Track team is No. 1

Published 7:38 pm Monday, May 17, 2010

Coach Larry Cosby’s Region 1AAAA champion Bainbridge High School Bearcats won their first state Class AAAA track championship Saturday in Jefferson.

Bainbridge captured the championship by accumulating 52 team points.

Finishing behind the Bearcats were Clark Central, with 44 points, and Madison County, with 34 points.

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Leading the way for the Bearcats was the 4-by-100-meter relay team of Shawn Samuels, Brandon Handsford, Thomas Smiley and Denzel Reynolds, whose first-place time of 41.31 seconds was the best in the state of Georgia this year in all classifications.

A pair of second places were captured by Denzel Gamble with a 14.41-second 110-meter hurdles time and a 47-foot, 4.5-inch triple jump. Reynolds was third in the 100-meter dash in a time of 10.80.

Steve Crowell took fourth in the shot put with a heave of 50 feet, 8 inches.

Capturing fifth places were Joseph Ausgood with a 1-minute, 57.27-seconds 800-meter run; Octavious Scott with a 39.66-second 300-meter hurdles time; Delonte Martistee with a 45-foot, 8-inch triple jump, and Dewayne Gurley with a 159-foot, 8-inch discus throw.

Coach Cosby said he couldn’t be happier for his athletes and Coach Larry Clark, who has been involved in the BHS track program for 33 years and who has been such a great role model to Cosby and to so many other athletes who were on his teams.

“Coach Clark has helped so many young athletes and young people through the years,” Cosby said. “I am honored to be the one he chose to replace him.”

Clark talked about how the BHS track year that ended in a state championship unfolded.

“We have had an exceptional year in track, and we are very pleased with the efforts of our athletes during the state meet,” he said. “At this level, all the participants are great athletes. We knew, however, that we were there for a purpose and we had the potential to be state champions.

“We met as a team after winning the Region 1AAAA championship and compared all the region results around the state. We knew we were capable of being state champions, Clark said.

Clark said as a team, they didn’t have a dominant performer like most teams that win state championships, but they did have great athletes who were determined to be the best in the state.

“Our first goal was to get everyone qualified for the finals. The next goal was to finish as strong as we possibly could because there was no need to wait for tomorrow. The time was now.”

Bainbridge qualified athletes for state in 13 events and earned points in 11 of those events.

“That was a great accomplishment by a great group of athletes and coaches,” Clark said. “As a team, they responded well to the challenge and that is why we are state champions.”

Clark also praised the coaching staff for their efforts.

“Our coaching staff has also done a great job,” he said. “To be successful in track, you must have a group of coaches who enjoy track and are willing to spend the time to train and teach athletic skills, then fine tune those skills for maximum performance.

“Our track facilities at the new Bainbridge High School are so much better than our previous facilities at the former Bainbridge High School. They have allowed us to train much better with fewer bumps and bruises. The discus throw and shot put ring, along with our great running surface, were key factors to our success this year.”

The BHS track coaching staff, in addition to Cosby and Clark, includes coaches Tandria Phillips, Harold Smith and Patrick Clark.