MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Chances are real good that no Chattanooga teams will be bringing home any team track titles from the BlueCross Spring Fling state meet, but there were some outstanding performances for the boys during the field events Friday afternoon here at MTSU’s Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium.
Simon Holden and Reggie Upshaw claimed first-place finishes for Baylor while Julian Nunally won the discus for McCallie and James Stovall won the triple jump for the Bradley Bears.
Red Bank’s Keonta Davis and Patrick Taylor of CSAS were second in the A-AA shot put and long jump, respectively, while East Hamilton’s Ladarius Watkins was third in the high jump.
Davis had a best effort of 49 feet, seven and a half inches to finish second in the shot put while Taylor measured 22-7.5 to take the runner-up spot in the long jump. Watkins cleared 6-4 to take third for the Hurricanes.
“There was a lot that could have gone better, but I guess my nerves got to me,” Watkins said.
“I did the very best that I could. I cleared 6-4 on my third attempt and that was the winning height. I feel like I should have won,” he added.
While Nunally won the discus with a personal-best distance of 161 feet, four inches, he also had a PR when he finished third in the shot put with a best effort of 51 feet, four inches.
McCallie’s Jamaal Calvin was third in the long jump and sixth in the triple jump in his first year of track competition while teammate Ramsay Ritchie also turned in a personal best of 9:47.12 in finishing third in the 3200.
Baylor’s Holden had a miserable experience last year when he got sick during the race and ended up finishing a disappointing eighth.
It was a totally different result on Friday as he took the lead in the final 200 meters to defeat runner-up Daniel Peters of MBA. Holden was timed in 9:38.43 while Peters was second in 9:40.03.
“I ran about the way I wanted to, but I was trying to save as much energy as possible because I have at least two more races tonight,” Holden said.
“It was a hard race, but I was looking for redemption after what happened last year. Ramsay led for most of the race, but I took the lead midway through the final lap. I love running fast at the end,” the soft-spoken Baylor junior said.
Peters had beaten Holden in the state cross country meet, so Friday’s victory was somewhat of a payback for the Baylor star.
McCallie’s Nunally had his best day ever as a track athlete and it all started with a dominant performance in the discus.
The Blue Tornado junior uncorked his winning throw on his first attempt.
“It was my first throw and it’s mind-blowing. I said a prayer before we started and asked God to give me the strength to do my best. He came through for me.
“I had a good week of practice and had several throws over 160 feet, but I just stood tall and threw it today. It felt good coming out of my hand,” Nunally explained.
Bradley’s Stovall will be playing football at the U.S. Naval Academy in the fall, but he finished his high school career on a positive note with his victory in the triple jump.
“My day started off bad in the high jump, but I knew I couldn’t let what happened in that event affect what I did in the triple jump. I wanted to win so bad, so it was important to keep my mind right. I got my winning throw on my second attempt, which took the pressure off of me and put it on the rest of the field.
“I finished seventh in the triple jump last year and knew I could do better. I’ve trained really hard since then and it paid off today,” Stovall said, knowing that his winning throw was some eight and a half inches better than his previous best.
Baylor’s Upshaw had a previous-best of 6-7, so he wasn’t overjoyed with his winning effort of 6-4. His right leg was wrapped in an ice bag to help with painful shin splints, but he was happy when the event ended so he could rest before the running finals began.
“I guess I’m happy, but I know it wasn’t my best effort and I could have done a lot better. The important thing is that I got my team some points. My leg was hurting. As a result, I wasn’t able to practice as much as I needed.
“I felt like I had a good shot at clearing 6-6, but my calf hit the bar on the way down,” he added.
McCallie’s Calvin was within two inches of his personal best and within one inch of second place in the long jump.
“It felt good, but I wanted to finish second at least as the guy in front of me only beat me by an inch. I feel like I did pretty well for this to be my first year to run track.
“I was going for 22 feet, but I need to work on my technique. It seems like I had to adjust my steps on every attempt,” he added.
McCallie’s 33 points was fifth place in D-II behind Brentwood Academy’s 43. Briarcrest was second with 37 while MBA was third with 35.5 and Christian Brothers fourth with 34. Baylor was seventh after the early session with 24 points.
McCallie coach Mike Wood was really happy with the way his guys performed during the field events.
“Julian did fantastic in the discus and also in the shot with personal bests in both events. Jamaal did a great job in the long jump while Ramsay also had a PR in the 3200,” Wood praised his leading scorers.
“That’s about as well as we could do. We’re doing well and having fun. I just wish we could have done a little better in the triple jump,” Wood said while eating lunch at Subway.
Red Bank and CSAS were among seven teams tied for 14th with eight points while East Hamilton was 21st with six points.
Brentwood was first in the AAA race with 65 points while Bradley was ninth with 11 points.
Go to TSSAA.org to get complete results of all three classifications.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)