, Houston totaled 97 points for first, Memphis Central was second with 85 and Starkville was third with 81.5 points.

The Tupelo-Tuscaloosa Central battle was indeed down to the wire.

In the next to last event, the 200 meters, Tuscaloosa won, but Tupelo finished second and third.

Stevenson McKinney ran a time of 22.92 seconds for second place, while Lanauldo Bolden was third for Tupelo with a 23.08 time.

In the meets final event, the 1,600 meter relay, Tuscaloosa won, but Tupelo’s third place effort of 3:29.68 clinched the title of the second Tri-State Challenge.

“It’s a great meet because you’re getting big time competition from three states,” said Pontotoc coach Chris Coleman, whose boys finished sixth with 41 points. “You look at the people Jamie (Mitchell) invited, and these people will be challenging for the state championship in each state.”

Other very noticeable Tupelo efforts that helped win the team title included Charles Penson’s second place effort in the high jump with a mark of 6-4, and Tupelo’s second place finish in the 800 meter relay with a 1:31.50 effort.

Pontotoc athletes that had noticeable good efforts included William Stewart winning the Discus with a throw of 147-1.25, and Alan Copeland placing second in the 100 meters with an 11.28 time.

“Our boys and girls are improving every week,” Coleman said. “With the size schools at this meet, we can’t get hung up on the other teams performances. We have to look at our own.”

Eight meet records were set in the boys events, including Stewart’s effort in the Discus. Riley Tomlinson of Vestavia Hills cleared 14-7 in the pole vault, Bryan Wallace of Houston running 4:31.92 in the 1,600 meters, and Bobby Ezelle of Memphis Central running an 11.11 in the 100 meters were a couple of the other records.

Eight girls records were set as well, with Pontotoc’s Shawn Cooperwood setting one of them in the Discus with a 103-4 effort. Others included Julie Allen of Houston running a 1:00.39 in the 400 meters and Jennifer Hackett with an 11:45 time in the 3,200 meters.

There were several delays during the meet, including a 30 minutes delay because of rain and two delays because of electrical problems.

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