DHS track has successful meet

Published 11:29 pm Friday, March 27, 2009

The Demopolis High track team had its strongest showing of the season when it traveled to Paul Bryant High Tuesday.

“It went well. We competed,” DHS head coach Rudy Griffin said.

Demopolis’ best showings came in the boys’ draw where Greg Irvin earned first place honors in the 200-meter dash and the 4-by-400-meter relay team captured the top spot in its event.

“Greg posted one of the fastest times in the state, 22.2 seconds in the 200,” Griffin said of Irvin. “I was real pleased with Greg because we kind of switched things around on him at this meet.”

Irvin, who customarily runs the 400-meter dash for the team, shifted to the 200 for the first time.

“He did something I always thought he could do and that’s win the 200,” DHS assistant Rodney Rowser said.

Irvin also served as one leg of the boys 4-by-400 team.

“Our boys 4-by-4 that consisted of Larry Cobb, Kevin Norman, Brian Taylor and Greg Irvin also placed first, receiving a gold medal. They ran our fastest time so far,” Griffin said of a group that turned in a time of three minutes and 35 seconds.

Capturing two medals stands as a remarkable day for the Demopolis program, which will practice on a track for the first time in its history next season.

“Probably one of the biggest accomplishments that we’ve had in a meet in the last five years I’d say,” Rowser said of the day.

Demopolis also came close to capturing another medal when Justin Hardy ran in the 300-meter hurdles for the first time. The senior sprinter finished second in the competition after having never previously practiced for the event.

“That’s the first time with him doing it. We prepped for it right before he ran,” Griffin said.

“He’s going to have to work at it,” Rowser said of Hardy, who he believes could consistently compete in the event despite having no hurdles with which to practice. “With not having the hurdles, it’s going to take more listening and watching things than happen at meets. If he sees someone he’s competing against in hurdles that can help him, talking to them would help him.”

In addition to the standouts on the boys’ side, Griffin and Rowser were encouraged by the performance of the girls.

“With the girls, they’re young and they’re improving every week,” Rowser said. “I believe (the girls) will qualify for state in the 4×4.”

Griffin said he has been wowed by the effort of Zhana James who, along with Taylor and Irvin, is serving as one of the team’s captains.

“She’s another that has been putting forth and giving great effort,” Griffin said. “She’s actually stepped up and took one of the captain’s roles on the team. She’s been outstanding.”

While the team may not have a facility in which to practice yet, Griffin is not looking to next year.

“Overall everybody did well competing,” Griffin said. “My goal this year is to win the region championship as a team and go on and win the state as a team.”

That competitive drive and enthusiasm is one of the key differences between this season’s team and those that preceded it.

“(Former coach Brian) Seymour was good. (Dusty) Davis was good. But now I have somebody who’s even more motivated than I am and that helps a lot,” Rowser, a long-time assistant with the program, said. “I think we’re finally turning the corner and learning how to compete.”