TJ Track Team dominates regional’s and brings home a title for TJ fame.
by Philip Karlberg
The TJ track team was hugely successful at the regional meet on Saturday with the girls placing 3rd in the region and the boys taking the title of regional champions despite the stiff competition in this region.
The boys’ track team finished the meet with a strong 162 points, almost twice that of last year. The second place George Washington was a definitive 42 points back, making the Spartans the clear victors. The intensity level leading up to the meet was greater than ever before. “We were all really excited because we knew we had the capabilities to win,” said Senior Runner Ben Gilliland.
However, there were some setbacks to the team. Jared Lewis and Nasheed Robinson both were injured during the season and the team struggled through the relays. Typically the relays are one of TJ’s staple events that carry them to state, but this year it would be a different story.
The boys won partly by shear volume of athletes, a benefit of having a large team. “We had a lot of people scoring points in many different events,” Gilliland explained.
“What was key was the overall team depth,” added Track Coach Dave Cohen. “The points really started adding up in the jumps and the hurdles.”
The jumpers and hurdlers accounted for over half of the team’s points. Kyllan Snow took second in shot put and third in discus. In the 110 meter hurdles, Jalil DeBose took second while Jon Loboto took third, and in the 300 meter hurdles it was Loboto who took second and Jalil who took third. Evan Wilson finished first, second and third in the high jump, long jump and triple jump respectively, and Dakota Roach took second in the triple jump. Efrum Woldu, Joe Madlock and Dillon Rickard all placed in the top three in their events. Also helping the team was Nick Jackson’s first place finish in the 100m dash. “We had a very gifted team this year,” commented Gilliland.
The girls also did very well. They scored a total of 111 points, up 60 points from last years total of 51. “Their performance exceeded all expectations I had this year. It was great to move up in the standings and the future is looking very promising,” commented Cohen. “As with the boys, it was their depth in the jumps that made them successful, but our relay teams also helped lead the way. In addition we had some support from the throwing events that we have not had in year’s past.” TJ took third in both the 4×200 and 4×400 meter relays. They also took third place in the sprint medley.
The girls were also very successful on the field. Junior Andrea Qualls took second place in the high jump and Aly Volk took second in the pole vault. Paige Wilson and Mariah McCrae both placed in the top three in their events.
The TJ track team will compete in the State meet on Friday and Saturday, May 16th and 17th at Jeff Co Stadium. If they can keep up the intensity they showed on Saturday they should have a strong shot at a championship title. “I am looking forward to see what we can do,” said Cohen. “If our performances continue to improve to the level we expect, we should have a nice weekend at state. The State Championship meet format often differs from a state regional meet as it tends to be more of an individual showcase.” With the way last weekend looked, it is quite possible that there could be many TJ Spartans who will put on a performance next weekend that will be worth showcasing.