Track team brings home third-place state finish

Alex Tonico

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Babakarr Randall cruises to a first-place finish in the preliminary round of the 200-meters at the state track meet. His time of 21.17 ranks 21st in the country.

The boys track team scored 50 points in the GHSA 5A State Championship meet, earning a third-place finish in the state for the second year in a row.

“Every time you make the podium at the state meet, that’s an accomplishment,’’ said coach Delbert Ellerton. “We had a goal of winning a state championship, and we fell short of that.”

While Ellerton knows the team didn’t come away with the ultimate goal, he is still very proud of the results throughout the season

“We had a lot of amazing performances that are very historical in nature, and I’m really proud of what they have accomplished,” Ellerton said.

The team will lose 3 athletes who are nationally ranked in their events with Jacquez Sloan, Christian Jones, and Babakarr Randall graduating. Sloan ranks 47th in the country in the long jump, Jones is 23rd in the 110-meter hurdles and Randall is 21st in the 200 meters.

“It means a lot because we put in so much work to get where we are at, and to see it finally pay off means everything,” Jones said.

The three-day meet started on May 11 with the field events. In the shot put, senior Seth Wolfe threw 46-03, which placed 8th to put Grady on the scoreboard. Sloan added six points with a third-place finish in the long jump for the second year in a row and DeAndre Etienne added a point with an 8th place finish in the pole vault.

Sloan was also on the end of the 4×100 relay team which didn’t finish the race because of a dropped baton. The team had run 40.74, the sixth fastest time in Georgia history, in the preliminary round. The time also ranks 16th nationally. The miscue hurt any chances the team had of capturing a state title.

“It was very disappointing, for us to get that far and end up losing like that,” Randall said. “We worked so hard all year and put in hard work and dedication every day.”

The team was also hurting from the loss of its 4×400 relay team, which was disqualified in sectionals because of an exchange zone violation. The team had run 3:19, breaking its own school record from earlier in the season until the disqualification was announced.

Jones had a successful meet, scoring 20 points in winning double state championships in the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles.

Randall scored 13 points, placing 4th in the 100 meters in 10.94 and second in the 200 m in 21.8. Randall blazed to a 21.17 in the 200 preliminary.

Senior Ryan Jackson finished  5th in the 800 meters in 1:57 and senior Jermaine Hosley finished 4th in 400 meters in 49.12.


Jackson offered some advice to returning  teammates to prepare them for next year:


“My first meet in the 800, I ran a 2:25 and my final race of my high school career, I ran a 1:56,’’ Jackson said. “Just chase your dreams, and every time you step on the track, give it everything you got. I feel like I accomplished everything I wanted to do before I graduated. I remember coming in as a freshman and telling myself that no matter what I’ll be successful.