Competing in the Atlanta Invitational at Lakewood Stadium on Saturday, the LaGrange boys’ team enjoyed a stellar all-around day to capture the top spot.
It was close to midnight when the final event was run, and when the points were tabulated, the Grangers were second to none.
The LaGrange girls’ team, meanwhile, was led by Sarah Bearden, who had a second-place finish in the 1,600-meter run to help the team finish 18th.
“That was the biggest track meet we’ve won in a long, long time,” LaGrange coach Davis Russell said. “Against Redan, Towers, Lovejoy and all those people, you win first in a meet like that, that ought to be a boost to them.”
There were around 40 schools represented, and the Grangers took top honors by having a complete team.
The Grangers excelled in the field events, the sprint events and the distance events.
Leading the way were Andrew Coggins and Sam Bowie, who each earned first-place finishes in the distance events.
Demoton Boyd had a pair of top-five finishes in the sprints, and five different Grangers contributed points in the field events.
“We got all those field points, and distance was huge of course,” Russell said. “And then you come in there late when you have to close it out, and Demoton closes it out in the 200 and the 100. It was a great team effort, kind of led by our distance runners.”
Bowie and Coggins, who both had strong cross-country seasons in the fall, got the Grangers off to a fast start.
“The distance runners put us on the board early,” Russell said. “The two mile was the first event of the day, and Sam Bowie went out there and crushed everybody.”
After Bowie won the 3,200-meter run, Coggins took top honors in the 1,600-meter run.
Coggins also finished fourth in the 800-meter run.
Boyd, a senior who has been one of the state’s top sprinters since his freshman season, had a banner day with a third-place finish in the 200-meter dash, and a fourth-place finish in the 100-meter dash.
Qua Baldwin came through with a second-place showing in the long jump with a jump of 22 feet, eight inches.
On Baldwin’s second jump, he injured his hamstring, but he still nearly won the event.
After resting, Baldwin tried to run in one of the relays, but he came up short because of his hamstring.
Russell said Baldwin will be out of action for about a month.
“Our goal is for him to run on April 10,” Russell said. “That’s the meet right before region.”
D.J. Hudson gave LaGrange a third-place finish in the shot put, and Jacob Tucker was third in the discus and eighth in the shot put.
LaGrange also got a seventh-place finish from Antonias Fanning in the high jump, and Demarcus Turnbough was eighth in the high jump.
“We were very well-rounded,” Russell said.
On the girls’ side, Bearden had a strong day.
In addition to her second-place finish in the 1,600, she also had a personal-best time in the 800 to finish seventh.
Although she didn’t place, Breanna Grant had personal-best times in the 100 and the 200, and she finished 12th in the triple jump.
LaGrange’s first event of the season was the Panther Relays at Starr’s Mill.
Baldwin won the long jump at Starr’s Mill, and Coggins was fourth in the 1,600.
Tucker added a ninth-place finish in the discus, Fanning and Turnbough tied for ninth in the high jump, and Jordan Phillips was 10th in the pole vault.
On the girls’ side, Danielle Dowell was fifth in the long jump, and Destiny Brown was eighth.
Grant was ninth in the triple jump.