Prep notebook: Broughton clears 7 feet at sectional

Sun News correspondentMay 1, 2013 

Veterans High School senior Malik Broughton turned in the highlight performance of the weekend when he high jumped 7 feet 2 inches at the GHSA Class AAAA “A” sectional Saturday in Statesboro. It’s the third-best record jump in the nation this year. Broughton won the event and will be the top seed in Class AAAA for the GHSA state meet this week in Jefferson.

Several other Veterans athletes qualified for the state meet, as well: Asiza Cherry (long jump); Clay Woolfolk (1,600 meters, 3,200 meters); Bethanie Bailey (1,600, 3,200); Josi Giovanzzo (1,600, 3,200); Michael Rowland (3,200) and Ronald Collins (110 and 300 hurdles).

Perry also qualified several athletes for the Class AAAA boys and girls state meets: Abby Booth (800 meters and 1,600); Jimmy Mehserle (1,600 and 3,200); Jackson Reid (3,200); Tyler Claxton (800) and the 400-meter relay team (Jamerius Jolley, Jacorey Harris, John Neisant, Devontae Danielly).

Hall shines at AAAAA meet

Northside freshman Cassondra Hall won both the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the GHSA Class AAAAA “B” sectional Saturday at Grovetown. Hall also ran a leg on the Eagles’ 1,600-meter relay team which also qualified. Her running mates were Toneah Martin, Toleah Martin and Tia Williams.

Other Northside athletes who qualified for either the boys or girls state meet were: Williams (400 meters); Mekhaela Witherspoon (shot put); Kevondre Hunt (110-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles and triple jump); 400-meter relay team (Brian Cosby, Aaron Davis, Michael Clark and Robert Davis); Davis (high jump) and A.J. Banks (shot put and discus).

Asha Stegall, of Warner Robins, will try to win her second consecutive state title in the 400-meter dash after qualifying on Saturday. She also qualified in the 200. Several of Stegall’s Warner Robins teammates also qualified: Michael Callaway (high jump); Nick Orcutt (pole vault); Rod Harris (long jump and triple jump) and Brian Cornish (shot put and discus).

Houston County’s Kiaira Jackson qualified for state in the 100-meter dash and the triple jump.

Peach athletes advance to AAA state men

Three Peach County athletes advanced to the GHSA Class AAA state meet in the maximum five events during qualifying action at the “A” sectional Saturday in Atlanta. Keondria Simmons won the 100-meter dash and also qualified in the 200 and long jump. She ran legs on the Lady Trojans’ 400- and 1600-meter relay teams. On the boys side, Tyler Gibson and Malcom Lowe also qualified for the state meet in five events. Both ran on the 400- and 1,600-meter relay teams. In addition, Lowe finished first in the 400 while also qualifying in the 300-meter hurdles and the triple jump. Gibson qualified in the 100- and 200-meter dashes as well as the long jump.

The other Peach County athletes who qualified for state are: girls 400 relay (Whitney Allen, Chyna Wright, Katrina Rouse); girls 1,600 relay (Courtney Small, Saleemah Gadson, Rouse); Gadson (triple jump); Josie Green (discus); George Blease (400); boys 400 relay (Keyshawn Lowe, Nicholas Searcy); boys 1,600 relay (Blease, Zachorey Hart) and Hart (long jump).

Bear pair ink deals

Scholarships in hand, Houston County seniors Davon Akins and Andrew Graham will now serve as program ambassadors.

“We’re sending you guys out as a light for Houston County basketball,” Bears head coach Stephen Walls said.

There’s every reason to expect the two will shine, as well. Akins, an all-Region 2-AAAAA selection as a wing, averaged 18 points during his senior season. He signed with Lake Land College in Mattoon, Ill. Graham, a point guard who averaged 14 points per game, signed with Gordon State College in Gordon.

“Just have to take it,” Akins said of the responsibility of representing Houston County basketball. “I can’t let them down.”

Lake Land coaches identified Akins as a prospect during an AAU basketball tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

“They liked my basketball IQ,” Akins said, “and my drive to work hard.”

The son of Daniel and Vonyett, Akins said he plans to study sports medicine.

Walls said Graham has been on Gordon State’s radar for some time, long before his performance at a prep all-star game piqued the interest of other schools. Any doubts Gordon State coaches had were alleviated when they were in the crowd for Graham’s show-out performance against Northside High School, his former team, Jan. 4. Graham scored 27 points.

Graham plans to study sports medicine or possibly nursing. His mother, Greta, is a nurse. His father is Ron Graham.

Like Akins, Graham embraces the opportunity to blaze a trail for more basketball-playing Bears.

“I take that into full consideration,” he said. “With everything they taught me, I want to show the coaches I’m working hard in college so they’ll want to come back here.”

Houston County makes it five straight region championships

The Houston County boys soccer team defeated Warner Robins 5-1 in the championship game of the Region 2-AAAAA tournament April 24 at Houston County High. The Bears earned their fifth consecutive region championship and eighth in nine years.

In the title match, Houston County controlled the action throughout the first half and led 2-0 at intermission. Early in the second half, Warner Robins nearly halved its deficit when Matt Monday broke free on goal. His shot was deflected by Houston County goalkeeper Adam Myers and the Bears were able to convert a quick counterattack into a goal. Sophomore Steven Moore outraced the Demons’ defenders and got a shot past Warner Robins goalie Cody Dees. It was Moore’s second goal of the night.

Andrew Weber, Drew Behrman and Will Pospicil also scored for Houston County. Monday did manage a goal with about 18 minutes left in the game. Both Houston County and Warner Robins are scheduled to open the Class AAAAA state playoffs at home Wednesday.

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