May 4, 2010 11:36:00 AM
Richard Christopher didn''t want to relive history.
A year after a shoulder injury helped prevent him from winning a state title, the Heritage Academy senior realized a goal Saturday when he won the AAA shot put title at the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Overall State Championship at Mississippi College.
Christopher won his championship with a throw of 46 feet, 7 1/2 inches. He wasn''t the only local athlete to earn a state crown. Starkville Academy senior Will Goodwin won the AAA triple jump (42-11 1/2) and teammate and eighth-grader Joseph Macgown won the 3,200 meters with a time of 10 minutes, 58.49 seconds.
For their accomplishments, Christopher, Goodwin, and Macgown are The Commercial Dispatch Prep Players of the Week.
Christopher, who also played on the offensive and defensive lines for the Heritage Academy football team, said had secured the title on his next to last throw. But he bettered that mark on his final throw to earn his first state title.
"I wanted to get close to 50, but that didn''t happen," said Christopher, who has thrown 47-2 earlier in the season. "I was really happy about (winning a state title). I worked on being my explosive in the slide and trying not to hurt my shoulder."
Christopher said he limited his number of throws in practice to protect his shoulder, which he said bothered him throughout football season. He said it was satisfying to end his high school track and field career with a gold medal.
Goodwin, who will play soccer and football at Itawamba Community College in the fall, said his mark was just off his season best of 43 feet. Like Christopher, he had plenty of experience at the overall state meet, competing every year since he was a freshman. He said the triple jump always has been is best event. He also placed eighth in the high jump (5-6) Saturday.
"I was confident coming into the meet because I had won the triple jump in every meet but one this season," Goodwin said. "I knew everybody competing and what they could jump and I was confident in what I could jump. I knew I would jump well, and I guess I just had to do it. As long as my mind was right I was going to go out and do it."
Macgown, who has been competing in cross country and track and field since the since seventh grade, had his best times of the season in the 1,600 (third, 4:58.78) and in the 3,200.
"I was pretty nervous," Macgown said. "But I knew if I tried hard enough that I would get better times."
Macgown said he is always nervous before meets but had confidence in such a large setting Saturday and set the stage for what could be a title-filled future.
"Since I have a few more years I really want to bring down my times)," Macgown said. "Every meet I tried to get faster, and was able to get faster by a few seconds."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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