Saturday, May 10, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> JL Charter puts six in track MOC

Leader sports editor

In just the second year of athletics at Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter, the Wolves’ track team made a strong showing at the class 1A meet at Alpena on Tuesday. Sophomore sprinter Jordan McNair won the 100- and 200-meter dashes while the girls’ 4x100-meter relay team also took first place.

The boys’ team finished with 37 total points to finish in seventh place out of 40 teams. The 10 points scored by the girls’ spring relay team were the only 10 points they scored, but it was still good for 17th.

Jacksonville coach Kelvin Parker had a good idea that McNair stood a good chance of at least showing very well. The girls’ relay team, however, caught him by surprise.

“That was out of nowhere,” said Parker about the relay time. The team of Jayla Bobo, Rachel Johnson, Jada Miller and Kaitlyn Melton posted a time of 55.65 sec onds for the win. They had not approached that time until the prelims that same day.

“Coming in to this meet their best time was right around 59 seconds at the conference meet,” Parker said. “They hit 56 seconds in the prelims at state and that already blew away their previous best. Then they beat that by almost a whole second in the finals. I knew they had been getting better and better since the season began. But that right there really caught me by surprise. They ran a perfect race as far as exchanges and handoffs and all that.”

McNair won the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.57 and won the 200 with a 23.49. He hasn’t lost in five meets this year, including when he faced Justin Bailey of Mayflower at a meet at Heber Springs earlier this season. Bailey won the class 3A state championship in the 100-meter dash on Tuesday as well.

“When he raced the kid from Mayflower, he ran a 10.87,” Parker said of McNair. “That’s really the only time he’s been pushed. He hasn’t run that fast since, but he hasn’t faced anyone that can push him since then. At state he was looking back to see if anyone was up there with him. I was hollering at him to quit looking and keep moving forward. He’s one of them that runs faster when he’s got faster kids next to him.”

McNair will have plenty of speed to contend with at the Meet of Champions next week at Heber Springs. Five of the other qualifiers have run multiple sub 11’s this season.

“It will be interesting,” Parker said. “He knows he’s going to have to get after it, but I think he can do it. If not, he’s just a sophomore. He’s just going to keep getting better.”

Parker’s teammate Darius Shepard also qualified for the MOC in the 110-meter hurdles and the 300-meter hurdles. The freshman took second place in the short race and fourth in the brutal distance sprint. His time of 17.61 was just .23 seconds behind winner Garrett Collums of Southside Bee Branch.

“He’s just a ninth-grader,” Parker said. “He barely lost but he ran his personal best time, too.”

McNair also placed fifth in the long jump. Though it did not qualify for the MOC, it did bring in four more points for the Wolves.