As if he needed added motivation, McCallie's Antoine Ferguson knew he had to finish his final event of the Division II state track and field qualifying meet as quickly as possible Thursday afternoon. After all, the Blue Tornado baseball bus would be leaving with him later for the six-hour trip to Memphis for today's state sectional doubleheader.
Ferguson, a talented freshman from the Bahamas, already had qualified for the D-II state meet in the high jump, and his second-place finish in the triple jump might advance him as well. With his baseball teammates waiting, Ferguson also won the 110-meter hurdles with a season-best time of 15.88 seconds.
"I just had to be mentally focused," said Ferguson, who pitches and plays outfield in baseball. "I came to win, but to do it and qualify for the state in at least two events, that's a huge accomplishment for me. I didn't have much time to practice as much as I would've liked, because I was going between the two sports.
"I just gutted it out as best I could, knowing I had to rush back to school to catch the bus for baseball. Giving both sports 100 percent is really a challenge, but it's worth it now."
McCallie and Baylor's girls won the team titles Thursday. Only the first-place finishers are guaranteed a spot at next week's D-II state meet in Murfreesboro, but there are three at-large qualifiers from the East, Middle and West qualifiers for each event.
GPS sprinter Destinee Lansden won't have to worry about at-large invitations after sweeping the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes events as well as helping the 4x100 relay team win first place.
"My main concern this whole season has been just getting to this point healthy," Lansden said. "I'm starting to peak at the right time and I feel like when I step in the blocks against state-level competition, that will push me to really do my best. I've got high goals for myself next week."
Other multiple event qualifiers were McCallie's Jamaal Calvin in the long jump, triple jump and 4x100; Baylor's Simon Holden in the 800, 1600 and 3200; and McCallie's Julian Nunally in the shot put and discus.
Holden set a meet record in the 800 (1:55.35), and Nunally set a new mark in the shot (58 feet) and discus (155 feet, 7 inches).
Baylor's Selena Popp won the 100 hurdles, high jump and triple jump and finished second in the 300 hurdles, while teammate Victoria Wicks won the 300 hurdles and was second in the 100 hurdles. GPS's Tiana Mills won the discus and long jump, while McCallie's C.J. Fritz set a meet record in the 100 (10.91) and helped the 4x100 relay take first, and teammate Alex Trotter was also on the 4x100 and won the 200.
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423-757-6293.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 23 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including nine in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation at the Associated ...