MILLEDGEVILLE — Georgia Military Prep School did not disappoint, as the boy’s track team earned first place honors in two events during the Georgia High School Association’s Class-A Public School Division State Championships hosted in Jefferson Thursday through Saturday.
Qualifying seven individuals in seven different events for the state meet, GMC Prep finished eighth overall with 28 points out of 29 teams represented on the weekend.
“It’s best the feeling in the world to see your kids work hard all season and then see it all pay off,” Shawn Dennis, head coach, said. “Just seeing their faces and seeing their smiles when they were on the podium, you can’t help but be happy for them.”
Competing in the long jump and triple jump on Thursday, Taylor Payne earned the Bulldogs their first individual event title taking first place in the long with a leap of 21 feet 1 ½ inches.
“Thursday, Taylor Payne long jumped in the final of the field events, and he won obviously. I had an idea that he’d one, but I was anxious while he jumped,” Dennis said. “We’re excited for him; I know he’s wanted this for four years now. When Payne won the long jump, it kind of set everything in motion for us to do well.”
Also placing well individually was GMC Prep’s Will Archer in the 1600 meter run, as he broke the previous school record with a time of 4:59.66 for fifth place in the 16-person field.
“He beat his own school record,” Dennis said. “He ran his best race of the year, or ever.”
Archer continued to help pace the Bulldogs on Saturday with another fifth place performance in the 800 meter run, finishing with a time of 2:13.39.
While teams competed in unfavorable conditions on Saturday, GMC Prep athletes opted to overcome the rainy weather to win yet another title in the 4x400 meter relay, which included Quatavius Brisco, Markel Jones, Malik Bradley and Payne.
“Everyone who competed there competed well under the conditions. It rained the entire time we were there and it slowed, but it never stopped,” Dennis said. “I pretty much told them, ‘this is an all-weather track, so it shouldn’t affect us.’ All they had to do was get out of the blocks, but as soon as they walk up to the starting line they know its game time.”
After a strong showing in Jefferson for the boys, Dennis now shifts gears to the girl’s team who will send eight participants in seven events to the girl’s GHSA Class-A Public School State Championships in Albany beginning on Thursday and continuing through Saturday.
“I think the girls, as a team, have a really good shot at being one of the top three, four, or five teams, based on the teams that qualified for state,” he said. “I’m excited for this weekend, to see how we do.”