By D. Mark Mitchell
The OHS boys indoor track and field Team captured the 2017 AHSAA indoor championship in Birmingham Friday and Saturday.
The Lady Bulldogs finished second in the state, the highest finish in school history.
The following student athletes helped Opelika win the title:
Senior Ben Garner led Opelika by winning two state championships, the 3,200 meter run and 1,600 meter run and was fourth in the 800 meters. Will Boler won a state championship in the triple jump and was second in the long jump. CJ Jordan finished second in triple jump and third in both the long jump and high jump.
Daniel Kendrick placed fourth in the 60-meter hurdles, Zachary Yancey was fourth in the shot put while Tristan Black was fifth. Braden Holloway scored points with a seventh- place finish in the 800 meters.
Coach Jimmy Johnson has guided his Opelika track teams to four straight championships. The Dawgs won the outdoor track title in 2015, indoor and outdoor titles in 2016, and an indoor championship in 2017. Opelika could make it five in a row by winning the outdoor meet in the coming months.
The OHS girls indoor track team finished a school-record second place at the AHSAA indoor state track championship in Birmingham, last Friday and Saturday.
The Lady Bulldog indoor track team was led by the following student athletes:
Ghanai Warren won the state championship in the long jump, finished second in 60-meter hurdles and high jump. Warren added a third-place finish in the triple jump.
Diondra Larkin was second in the 60 mters, Lazoria Yancey was second in the shot put, Marquania Rowell placed third in the long jump, and Imani Debrow finished and third in triple jump.
Opelika girls and boys hosted rival Auburn last week at the sports arena on the OHS Campus.
The gym was packed to watch OHS and AHS play basketball.
Most figured the girls game would be close with Opelika having the home-court edge. Most believed the outsized and unmanned boys team would lose to AHS with little fight.
Opelika girls Coach Devin Booth guided her team to a 65-62 win over Auburn to end the regular season with a 22-7 record.
Diamond Buchannon led all scorers with 15 points. Quala Walton scored 14 points, while Anita Payne and Claire Worth added 13 and 12 respectively.
Opelika hosted the winner of Benjamin Russell/Wetumpka game in the area tournament championship game last night at the OHS Sports Arena. Results were not available at press time.
Coach John Wadsworth watched his team lose to Auburn by 36 points on Auburn’s “Frank W Tolbert Court” three weeks ago.
Instead of trying to play a full-court game of basketball, Coach Wadsworth implemented the The Wadsworth four-corner spread.Knowing rival AHS was much taller and talented than his team, he gave his team some hope that they could win.
The plan almost worked as it was drawn up. Opelika held the ball most of the first half. The Bulldogs used 5:33 off the clock before taking a shot.
Austin Pitts hit a three pointer from far out, to tie the game 6-6 at halftime.
This was exactly the way Coach Wadsworth wanted the game to be played.
Auburn was able to score four points while Opelika missed two layups and four free throws. The Tigers led 10-6 in the third quarter heading into the final quarter.
The Dawgs could not capitalize on open shots and AHS pulled out a win.
The Opelika boys were swept by AHS for the first time in Wadsworth’s 10 years as head coach.
The Dawgs play Benjamin Russell in the area tournament this week. The winner will play Wetumpka Saturday for the area championship.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.