High School Sports

FPD enters GHSA boys track meet with momentum, expectations

FPD has produced times and distances to be a contender in the GHSA Class A private boys track and field meet this week.

The trick now is to post them this weekend when it counts.

“We’ve worked hard and had a lot of success this season in regular meets,” Vikings head coach John Griffin said before Tuesday’s practice. “But you have to do it when it counts. It’s not on paper. You have to go and run the races and compete in the events and do it there.”

Action in the three-day event begins Thursday at Memorial Stadium in Jefferson.

The Vikings will have nine competitors in the meet and eight will be in an individual event. All but one of the nine were around last year when FPD finished third with 60 points, just three shy of second.

FPD had a champion, a runner-up and a third-place finisher individually, and a third-place relay team (4x100 meters) in 2014. Josh Miller won the pole vault in 13 feet, 6 inches while Jonathan Raines was second in the 110 hurdles and Robby Watson third in the discus.

“Everybody got some points last year, so they know what it’s all about,” said Griffin, who’s in his third year heading the program.

Joining those who made the medal stand last year in individual events this year are distance runners Will Martin (3,200 and 1,600) and Bryce Little (1,600), Barron Jones (400), Titus Moore (110, 300 hurdles) and Jam Morris (high jump). Torrean Bradley-McSwain returns with Jones, Morris and Raines on the 4x100 unit.

Raines, a senior, also will compete in the 300 hurdles and triple jump, while Watson has qualified in the shot put. The 4x400 relay team is composed of Jones, Morris, Raines and Moore, who’s just a freshman.

Watson, a junior, won the sectional in the discus at 160-2, nearly 15 feet better than his state best a year ago and was third in the shot put. Morris, a senior, has gone a state-best 6-4 in the high jump once this year while Miller’s pole vault heights are in title territory again.

“Josh has the potential to win again, but there are two or three others right there with him,” Griffin said. “The pole vault is kind of unpredictable.

“Robby has the longest (state) throw in the discus, and Raines and Moore are right there in the hurdles. But it all depends on the day, the legs and what everybody else can do.”

Griffin believes the Vikings’ veteran sprint relay team will be in the mix to make the podium again along with the individuals. The quartet went 42.74 in winning the sectional.

“The least little thing can go wrong on those relays, false start or a poor handoff,” Griffin said. “A lot depends on how smooth you are that day. We’ve been pretty consistent.”

The website ga.milesplit.com has projected Athens Christian to win a fifth straight state title with 113.6 points in its “virtual meet” from sectional performances. FPD is projected to be runner-up with 73.3.

The site has Raines, Watson and the relay teams each contributing 16 points to lead the Vikings. Griffin said personal bests from his competitors will go a long way toward determining FPD’s actual finish.

“We had a lot of those two weeks ago (in sectional),” Griffin said. “Hopefully, we can do that again and see if we can’t get guys on the podium somewhere. We’ve had an outstanding year so far.”