MILLEDGEVILLE — Being dubbed high point scorer at the Georgia High School Association Class-A Public Area-4 meet last weekend was not enough for Georgia Military Prep School’s T.J. Lowe-Foston, as he has claimed this week’s Athlete of the Week honors following his performance at the area meet.
Lowe-Foston earned victories in both the 300-meter hurdles and triple jump, his two primary events, while taking third place in the long jump to qualify him for sectionals in all three.
While battling less-than-ideal conditions, the junior raced to a time of 43.36 in the finals of the 300-meter hurdles, jumped 42 feet and 10 inches in the triple jump and leaped 20 feet and 2 inches in the long jump.
“It was an outstanding performance considering the weather conditions,” head coach Steven Simpson said. “It was cold, rainy.”
Despite pulling off two wins in the meet, Simpson admits he did not produce his best times or jumps, making him somewhat of a “dark horse” in this weekend’s sectionals meet where athletes will have the opportunity to qualify for state.
“Even though he was able to win, he didn’t have his best jumps and best times, so that’s exciting to think that maybe he can go in to sectionals and catch some people off guard,” Simpson said. “If he can reproduce his jumps and no one else comes out of the woodworks, he should have a pretty good shot at qualifying for state.”
Focusing mostly on the 300-meter hurdles in the past, Lowe-Foston picked up the jumping events this season after he demonstrated his leaping abilities in gym class this year.
“He’s progressed very well,” Simpson said. “He started the year out playing baseball and track, and again it shows his athleticism.
“We knew he was a good hurdler, but we just sort of threw him in the triple jump,” he added with a chuckle. “The first time he jumped, he jumped 43 feet and surprised all of us.”
Though the performances at the area meet certainly showed Lowe-Foston’s ability to handle multiple events, the young talent still works to improve his craft before this weekend’s competition.
“My teammates supported me very well and my coaches helped me with my jumps and told me what I need to do better,” Lowe-Foston said. “My coaches told me to get further out instead of getting higher, and I’ve got to sprint through every hurdle, keep technique and stay focused.”
According to Simpson, the area high point scorer has practiced well this week and looks to be in fine form.
“Everything’s going well in practice,” he said. “We haven’t had any major hiccups or anything.”
Less than a day before sectionals, Lowe-Foston is focused on running faster and jumping farther, with hopes of punching his ticket to the GHSA Class-A Public State Championships beginning May 8.
“Every day at practice, I work hard and my teammates help me,” Lowe-Foston said. “My goal is to get better jumps and get faster. This week is just to qualify.”
Although Simpson stresses that the Bulldogs cannot get ahead of themselves before Saturday, he believes that Lowe-Foston has the potential to help GMC Prep boys’ track achieve a high score in May.
“I feel like if TJ is able to qualify in all of his events, we’ll be able to be in the middle of the pack,” Simpson said. “Our goal is to be a top-5 team. We feel like we’ve got a chance. TJ’s got a chance to accumulate a lot of points.”