May 6, 2010 2:03:00 PM
Reclassification meant opportunity for the Noxubee County High School boys track and field team.
Coach Tyrone Shorter knew the Mississippi High School Activities Association''s decision to add a sixth classification and the subsequent moves of Oxford and Pearl high schools from Class 4A to Class 5A would favor his program.
Still, coming off a seventh consecutive district title, Shorter wanted to be sure his team was in position Tuesday to win another title at the Class 4A-Region 2 meet at Mississippi Valley State.
Like all good coaches, Shorter kept track of all the finishes and a close eye on his team''s point total.
Not to be distracted by the constant questions from his athletes ("Who won, coach? Who won?), Shorter knew what the outcome would be after the Tigers finished first and second in the 800 meters.
"I just kept telling them, ''It is close. It is close,'' " Shorter said. "It wasn''t hard at all to keep the secret."
Shorter finally found the right time to give his boys team the news: They were the Class 4A-Region 2 champions. Shorter, who has been a coach with the program for the past 11 years, believes it is the first time the boys team has won a regional title.
"That''s all they were talking about, ''Let''s make history, let''s make history (after winning the district title),'' " Shorter said. "They came out and performed did a good job. They turned it up a notch."
Junior Rodriquez Brown won the 100 (11.17), junior Jarius King won the 800 (2:07), junior Anthony Clark won the 110 (16.73) and (41.15) hurdles,
senior Felix Edwards won the shot put (40-9), and the 4x400 relay team of Clark, Brandon Sanders, Boderick Scott, and King won with a time of 3:34.
Edwards is one of only four senior boys on the team.
The 4x100 and the 4x200 relay teams also finished second.
Shorter said the boys team had one second-place finish in the regionals in his time with the program, but he said Pearl or Oxford always seemed to foil his team''s plans. Without those teams in the mix this season, Shorter had confidence the Tigers would respond. Their performance was even more impressive considering the school doesn''t have a track and field facility where its athletes can practice.
"A lot of people wonder how we do so well every year kids," Shorter said. "Our kids buy into what we tell them and we have to improvise and work. When it rains, some of them complain they have to run on a wet field or in the mud, but I am proud of the track program we have here. It has really grown over the years."
Shorter, who is a longtime assistant coach with the football team, is expected to be named to replace former football coach M.C. Miller. He said even though the school is better known for its football (state champion in 2008) and for its boys basketball team, the boys on the track and field team have carved their own niche.
"The last five years we have had three kids sign track scholarships," Shorter said. "It gives the kids who don''t play football or basketball an opportunity to be successful good at it. I hope it grows stronger that one day we will get a track because a lot of people in Noxubee County have not even been to a track meet."
Noxubee County returned to practice Wednesday to prepare for the Class 4A North State meet Saturday at Pontotoc High. He feels the change in schedule (the regional meet was postponed from Saturday to Tuesday due to bad weather) will help his athletes because it will cut down on the time between meets.
In the Class 4A-Region 2 girls meet, Amory High''s Alexandera Thompson won the 100 (12.65) and 200 (26.85), Noxubee County''s Jasmine Little won the shot put (38-2), Amory High won the 400 (51.25) and 800 relays (1:48.27), and Noxubee County won the 1,600 relay (4:34).
The Class 4A State meet will be May 15 at Pearl.
n West Lowndes qualifies six boys, three relays for state meet: At Charleston, The West Lowndes High School track team had six individual boys and three boys relay teams qualify for the Class 2A North State meet by placing in the Class 2A, District 4 meet on Tuesday.
Brandon Clark won the 3,200 meters, Donald Henley won the 300 hurdles, Korey Wilson won the shot put, DeMarcus Hill won the shot put, Kovi Rice was second in the low hurdles and fourth in the high hurdles, and Brandon Hill was third in the triple jump.
West Lowndes finished second in the 4x100, 4x200 an 4x400 relays.
For the West Lowndes girls, GeNevery Stallings finished fourth in the 100 and the 4x100 relay team of Stallings, Corey Nevils, Shanetria Phinizee, and Krystal Williams finished second.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.