With the Class 5A and 6A state championship track meets being run Thursday through Saturday, the track and field athletes of the Elmore County area saw their season come to an end.
Standing out amongst the area’s competitors who made it to state were Wetumpka thrower Morgan Causey, who picked up a Class 6A state championship in girls javelin, and Tallassee hurdler Denzel Crosby, who earned a bronze medal in the Class 5A boys 300-meter hurdles.
Wetumpka jumper Jalen Johnson earned a bronze medal in the Class 6A boys 300-meter hurdles and finished sixth in triple jump.
After qualifying for the finals of the event by one inch, Morgan Causey captured a state title in girls javelin for Wetumpka Thursday.
Her winning mark of 121-01 bested her personal record in the event by seven feet, and the field by two feet.
“I told my mom I didn’t even have time to be excited over it because of how bad I did [at first],” Causey said Friday. “But once I stepped on the podium, it felt really good. Better than anything you could imagine.”
Jalen Johnson was Wetumpka’s other main storyline from the state meet, its other competitor to medal with a third-place time of 41.06 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles.
Johnson, who’s seen a late surge in the event, was able to start from lane two in finals, his favorite position. He shaved multiple seconds off his personal record according to Wetumpka head coach Warren Brown.
“He PR’d and showed us that he had a little bit more in the tank,” Brown said. “And he did that at the state meet. I still don’t think he ran his best race in the 300 hurdles, but he definitely left it all out on the track to get in, because it was a race to see.”
Johnson added to that result with a sixth-place finish in triple jump at a mark of 43-06 and a 15th-place finish in the 110 hurdles at 16.81 seconds.
Sophomore Jamya Johnson grabbed two top-10 finishes for the Indians in girls long jump and triple jump, placing ninth in both events. Thrower Colby Golson responded to three faults in boys discus with a mark of 46-06.5 in shot put to take seventh.
“What impressed me the most was that they actually believed and wanted to be on that podium. Every last one of them,” Brown said. “There wasn’t much doubt from those kids that we took to the state meet, those 11 or 12 kids that we took, that they belonged on that podium. You couldn’t tell them that. And I really love that about that group. The ones that didn’t get a chance to get on that podium, they were frustrated.”
Tallassee’s boys team had the highest team finish of any from the Elmore County area at the state track meet this past weekend, collecting 19 points to land at 12th in Class 5A.
A bulk of those points came from the team’s hurdlers, with K.J. Love and Denzel Crosby each posting top 10 finishes in both the boys 110- and 300-meter hurdles.
“They improved every week,” Tallassee head coach Danny Worley said. “They dropped a lot of time this weekend. With the weather conditions, it was really windy there, they were able to still drop time and that was great.”
Crosby finished third in the 300 hurdles, the lone track athlete to medal from Tallassee. He added a ninth-place finish in the 110 hurdles, missing the cut for finals by .25 seconds, and a 22nd-place finish in the 400.
Love picked up two points for Tallassee by landing seventh in the 110 hurdles and added three more by finishing sixth in the 300 hurdles.
Throwers Will Smith and Jourdan May rounded out the boys team’s scoring efforts, the former with a mark of 147-00 in javelin, placing him fifth in the state, and the latter posting a shot put mark of 43-06.75 to land seventh.
On the girls side, Lexi Love finished sixth in javelin with a throw of 99-02 and Haleigh May took sixth in shot put with a mark of 31-03.50 and eighth in discus at 82-02.
“We’re really pleased with the finish,” Worley said. “Twelfth place, 19 points, at the state level it gets so much more difficult because you’ve got the other three sections there. It’s the best in the state. But we had a lot of kids get PRs in a lot of events.”
Hurdler Sam Barlet was the highest finisher for Elmore County in the state meet, making the finals of the 110-meter hurdles after posting a personal record of 16.22 seconds in preliminaries. That time came within .02 seconds of breaking the Panthers’ school record in the event.
Barlet finished eighth in the final race with a time of 16.38 seconds, picking up Elmore County’s lone team point for the meet. Barlet also finished 20th in the 300 hurdles.
Distance runner Sawyer Lett came within 1.5 seconds of a top 10 finish in the boys 3200, coming in with a time of 11 minutes 1.37 seconds.
Courtney Sides finished 16th in the girls 100 hurdles, and Maggie Thames was also 16th in girls javelin.
Thrower Mavin Toby, Stanhope Elmore’s lone qualifier to the state meet, finished 17th in boys shot put with a mark of 42-11.5.