Editor’s Note: This is part of a series highlighting the accomplishments of every area team’s senior class as their senior seasons were cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will culminate in Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.’s Virtual Senior Night. For more information on that, visit www.thewetumpkaherald.com.
While the seniors on the Wetumpka track and field team racked up plenty of accolades during their high school careers, each of them are set to build off those accomplishments to further their time as student-athletes. All four seem set on competing at the next level with two already signing their National Letters of Intent.
“Each and every one of them will go on to further their education,” Wetumpka coach Warren Brown said. “I’m proud of that more than I am anything we taught them with track and field. They were able to accomplish so much so they should not be disappointed in how it ended. Their efforts have been greatly appreciated.”
Brown said this class of seniors is already responsible for many school records and their impact on the program will help set many more in the near future.
“I’ve seen a lot of good programs in this county,” Brown said. “We put a lot of pressure on these seniors and this group became leaders. They put a lot of work into this program. They are leaving behind a legacy.”
Amelia Nettles played a big role in growing that legacy, helping the Wetumpka girls team to a second-place finish at the Class 6A Section 2 meet in 2019. At that meet, Nettles finished first in discus and fifth in shot put.
In the state meet, Nettles set a new personal best in discus to take silver, her second podium finish at the state finals.
“She really was our backbone,” Brown said. “She led by example. They saw her on that podium so it wasn’t hard to have a female leader. We had a boys team and girls team but we were one team in the end and you want to have that leader for both sides.”
Nettles competed outside of school as well, participating in the Junior Olympics with Tribe Elite of Wetumpka. She has signed to continue her track and field career at Troy.
Josh Allen is also headed to the next level as she’s signed to compete both football and track at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Texas. He was a sprinter for Wetumpka, often running alongside Terrance Thomas who was also in the backfield with Allen on Wetumpka’s football team.
“The intensity energy they brought out of each other on the football field was the same thing we saw on the track,” Brown said. “Those two brought the work ethic that those younger guys are going to show when they’re seniors. They had a really good chemistry with each other so we didn’t miss a beat there.”
The duo starred on the 4x100, anchoring the final two legs for the last three years including a fifth-place finish at the state meet in 2019.
Thomas, who is still deciding where he will play college football, was a four-time state finalist in the 100. He holds the school record in the event, posting a 10.84 as a sophomore.
“He’s been the most dominant sprinter probably Wetumpka has ever seen,” Brown said. “He’s a heck of a football player but there’s no doubt in my mind he could do both at the next level if he wanted to.”
Santana Kendrick was not with the team as long as the other seniors but her impact on the class and program was still felt. She worked hard to rise in the ranks on the team in discus, javelin and shot put. Kendrick is set to attend Alabama A&M where she will try to find a spot with the track and field team.
“She was still coming out of her shell,” Brown said. “We were expecting her to score some points at sectionals and make it to state. She would have been our second best thrower this year.”