Jatavious Harris was not too disappointed a year ago when he finished second in the 200 meters and fourth in the 100 as a sophomore at the GHSA Class 4A track and field meet.
But he had certainly had lofty goals for his junior year.
“I wanted to go out with a bang,” said Harris, a rising senior at Baldwin who is planning to graduate early and head to Tennessee on a football scholarship. “I know this is my last high school track meet, and I wanted to win both events.”
Harris did just that as he dominated the Class 4A meet with championships in the 100 and 200 and a title with close friends Evan Simmons, Dalvin Ruff and Darius Ruff in the 4x400 meter relay.
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“Sometimes I am not sure if football or track is first because I love them both, but I give way more time to football,” said Harris, The Telegraph’s All-Middle Georgia Track and Field Athlete of the Year. “I ran a 10.6 this year in the 50, and I feel like I could be around a 10.3 if I dedicated myself to track. But I think it’s the overall training I do for both sports that helped me win this year. I am a lot stronger than I was at this time last year.”
Harris ran a 10.65 in the 100 finals and a 21.51 in the 200 finals. The 4x400 team finished at 3:20.68.
The Braves were third in the team standings.
“I really wanted to win the 100 and 200, and I wanted to win both of them so bad I wanted to cry. But once I won those I had to have the relay,” Harris said. “I was running with three guys who I had grown up running with, and they gave me the lead. I was like baiting my competition, and they were all trying to sprint to catch up, and when they did, I still had not hit my full stride. When I did I just left them.
“It was great to get that relay win for those guys and for my school.”
Harris was quick to give credit to his coaches, Dexter Ricks and Anderson Bentley.
“I could not have done it without them,” Harris said. “A sprinter has to be so good off of the block, and my drive phase of the race is so much better this year than last year, and a lot of the credit has to go to them.”
Harris is a highly recruited football player, who has more than 25 offers, but quickly chose where he wanted to be.
“I got my first offer in November, and it kind of took off after that,” said Harris, who carries a 3.1 GPA. “But I knew it would be Tennessee the minute I visited. I fell in love with the place right away, and it just felt like home. I feel like I made my mark this year in track, and I am ready to have a great senior football season and then get ready for college football.”
Previous All-Middle Georgia selections this spring
All-Middle Georgia boys track and field team
Athlete of the year: Jatavious Harris, Baldwin
Carl Ellis Corley, Bleckley County, senior
Corley claimed the GHSA Class 2A triple crown, sweeping the 1,600 (4:28.04) and 3,200 (9:50.68) to add to his cross country victory in the fall. He has signed with Columbus State.
Torenio Davis, Bleckley County, junior
Davis won the Class 2A high jump at 6-foot-4.
Jatavious Harris, Baldwin, junior
Committed to Tennessee, Harris won the Class 4A 100 (10.65) and 200 (21.51) and was part of the winning 4x400 relay team (3:20.68).
Hunter Kimball, GMC, senior
Kimball, who has signed with Augusta, won the GHSA Class 1A public school 1,600 (4:34.60) and 3,200 (9:43.5) titles.
Kearis Jackson, Peach County, junior
Jackson won the GHSA Class 3A shot put (51-4), took third in the 100 (10.76), placed fourth in the discus (147-11) and was part of a second-place 4x100 team (41.4).
Marquise Jackson, Windsor, senior
Jackson, who has signed with the South Georgia State basketball program, won the GISA Class 2A long jump (20-10-1/2) and finished fourth in the 110 hurdles (18.5).
Jacob McLeod, Trinity Christian-Dublin, junior
McLeod claimed four wins at the GISA Class 3A meet, finishing first in the 800 (1:58.11), 1,600 (4:30.88) and 3,200 (9:56.22) and taking part in the winning 4x400 relay (3:31.46).
Titus Moore, FPD, junior
Moore finished second in the GHSA Class 1A private school 110 hurdles (14.63) and third in the long jump (21-4).
Will Simmons, Bleckley County, senior
Simmons won the GHSA Class 2A pole vault (14-0) and placed seventh in the high jump (6-2).
Suaryburn Sampson, Westside, senior
Sampson won the GHSA Class 3A triple jump (48-11).
McKinley Thompson, Stratford, sophomore
Thompson won the GHSA Class 1A private school high jump (6-4).
Brentwood: Thomas Michael Sims.
Gatewood: Jake Turner.
Jones County: Drae Butts.
Mount de Sales: Matthew McNair, Tracey Owens.
Peach County: Kevin Nixon, Kyle Nixon.
Perry: Davion Ross.
Stratford: Russell Mole.
Trinity Christian: Ben Howard.
Warner Robins: D’Angelo Whitehead.
All-Middle Georgia schedule
A look at the schedule for All-Middle Georgia teams to be released with the days the results will be posted on Macon.com and in The Telegraph:
June 20/21: Girls soccer
June 21/22: Boys soccer
June 22/23: Baseball
June 23/24: Girls Athlete of the Year
June 24/25: Boys Athlete of the Year