Tigers run with purpose

Published 12:21 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Two meets into its season, the Demopolis High track team has made great strides according to its coaches.

“We’re working hard,” head coach Rudy Griffin said. “Talking with Coach (Rodney) Rowser, he says we’re way ahead of where we were last year at the end of the season.”

“After the first two meets this year, we have run better than we did all of last year,” Rowser, a former DHS track standout and long-time assistant, said of the team’s early success.

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The squad’s first meet, a March 7 date in Hoover, saw Demopolis compete with dozens of other schools.

Griffin said Greg Irvin excelled as a boys’ individual performer in that meet, placing ninth out of 80 runners with a time of 52 seconds in the 400-meter dash. One week later at Vestavia Hills, Irvin turned in the same time to finish fourth out of 70 runners. Dana James stood out for the girls, running in the 200 and 400-meter dashes. He also cited the girls’ 4-by-400 relay team, which turned in a Top 10 finish, as a bright spot for the group.

“The girls 4-by-4, they have stepped up,” Rowser said of the quartet that includes Ashya Samuels, James, Jenny Campbell and Maygan Page. “We’ve got some more work to do with them, but they’ll be fine.”

Both coaches reported being very pleased with the boys’ 4-by-400 team of Irvin, Larry Cobb, Brian Taylor and Kevin Norman, which placed 10th of 25 teams in Hoover before placing fifth in a 20-team field at Vestavia Hills.

“In Vestavia, I was real pleased with our 4-by-400 team,” Griffin said. “It was raining cats and dogs. I’ve never seen anybody run like that. That’s what we’re going to need is effort like that. That’s what we’re going to need if we’re going to build a program. I was real pleased with those four guys giving all they had.”

Rowser said that kind of effort is indicative of the team as a whole this year.

“The biggest part of the team this year is they’re very aggressive,” Rowser said.

“I’m really looking forward to them running more.”

Griffin said he expects to see similar effort as the season progresses.

“I’m looking for people getting better. We have a great opportunity for a few of us to win state this year. I think we have a great opportunity to not only go to state, but win state in a few events. We’ve just got to keep working,” Griffin said. “We’ve got kids working hard, trying to put Demopolis track on the map.”

The Tiger track team will practice Wednesday and Thursday and compete again at Paul Bryant High Tuesday in a make-up for a meet that was postponed due to rain earlier this season.