By Gene Phelps
TUPELO – Olivia Lipsey was seeking advice Saturday from a veteran teammate … she got none.
Lipsey, a sophomore, was preparing to compete for Tupelo High – for the first time – in the shot put during the 44th annual Daily Journal Relays.
“What do you do when you get nervous?” she asked senior shot putter Patrick Dye, who has three years experience.
“I don’t know,” was his reply.
“You’re no help, Pat,” Lipsey said, then laughed.
Lipsey, a post/forward on the Lady Wave basketball team, is one of three THS athletes competing in the shot put this season for the first time. The other two are senior football players Alyjiawon Johnson and Chad Gunn.
“I’m nervous about doing this in front of people,” Lipsey said. “Everybody is watching you. You’re thinking, ‘I’ve got to get this right.’’’
In her debut, Lipsey threw the 8-pound shot 24 feet, 3 inches. She recorded a 25-foot throw on her first attempt, but fouled.
Dye, who was an offensive lineman in football, said participating in the shot put helps keep him in shape.
Also, he added, “It helps keep me out of trouble.”
The shot put, certainly not one of track and field’s glamour events, combines strength and technique. Boys train with a 16-pound shot and throw a 12-pounder in competition.
It took awhile to get used to the technique,” Dye said. “You have to throw it right. You can tear a muscle in your arm or neck if you don’t do it right.
“Oh,” he added, “and don’t drop it on your foot.”
Antonio Clifton was a standout defensive back this past season for the Golden Wave.
In the Relays, the senior ICC football signee was a star in the pole vault. The first-year vaulter won the large school competition with a leap of 11 feet, 6 inches.
“What I like is the height,” he said. “It’s so much fun.”
THS coach Bryan Jones said Clifton’s background in gymnastics and cheerleading helps him in the event.
“He has jumped on it and gone with it,” Jones said. “We’re proud of him.”