Because of their achievements over the season, Chapel Hill’s Jalen Langston and the New Manchester Lady Jag relay teams were respectively named as the Douglas County Sentinel’s Players of the Year.
Langston leaped on the map this year after his dominating and unbelievable performance at the Boys Track and Field State meet. After clearing a high jump of 6-foot-6, Langston was named state champion and earned himself a full ride scholarship to Clemson.
Oddly enough, this was Langston’s first year competing in track and had never cleared a jump higher than 6-foot-2 going into the meet. But according to CHHS head track coach Kelly Williams, Langston’s dedication and hard work paid off in ways that he could never imagine.
“For Jalen this is so great”, said Williams. “He never anticipated all of this from where he started, but this has all turned in to a true fairytale for him and his family. We are all so proud of him.”
For the Lady Jags, their strong showing at state in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays catapulted them onto the radar this season and earned them the nod for Players of the Year.
The 4x100 team led by Anika Carter, Crystin Robinson, Jhordynn Datcher and Niata Alexander, came in a close second with a time of 47.98. Redan finished first with a time of 47.90, but only eight one-hundredths of a second ahead of the Jags.
The Lady Jags also put up strong numbers in the 4x400 with a time of 4:00.77. Carter, Robinson and Alexander pulled double duty running the first three legs of the relay, with Tahaira Dancy adding her speed to bring up the fourth. Dunwoody won the event with an overall time of 3:49.32.
“Our 4x4 team was undefeated all season until sectionals and Alexander snuck up and beat us”, said DeShon. “We changed our running order some and ended up running what we were supposed to run. We even battled Alexander again, but these girls ran so well and just really exceeded all of our expectations.”
After their performance at state, New Manchester head track coach Justin DeShon, said he and the track coaching staff as a whole were proud of what their girls were able to accomplish this year, especially because their team is so young.
“I think next year we will have more than just those five girls and I feel that here at New Manchester these girls really love and focus on track”, said DeShon. “I am happy with what they did this year, during the season, and at state. There is nowhere to go but up.”
After winning their respective side of the County meet, the Chapel Hill girls track squad received the Sentinel’s Girls Team of the Year honors. In a hard fought battle, the Chapel Hill girls were able to defeat a tough New Manchester team with an overall final team score of 91-80. Williams stated that she felt New Manchester had an outstanding team and really showed the potential that they have this season as well.
“Our girls did a good job this year and we had some standout performances and some great moments”, said Williams. “Our county as a whole has really stepped up and maintained a great image for track and running as a whole.”
For the Boys Team of the Year accolades, this season’s mention went to Douglas County. Once again, the honors went to the DC boys after a tight battle with county rival Chapel Hill, at the County meet. Although the opposition was tough, the Tigers were able to take the overall win with a score of 88-82.
“I was really proud of the way these boys improved this year, even though it was a little disappointing in the way we ran at state”, said DC head coach Chet Forsh. “We did get two new school records this year and I am just so proud of the way these boys developed with a lot of new people.”
Jalen Langston, Chapel Hill, High Jump
Bria Epps, Chapel Hill, 100-Dash
Jasmin Ellis, Chapel Hill, 400-Dash
Niata Alexander, New Manchester, 400-Dash
Shayla Bowen, Douglas County, 100-Hurdles
JaBria Mitchell, 300-Hurdles
Ashton Matson, Alexander, Pole Vault
Tika Slay, Alexander, Long Jump
New Manchester Girls 4x100 Relay
New Manchester Girls 4x400 Relay
Athletes received First Team nominations if they placed at the state competition in a particular event.
GIRLS: Charity Grimes (AHS, Shot Put & Discus), Gabriella Hill (AHS, Long Jump), Kayley Barker (CHHS, Pole Vault), Remel Williams (AHS, 100 & 200), Anika Carter (AHS 100), Bria Epps (CHHS, 200), Niata Alexander (AHS, 200), Jalice Parks (LSHS, 400), Brittany Truitt (AHS, 1600), Chapel Hill Girls 4x100 Relay Team (Epps, Ellis, Samekh Ward, Ceaire Diggs), Chapel Hill 4x400 Relay Team (Epps, Ellis, Chelsea Johnson, Cashea Bentley), and Alexander 4x400 Relay Team (Anna Shadinger, Jaslyn Foster, Hill, Foster).
BOYS: John Willis (DC, Long Jump), Joseph Yates (AHS, Pole Vault), Ronnie Hall (NMHS, 100), Derrick White (LSHS, 200 & 400), Paul McCloud (CHHS, 800 & 1600), Chance Eldredge (CHHS, 1600 & 3200), Terrance Jenkins (NMHS, 110-hurdles), Douglas County 4x100 Relay Team (Richard Johns, DeShawn Wilson, Malik Shepard, Zach Packer), and Douglas County 4x400 Relay Team (Johns, Shepard, Packer, Khalif Atwater).
Athletes received Honorable Mention nominations if they placed at the west ectional competition in a particular event but did not place in the state competition.