The Sprayberry High School Boys Track & Field Team won two events, placed 3rd in two other events, and 4th in another event to finish 2nd overall in the 2012 Georgia AAAA State Boys Track & Field Championships held May 10-12, in Jefferson, Georgia. Four Varsity Football Players (Seniors Patrick Dubois and Tye Richardson, along with Juniors Willy Dorcin and Darian Harris) competed in the meet.
Congratulations to the Boys Track & Field Team -- as well as to Coaches Vavra, Ransom, Williams, Fullwood, and Hazard -- for their achievements during the 2012 outdoor season!
The Sprayberry boys qualified [for the AAAA state championships] in five events [200m dash, 400m dash, 110m hurdles, 300m hurdles, and 1600m relay].
Sprayberry’s Michael Newton swept the boys 200 (21.54) and 400 (47.19) dashes, while Tye Richardson placed second in the 110 hurdles (14.85) and sixth in the 300 hurdles (39.95).
The Yellow Jackets’ 400 relay team, which was one of the favorites to win the state title, dropped the baton at the second exchange and failed to qualify. However, the 1,600 relay didn’t have that issue and won its event in a time of 3:19.05.
“We’re disappointed, obviously, about the exchange,” Sprayberry coach Brett Vavra said of the 400 relay. “We had one of the best teams in the state, and it’s unfortunate that had to happen. We still got some kids through that should do well, so we’re excited for them.”
No Lady Yellow Jackets moved on to the state meet. Gina Smith was among the state leaders in the discus, but she fouled in each of her attempts Saturday.
Michael Newton finished his high school career with another state title in the 400-meter dash, and he nearly led Sprayberry to the Class AAAA state crown in the process.
Not only did the Georgia signee win a second-straight title in the 400 dash title — running a state meet-record time in that classification (46.63 seconds) — he also led Sprayberry to victory in the 1,600 relay to help the Yellow Jackets finish as the runner-up behind county and Region 5AAAA rival Kell.
For his success, Newton is the 2012 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Boys Track and Field Athlete of the year.
“There are a lot of great athletes in Cobb County, and to achieve this is a great honor,” said Newton, who also finished third in the state in the 200 dash.
After finishing fourth in the 400 dash in his state meet debut as a sophomore in 2010, Newton proceeded to win the state title in that event as a junior last year.
Aiming for a second-straight state title in the 400, Newton worked on his technique as he headed into the 2012 season.
“The biggest thing I worked on was my start,” he said. “I wanted to get a faster start out of the blocks this year. I worked harder to improve on that, and it worked.”
It certainly did work for Newton, who proceeded to win the 400 every single time he competed in the event.
After winning at the county meet with a time of 46.98, Newton proceeded to run a personal-best time of 46.54 to win at the Region 5AAAA meet. The region time was the fastest time in the state, and third-fastest in the nation, according to the MileSplit Georgia rankings.
That time of 46.54 allowed Newton to achieve one of the top goals he set for himself coming into the season.
“Me and my coach decided to aim for 46.50, and I actually did that,” he said.
At the state meet, Newton dominated the 400 from start to finish and crossed the finish line with his new Class AAAA state meet-record time of 46.63 — which was also the best time among all five classifications.
“I didn’t even know that I set a new record until I was told after the race,” Newton said. “I was surprised, but I’m also very proud of it.”
Newton wasn’t finished, however, as he took the baton on the final leg of the 1,600 relay and proceeded to help Sprayberry come back from the middle of the pack to win the race.
Boosted by Newton’s win in the 400, and the Newton-led victory in the 1,600 relay, Sprayberry ended up as the runner-up in the AAAA team standings — the best state meet result of its history. The Yellow Jackets finished 11 points behind champion Kell.
“We have a great group of guys, and I’m excited to be a part of this team,” Newton said.
Newton will now continue his track and field career on the college level next year at Georgia. In the meantime, he is aiming for a spot on the U.S. team for next month’s World Youth Championships in Barcelona, Spain.