The FPD Vikings track team heads into this weekend’s GHSA boys state track and field Meet in Jefferson with its best chance to contend for championship since coming over to the GHSA.
The Vikings have six entrants who qualified in the top three in their event, although the team may need some unexpected performances to chase down some of the meet favorites like Athens Christian, Our Lady of Mercy and Pace Academy. The Vikings’ best finish since joining the GHSA in 2010 is 10th, which came in last year’s meet.
Caleb Samuel, who will play college football at North Carolina, is the top seed in the Class A private school shot put and is the third-best qualifier in the discus.
Jonathan Raines enters the meet as the No. 2 qualifier in the 110-meter hurdles, third in the triple jump and fifth in the 200 meters. Christian Moore is the No. 3 seed in the 110 hurdles. Josh Miller is the fourth seed in the pole vault, while Jam Morris is seeded fifth in the long jump and is just two inches behind the top qualifier in the high jump. The Vikings are the second seed in the 4x100 relay.
Lamar County and Fitzgerald also have a chance to contend for the state title in Class AA.
The Trojans have the top seed in the 4x100 relay, and Lance Austin is a contender in the 100 and 200 meters. Lawrence Austin should contend in the 110 and 300 hurdles, and Qua Searcy is the top seed in the triple jump and the second seed in both the long jump and high jump.
Fitzgerald’s Trey Graham, Romarius Gaulden and Chandler Eckler are all top seeds in events.
The most exciting race of the meet could be the Class AA 100 meters.
East Laurens’ Jaquivius Cannon is the top qualifier with a time of 10.55, which is the fastest qualifying time in any class. Bleckley County’s Mario McClendon ran a 10.67 at the sectional meet, and Lance Austin turned in a 10.71. The race has seven entrants who ran sub-10.75 times at sectional meets.
Among the top qualifiers from Middle Georgia: Melvin Alexander, Hancock Central (Class A public shot put); Chandler Eckler, Fitzgerald (Class AA pole vault); Romarius Gaulden, Fitzgerald (Class AA long jump); Dooly County (Class A public 4x100 relay); Kereon Merrell, Dooly County (Class A public 400 meters); Quintaveon Poole, Washington County (Class AAA 200 and 400 meters); Trey Graham, Fitzgerald (AA 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles).