Track program has had great success

Published 4:14 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No sports program at Bainbridge High School has enjoyed more success through the years than the track program.

The Bearcats, coached for many years by Larry Clark, and now coached by Larry Cosby, one of his former top athletes, have won numerous Region championships and sent numerous performers to the Georgia state high school meet.

The Lady Cats, coached by Tandria Phillips, who, like Cosby, is a former outstanding BHS athlete, also have had their share of outstanding region and state performances.

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This spring is no exception.

The outstanding performances just keep on coming for both teams.

The two teams opened their seasons with outstanding performances at the Jesse Forbes Invitational, held March 7 at Godby High School in Tallahassee, Fla.

Leading the way for the Bearcats was Denzel Gamble, who earned the meet’s best performance trophy after winning the 110-meter hurdles and finishing second in the 300-meter hurdles and the triple jump.

Cox’s Lady Cats were led in Tallahassee by Nancy Session, who excels in numerous events. In addition to being on the first-place 4-by-100-meter relay team with Davena Thomas, Jerisha Sutton and Olivia Beard, she sprinted home second in the 400-meter and 200-meter runs.

Gamble, Session and numerous other outstanding performers paced the Bearcats and Lady Cats to strong finishes in Cairo’s Tommy Taylor Invitational, and the Thomas County Central High School Yellow Jackets and Lady Yellow Jackets Invitational.

Next season, with their beautiful track and field facility at the new Bainbridge High School, the Bearcats and Lady Cats will be able to host more home meets, so local fans can see first-hand what kind of disciplined, outstanding athletes we have on our BHS track and field teams.

I believe athletes in any sport reflect their coaches, and in Clark, Cosby and Phillips, the BHS track and field athletes have three of the best role models in Bainbridge and Decatur County to reflect.

I go back a long way with each of them, and I know what great character and work ethic they all have.

Clark was a starting defensive back on the first Bearcat football team I covered in the fall of 1970. I ran a picture of him intercepting a pass and a story when he signed a football scholarship with Morehouse College in Atlanta.

He went on to become an outstanding Bearcat head track coach, Bearcat football defensive coordinator under coach Sonny Smart, and educator.

When he became principal of Jones-Wheat Elementary School and knew he had to cut back on his coaching duties, he hand-picked Cosby and Phillips to coach the Bearcat and Lady Cat teams.

He still helps with and supports the track programs, but he knows when he cannot be there, the teams are in good hands with Cosby and Phillips.

Cosby was outstanding in football and track at BHS. He is the third leading rusher in school football history and he went on to play football at Hinds Community College in Mississippi and Tusculum College in Tennessee.

Phillips, the former Tandria Cox, was an outstanding sprinter with the Lady Cats and the Albany State University Lady Rams. She was also an outstanding Lady Cat basketball player.