By D. Mark Mitchell
The Opelika High boys track-and-field team won their third-straight AHSAA 6A outdoor track-and-field state championship in Gulf Shores last week, outscoring second-place Homewood 84-65.
The boys won the outdoor state title in (2014-15), (2015-16) and (2016-17). During the same period, the team won indoor state championships in (2015-16) and (2016-17) .
This is the fifth-straight track title for the OHS boys track and field team.
The Dawgs made their presence known early in the meet, with OHS Senior Ben Garner winning the 1,600 meters, shattering the Opelika school record with a time of 4:18.76.
He also won the 3,200-meter race for his second title in two days. CJ Jordan won the state title in the triple jump and placed third in the long jump.
Coach Jimmy Johnson, said his seniors led the way, in particular Ben Garner.
“The seniors played a vital role in our state championship. I cannot say enough about Ben Garner. All week, Ben, would say, ‘this is for the team.’ No matter what we were doing. Garner would say, ‘hey this is for the team.’ The team atmosphere is one of the key reasons we won. Helping each other score one to two or 10 points. Whatever the team needed to win. I am so proud of these kids,” Johnson said.
The following is a breakdown of OHS’s performance last weekend:
Branton Barnett placed fourth in the 100 and 200 meters; Antanavious Butler placed seventh in the 300-meter hurdles; Gregory Jackson placed eighth in the 400 meters, RaKavius Chambers placed sixth in discus, Tristan Black placed sixth in javelin, seventh in the discus and 12th in the shot put; Zack Yancey placed fourth in shot put, eighth in discuss and ninth in javelin; Corban Nunn placed eighth in javelin; Will Boler placed second in triple jump and fourth in long jump and Jaylen Stinson placed sixth in the long jump and ninth in triple jump.
The entire boys track team (coaches and team members) deserve the attention, publicity and accolades that go along with winning a state championship.
OCS, OHS and Opelika Track teams owe Beauregard High School a “thank you”.
Coach Copeland, BHS track and field head coach, allowed Opelika high to use the track on the BHS campus while the OHS Track was undergoing a $1-million renovation.
This is a classy move by Beauregard High School, principal Dr. Richard Brown and Coach Copeland.
Coach Jimmy Johnson wanted to make sure Coach Copeland and the Hornets were thanked for being so hospitable.
OHS GIRLS FINISH SECOND IN STATE AT AHSAA TRACK MEET
The OHS girls track- and-field team finished second at the AHSAA 6A state track meet in Gulf Shores.
The Lady Bulldogs qualified 12 girls for the state meet.
The Lady Dawgs scored 80 points behind champion Homewood’s 128 points.
Ghania Warren won the long jump with a jump of 19.01.50., placed third in the 10-meter hurdles and sixth in the high jump; Diondra Larkin placed second in the 200 and 400-meter dashes, fourth in 100 meters and 12th in long jump; Savannah Karl placed 12th in 3,200 meters; Marquania Rowell placed second in the triple jump and 14th in the 300-meter hurdles; Akishi Williams placed 16th in the 400 meters; Nikera Durr placed sixth in the 800 meters; Brianna Barnett placed eighth in discus and 15th in javelin; and Alexis Browning placed 12th in the triple jump.
“We (Opelika) took 12 female student/athletes to compete for a championship. I can’t say enough about this group. These young ladies are champions. They won a red trophy (for second-place) but are champions at heart,” Johnson said.
Congratulations to the boys and girls track teams.
The OHS Lady Dawgs softball team finished second in the area tournament, advancing to the regional round of the 6A AHSAA softball-state tourney.
Coach Tina Deese, second-year head coach, guided a team loaded with inexperienced players and few top-level pitchers.
The Lady Dawgs travel to Troy Wednesday to play in the double-elimination tournament. The top-two teams advance to the state championship.
Opelika started Spring practice Monday. Caleb Ross begins his first spring drills as the Bulldogs head coach.
Spring practice is extra important time for the new coach.
This is the first time he has seen the kids one-on-one on the football field.
Watching film is all Coach Ross could see until this week.
The Dawgs will practice five days this week and will continue to practice next week, leading up to the Spring game May 19 at Stanhope Elmore. Ninety-five players practiced inside Bulldog Stadium Monday.
The OHS baseball and basketball teams will be hosting summer camps in coming weeks.
The baseball camp, which will be held June 6-8, will run from 8 a.m. – noon each day and is open to children 7-12 years old. The cost is $100 per participant, with a non-refundable deposit of $50 due by May 26.
The basketball camp will be held June 12-14 in the Opelika High School gym. The camp is open to children ages 10-18 years old, and focuses on the importance of shooting and ball-handling skills.
Registration is $50 before Friday, and $60 for walk-up registration.
For more information, call (334) 745-9715.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.