PEARL – George Fradenburg is one of the nation’s top youth soccer players most of the year. On Friday, however, he was one of the state’s best sprinters.
The Tupelo Christian Prep senior won the 100-meter and 200-meters dashes, ran anchor on the second-place 4×100-meter relay unit and placed third in the long jump in the MHSAA Class 1A state track and field meet at Pearl High School.
Fradenburg, who won the 100 meters in 11.17 seconds, admitted he was tempted to look back as he motored down the track.
“When I got to the end I peeked, I didn’t see anybody,” he said.
Fradenburg, who plays forward for Birmingham United, a national soccer team, and is a Furman soccer signee, wasn’t pleased with his start. He’s run a 10.5 personal best.
“I had a terrible start,” he said. “Once I got my speed up, I did well.”
TCPS coach Lynn Holland was confident in Fradenburg’s chances despite the fact that he was seeded sixth in the eight-man race.
“I never doubted that he had a solid chance,” Holland said. “He’s got such natural speed.”
In his 200 meters victory, Fradenburg said he took a lesson from last year’s third-place finish.
“Coming around the corner I slowed down and held a good pace,” he said. “Once I hit the 100 meter mark, I gave it everything I had.”
Oxford’s high flyers – pole vaulter Sam Kendricks and high jumper Justin Fondren – won MHSAA 5A state track and field championships Friday, despite missing their desired marks.
Kendricks smashed the state meet record of 15-feet, 7-inches, with his vault of 16-3. He wanted to go 17-3, especially after he soared 17 feet in last week’s North state meet.
“I had the height today,” Kendricks said. “I was about a foot over it (the bar), but I was in front of it. I can’t be disappointed.”
Kendricks, an Ole Miss signee, missed on three attempts at 16-6 to close out his high school career.
Fondren, whose jump of 7-2.25 is rated the nation’s best this season, won the state championship with a leap of 7-0.
The junior missed on three attempts at 7-2.50 in an effort to break the state meet record of 7-2.25.
“My mark was kind of off today,” he said. “I know I can get it. I just need a little more time jumping at that height.
“I know sooner or later that record will be broken … by me.”
Biggersville senior Deara Gardner closed out her prep career with a bang by winning three 1A state championships in the long jump, 100-meter hurdles and 100-meter dash.
She finished second in her favorite event – the high jump.
“The high jump’s my favorite because my mom (Tia Gardner) holds the school record,” Gardner said, then smiled. “Her record is 5-4 and my best was 5.”
Gardner’s second-place height was a 4-10. She won the long jump with a 17-01.50, the 100 hurdles in 18.36 and the 100 meters in 12.57.
“I felt like I had a shot to win three,” she said. “You never know what’s going to happen. You can have a good day and someone else can have a great day.”
Gardner, who will attend Mississippi State and major in biology, says her competitive athletic days are over. “It’s all academics now,” she said.
Contact Gene Phelps at 678-1593 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal