Isabella athletes win track state championshipsBy Stephen Dawkins Published 9:28am Monday, May 12, 2014
De’Rodgus Campbell and Sarah Graham earned Isabella’s second, third and fourth individual track and field championships at the Class 2A state meet on May 2-3.
Graham finished first in the girls 800-meter run with a finals time of 2:25.20.
A junior, Graham has competed at the varsity level for five years.
Her first year, she finished fifth in the state in the 800-meter run. She finished fourth her second year, third her third year and second last year.
So, what will she do next year? Maybe take home medals in two events.
Graham also earned a silver medal this year by finishing second in the girls 1600-meter run.
If she is going to keep improving her times, Graham will have to do it without former training partner Davis Ratliff.
Now, instead of Graham chasing Ratliff, Graham will be chased by Anniston Payne, who this year finished ninth in the 800 meters with a time of 2:47.43.
“Now I’m the mentor,” Graham said.
Isabella was also represented at the meet by Jordan Clark, who finished 22nd in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:10.85.
Isabella’s girls team finished 13th in the state, while the boys finished 10th, based solely on the performances of Campbell.
On the other end of the spectrum from Graham’s track experience, Campbell won two championships in his first year to compete.
Campbell was first in the long jump in a distance of 21-06.25.
He was also first in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.17. Campbell was second by two-tenths of a second to Lanett’s Cameron Trammell in the preliminaries but bested him in the finals.
Campbell played four sports at Isabella—including competing in track and baseball at the same time.
After years of considering it, he finally tried track.
“You’ve got to practice to get where you want to be,” he said.
Isabella track coach Rex Littleton said the team’s competition throughout the season–which included meets at Northridge in Tuscaloosa, Dallas County High School, Central-Tuscaloosa and Selma, among others—helped the athletes prepare for the state competition.
“This is an opportunity for them—for girls just like the boys,” Littleton said. “This is an opportunity for them to get a scholarship.”