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With Barrett boost,Tribe boys win sectional title

STEVE WILMOTH, TriCitiesSports.com • May 15, 2016 at 1:29 AM

JOHNSON CITY — Two-time defending state 4x400-meter relay champion Dobyns-Bennett was teetering in fourth place, some 30 meters off the pace, when Bryce Barrett grabbed the baton for his anchor leg.

A short 48 seconds later, Barrett was pulling away from the field at the finish line, serving notice that the 4x400 TSSAA title wouldn’t be easily taken from the Tribe.

The blistering anchor lap capped a stellar day for Barrett and a great day for D-B, which captured the 2016 Class AAA Section 1 boys track and field team championship Saturday evening at Science Hill’s Kermit Tipton Stadium.

View the photo gallery from the meet

The Tribe compiled 88 points on the day for a fairly comfortable margin over second-place Bearden, which tallied 67 points and several fourth-place or better state-qualifying efforts on the day.

Earlier in the meet, Barrett won the 200 (22.19) and 400 meters (49.46) and finished fourth in the 100 (11.13), but he saved his best run of the day for last.

“I thought I had a chance,” Barrett said. “I stuck with the three until the straightaway then I passed him. By the time I got to the third turn, the first two guys were probably about 10 meters away. I knew I had it in me, so I kicked whatever I had left and it was enough.

“That race is won with the heart. I just pulled out whatever I had left and just put it out for my team.”

What he had left was plenty enough, noted D-B coach Bob Bingham. Bingham likened his efforts to those of Teddy Gaines and Bryce Ailshie, who anchored the state championship runs for the Tribe in previous years.

“In the 4x400, to come back from 30, 35 meters in 48 flat, that’s big time,” Bingham said.

Indians freshman Jeamy Williams, who earlier qualified third in the 400 meters (51.60), joined Barrett, Edward Newcomb and Saul Garcia for the win. Williams and Newcomb were also part of the 4x200-meter relay team, alongside Alijah Dunn and Devarias Evans, that finished fourth at 1:32.35. Reece Cornett placed third in the 110-meter hurdles (15.38), and Dunn finished second to teammate Jordan Jeffers — who also recorded a second-place showing in the pole vault (13-0) — in the triple jump.

Jeffers just outdistanced Dunn 45-4 to 45-3¼, with both jumping into a fierce wind.

“The triple jumpers were going into a tornado,” Bingham said. “But they are just good.

“And Jeffers just learned how to pole vault at the end of last year. He’s just a real good track guy.”

The news wasn’t quite as good on the Lady Indians’ side, where several finishes were just off the state pace.

“We had a lot of fifth places,” Bingham noted. “Maybe I over-thought some things and did some things we shouldn’t have done. I hated it ended that way for those fifths.”

One surprise qualifier was senior Makenzie Fullen in the discus. Fullen joined the Lady Indians as a thrower just this season.

“It’s my senior year and I just decided to try something,” Fullen noted. “Turns out I was actually good at it. And it turned out to be so much fun. I did not think making state was possible, so I’m very excited.”

Natalie Donahue just missed qualifying for state in the pole vault last year, but she will make the trip this year after a second-place finish of 10-6.

“I was very discouraged last year,” Donahue said. “The girl I trained with made it and I didn’t. I just focused more on pole vault this year.”

“Natalie is on the verge of being really good and she’s a fierce competitor,” Bingham noted. “We knew she would be good, but she’s exceeded expectations.”

The 4x800 meters was the only D-B girls relay team to place in the top four. Ashtyn Hagood, Makayela Fullen, Erica Stone and Megan Davis clocked a 9:52.33.

Volunteer’s Lady Falcons also had a nice day, qualifying a pair of their relay teams as well as Morgan Salyers. Salyers is headed to the state meet for a second time after finishing second in the triple jump with a leap of 35-5¼.

“I was hoping for 36-6, but 35-5 is good,” Salyers said. “It feels pretty great to get back down there. I am pretty pumped.”

Morgan Salyers also qualified with Josie Salyers, Kayle Gibson and Chloee Lane with a fourth-place showing in the 4x200 (1:47.18). Morgan Salyers, Josie Salyers, Tianna Poirer and Gibson placed third in the 4x100 (50.64).

“Amazing,” Gibson said. “We’ve been waiting four years to do this. We’ve had the same 4x100 for two years and we’ve always finished fifth. It was amazing to come out in third. Our 4x200 was ranked sixth, but we made it to fourth today.”

Gibson said two critical components were factors for both teams.

“Handoffs and leans,” she noted. “Our handoffs were the key in our 4x100, the lean at the end got us third.”

Other local winners included Addyson Rowe of David Crockett in the high jump (5-6), Georgia Caudle of Science Hill in the 100-meter hurdles (16.80) and Tennessee High’s Kassidy Morton, who won the 400 (57.82) and finished third in the 200 (26.295). Fletcher Hickman of Cherokee finished second in the decathlon with 5,285 points.

The TSSAA track and field championships will take place May 23-27 in Murfreesboro.

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