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Goshen#039;s Rogers, Bryant looking for titles, respect

For T.J. Rogers and Jonathan Bryant the Alabama High School Athletic Association state track meet is about more than just chasing a state title.

While the Goshen High School duo is certainly eyeing titles in the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash, the pair is also looking to earn a measure of respect for Goshen High School.

&#8220I definitely feel like we have something to prove,” Bryant said. &#8220Being from a smaller school no one really expects us to do well, so this is a chance for us to go and represent Goshen and hopefully earn some respect for ourselves and our school.”

While both Rogers and Bryant are eager to get on the track, the pair admits there is already a certain amount of nervous energy floating around. Both expect that feeling to intensify as the meet approaches.

&#8220I'm pretty nervous,” Rogers said. &#8220I think the biggest reason for the nerves is that I just don't know what to expect. I know that the competition is going to really good. I'm sure everyone will be bigger and taller than I am, so that makes me a little nervous, but once we start running everything will be OK.”

The challenge of competing with the state's top runners intrigues Bryant and Rogers, who make up two-thirds of the Goshen track team.

&#8220The competition is going to be a lot better,” Bryant said. &#8220The intensity level at the regional meet was so much higher than a regular track meet that I can't even imagine what it will be like at the state meet. I really have no idea what to expect, but I'm looking forward to being able to run against those guys.”

Bryant will represent the Eagles in the 200-meter dash, while Rogers will compete in both the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash.

The pair hopes that the success they have had on the track this season will spark an interest in the sport among their fellow students.

&#8220We've had some people come up to us and talk about (qualifying for the state meet),” Bryant said. &#8220Everyone seems pretty interested in it. Track is kind of new here. I started running to stay in shape for football, but it's been a lot of fun and I'll definitely run next year. I hope that some more people will see what we've been able to do and come out and run. There's no telling what we could do with a full team.”

&#8220I think seeing the success we've had will make some other people want to run,” Rogers said. &#8220I hope it does. If we had more people we could run more races and be more competitive as a team.”

For now, however, the team is Rogers and Bryant, that isn't stopping the duo from setting its sights high.

&#8220You don't need a lot of people,” Rogers said. &#8220We're still going there to try and win and come back with a (state championship) ring.”

The AHSAA state meet begins on Thursday at Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham, Ala. Rogers and Bryant will run the 200-meter dash at 4:20 p.m., while Rogers is slated to race in the 400-meter dash at 5:30 p.m.