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State meet final event for Colley Track

Sports Editor

The final race of the Class 1A-3A State Meet was about to be run and Bob Lambert was starting to look toward the future.

Saturday’s 3A boy’s 400-meter relay marked not only the end of last weekend’s two-day event, but was also the last time any kind of track or field competition would be held at Troy State’s Memorial Stadium.

Fittingly, John "Doc" Anderson, TSU’s director of Athletic Training and longtime supporter of the Trojans’ track program, fired the final gun.

Following the 2002 football season, the red paved Jesse H. Colley Track around Richard M. Scrushy Field will be ripped up to make way for the stadium’s coming expansion.

For Lambert it was a day of farewell. The Jesse H. Colley Track has been his team’s home for nine years and while looking forward to the new track and field complex promised to him by the university, Lambert does have his doubts.

"I hate leaving Memorial Stadium," he said. "For one, we’re the only track in the United States, with the exception of Eugene, Oregon, which is track ‘mecca’, that has shade for the spectators. Our double-deck gives us shade. I doubt whether or not we’ll have shade on the new track."

Lambert also raises questions concerning Troy State’s ability to host future events such as Friday and Saturday’s state meet. 137 track and field teams came to Troy this weekend. They brought their parents, coaches and fans. Lambert estimated that over 6,500 people witnessed this year’s 1A-3A competition.

"The crowds were amazing. But I’m very concerned about whether or not we’ll have adequate stands to seat the people like we had here today," he said. "Of course, we’ll also need the permanent concession stands and restrooms. I don’t know how much Marriott made today but I tell you, in bottled water alone I wish I had 10 percent of whatever was sold up there."

TSU plans to break ground on its new Track and Field Complex as early as this summer. An influx of almost 7,000 people is a good boost to Troy’s economy, but will the meet draw as many people next year?

Or, to be even more poignant:

Will the meet even be held in Troy next year?

Lambert hopes so.

As meet coordinator Lambert usually doesn’t find out who the actual winners were until well after the final event. But he still finds it all exciting.

"I’m just here to make sure the next events have the right number of runners, jumpers or throwers and the coaches are happy," he said. "It’s one of the most fun things we do. In many cases, this may be the last formal competition of their lifetime because a lot of these kids aren’t going to college. But they get to where the uniform of their school and walk off the stage, carrying their heads real high. That makes it worth it. Just to look at the smiles on their faces. It’s been a great meet."

The top three winners in each classification were: Class 1A Girls – Hazelwood (148), Cedar Bluff (85), Phillips (53); Class 1A Boys – Hazelwood (103), Courtland (88), Reeltown (71); Class 2A Girls – Altamont (164), Cherokee (78.50), Pleasant Valley (70.50); Class 2A Boys – Vincent (112), Cherokee (68), Pisgah (55); Class 3A Girls – Sheffield (126), Winston County (77), Falkville (53); Class 3A Boys – Sheffield (106), Rodgers (102), Lanett (54).

Pike County High School finished 15th in 3A boy’s competition and 25th in 3A girl’s. Jacoby Andrews placed third in the high jump (6-feet) while Joe Copes was fourth in the shot put with a throw of 43-1. In the long jump Jarvis Wilson came in fifth with a leap of 18-4 and Eddie Meadows fourth in the boy’s discus (106-8).

In Tuscaloosa (Class 4A-6A)

The top three winners in each classification were: Class 4A Girls – UMS-Wright (145), Spain Park (139), Saint James (75.5); Class 4A Boys – UMS-Wright (132), Madison County (124), Leeds (98); Class 5A Girls – Scottsboro (140.5), J.O. Johnson (74), Cullman (69); Class 5A Boys – Scottsboro (79), Briarwood (60), Cullman (59); Class 6A Girls – Central-Tuscaloosa (102), Mountain Brook (91), Hoover (59); Class 6A Boys – Tuscaloosa County (79), Hoover (74), Central-Tuscaloosa (41).

Charles Henderson High School finished out of the top ten in Class 5A, but had two fifth-place finishers in Deandra Carlisle (800m) and Jason Thomas (triple jump). Carlisle ran 2:02.01 in the 800 and Thomas had jump of 42-1-1/2. Patrick Maldon was 12th in the 800 with his best-ever time of 2:06.23.