By D. Mark Mitchell

sports columnist

The Opelika High School boys track and field team captured the AHSSA 6A state championship in Gulf Shores last weekend.  OHS dominated the meet, finishing 43 points ahead of second place Homewood.
This was the second consecutive state track title and ninth state outdoor state championship in school history. Of course, the Bulldogs also won this year’s indoor track state championship.
Coach Jimmy Johnson, his staff and team should be commended for a super job.
Kacey Spinks won the 300-meter hurdles, finished second in the 110-meter hurdles and third in the 400-meter.
Nate Huggins, won the 100-meter dash and finished third in the 200-meter dash.
Ben Garner was second in the 3200- meter run and fourth in the 1600-meter.
Hayden Washburn was seventh in the 3200-meter run.
Antanavious Butler was fifth in the 110-meter hurdles.
Will Boler placed second in triple jump and third in the long jump.
CJ Jordan was third in the triple jump.
The OHS girls team finished fourth in their state tournament.
Ty’tiana Lockhart won the javelin and shot put, and placedsecond in the discus.
Ghania Warren was third in the 100-meter dash and fourth in the high jump.
The state title is fitting considering Dr. Mark Neighbors and the Opelika City School System is set to unveil the plans for a new track facility which will cost over a million dollars.
The Board of Education approved the new track facility several months ago.
Opelika (26-14) lost two games to Hillcrest last Friday night in Tuscaloosa. The Patriots beat the Bulldogs 6-1 and 8-3 to advance to the semifinals of the 6A state playoffs. Opelika battled in both games but Hillcrest prevailed in the end. This is the second straight year Opelika finished in the final eight teams in the state.
Dr Seymore and AD Brian Blackmon named Rick Wade interim head baseball coach in July. The school system will open the permanent baseball position up for applicants soon. I am not sure when the job will be posted. Coach Wade will be eligible to apply for the permanent job.
The OHS girls won the area softball championship last week in Valley by beating Benjamin Russell 8-7 and Valley 15-3 and 20-5.
Coach Tina Deese’s Lady Dawgs improved to 24-13 as they head to sub-state in Gulf Shores today. The top two sub-state teams will advance to the state tournament at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.
OMS Athletic Director Coach John Wilson will officially retire from the Opelika School System at the end of the school year. Wilson served as OMS head football coach and athletic director for many years, the past two as athletic director only. Wilson is the son of former OHS head coach and athletic director Joe and Sarah Wilson.
John Wilson is the main reason the Middle School Athletic Department is in excellent shape financially and on the field. Wilson made the athletes make the grade in the classroom and behave in school.
As a Friend of John’s and the Wilson Family, I want to wish John the best and thank him for all his many years of work in the Opelika School System.
Coach Craig Montel  will be the new OMS athletic director. Montel was a coach at OHS before becoming head Middle School baseball coach last summer.
Coach Montel will continue as OMS baseball coach as well as athletic director.
Coach Brian Blackmon is in the middle of his eighth spring practice. The Dawgs are trying to find several players to step in for this year’s graduating seniors.
Several dual sport athletes who run track or play baseball will join spring practice this week.
Opelika will host Park Crossing of Montgomery May 20 at 7p.m. at Bulldog Stadium to wind up spring training.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the  A-O Sports Council.