Tigers on track for success

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 19, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &045; While many of their classmates were enjoying Spring Break, members of the Demopolis High School track team showed up at an otherwise barren school to practice in preparation for Saturday’s season-opening meet.

The team, which features more than three dozen students, is working through what should be its final season without a track facility.

The team currently practices its sprinting events on the asphalt surface located on the far side of the school while utilizing the adjacent field for its throwing and field event preparations.

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Seymore and assistant coach Rodney Rowser are excited about the possibilities for growth that promise to accompany the completion of the team’s new facility.

Rowser, who won indoor and outdoor state titles in the 55 and 100-meter dashes as a member of the DHS track team in the mid 1980s, admits that he will be a little emotional when the team gets to host its first meet in its own facility.

He also believes the new facility will help the program procure additional participation from top-notch athletes that play other sports at the school.

After completing his high school track career, Rowser went on to Troy to become only the third freshman in university history to earn All-America honors. In 1992, he began assisting with the DHS track team.

During Rowser’s tenure as an assistant, DHS track and field athletes have earned two state titles in the long jump, two in the shot put and two in the 200-meter dash.

This year’s team boasts what Seymore and Rowser believe to be a promising crop of athletes.

Juniors Brian Taylor and Greg Irvin look to provide the team two stalwarts in the boys’ sprinting events. Taylor figures to compete regularly in the 200 as well as the 4×4, 100-meter relay team. Irvin will likely be a fixture on the 4×4, 400-meter relay team in addition to competing in the 400-meter dash.

Junior Shantrell Braxton and sophomores Madison Duckworth and Sarah Martin Stapp should play prominent roles in the girls’ competitions. Braxton will likely be given multiple opportunities to shine in the 100-meter dash while Duckworth and Stapp will serve more as long distance runners, competing in the 800-meter and 1600-meter respectively.

While Rowser is excited about the visibility and convenience which should come along with a new facility, he is also aware of what such a luxury can due to enhance the skills of the sprinters.

In the interim, the team continues to plug away and make its competition preparations on the asphalt surface surrounding the school it represents. Its first indication of how well it has prepared will come Saturday when it travels to Northridge to participate in its first meet of the season.