Track Team Takes State

A successful end to the winter indoor season hopes to be a sign of things to come this spring for the CJ boys and girls track teams.

Coach Jerry Puckett took six girls and four boys to the University of Akron Saturday, March 20, to compete in the combined Division II/III indoor track state championship hosted by the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches. The boys finished an impressive tenth overall in a 62-team field while the girls brought home the hardware as state champs.

It took an entire team effort by the Eagles to finish atop a 63-team girls field and best Bishop Hartley High School (Columbus), the two-time defending champ, 39-37. Leading the way was sophomore Devanae Mitchell and junior Cierra Brown. As first reported by Dave Long in the Dayton Daily News, “Mitchell won the long jump (17 feet, ¼ inch), was third in the 60 (7.85) and fourth in the triple jump (32-8½). Brown won the triple jump (38-¼) and was third in the 60 hurdles (8.93).” Brown’s winning triple jump mark was also a state record, although her coach said she has done better in practice.

“No one had even set a personal record and we ended up winning it all,” Puckett said, describing his team’s surprise at their place on the podium. Contributing to the victory included junior Alexandria Coleman (400-meter dash), sophomore Tia Jones (shot put and weight throw), junior Natalie Prince (weight throw), and junior Camille Dickens, whose seventh place finish in the long jump helped give CJ the two points necessary to solidify a state championship.

This spring the girls look to build on their indoor success, three-peat as GGCL Grey North champions, and follow up on last season’s district title in the OHSAA state tournament with a strong core of young student-athletes. In fact both teams will be very young in 2011, combining to carry just four seniors between them, but that does not deter Puckett from expecting the most out of his squads.

“We’ve been to state four years in a row and I’ll be disappointed if we don’t take a group back with us this year.”