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Demopolis sprinters take bronze medal at state meet

Demopolis officially wrapped up its track season at the state meet in Gulf Shores Saturday.

The meet saw the realization of a season’s worth of work as the boys’ 4-by-400-meter relay team finished its final race with a time of three minutes and 33.25 seconds – a performance good enough to earn the quartet a bronze medal.

“I knew at the beginning of the year they were going to be something special,” DHS head coach Rudy Griffin said. “I just didn’t know how special.”

“It was a great experience,” senior Greg Irvin, who ran the second leg of the race, said.

“We were the first team from Demopolis to do it. It was something special.”

The accomplishment made Irvin, Kevin Norman, Brian Taylor and Larry Cobb the first DHS boys’ relay team to win a state medal since 1985 when current assistant track coach Rodney Rowser participated on the squad.

“It’s a great accomplishment,” Rowser said. “It will help the program tremendously.”

The win comes at the conclusion of what figures to be the program’s final season without a track facility of its own.

“We don’t have a track, but we didn’t use that as a crutch,” Griffin said of his sprinters’ daily approach to its task. “They came out and worked hard.”

For the 4-by-400 team, the hard work paid off Saturday.

“I was nervous at the beginning of the race,” Norman, one of the group’s three seniors, said.

“But at the end I felt like I was on top of the world. It was the best feeling I’ve ever had, just to know that I was on a team that was Top 3 in the state of Alabama.”

“It was great watching them,” Rowser said.

“Brian and Greg were the leaders. I watched Kevin grow up this year and Larry is going to have to be the leader next year.”

While the finish brought to fruition a season’s worth of work, it also marked the final race for a group that genuinely enjoyed competing together.

“It was fun. There was a lot of chemsitry,” Cobb said. “We were successful at what we did.”

“I wish we had more track meets together,” Taylor said. “I don’t want it to end.”

Griffin said he hopes the departing seniors will reflect positively upon their experiences with the team.

“I hope the lessons they learned in track carry over and they remember that if they want something, they have to work for it,” Griffin said.

While the Demopolis boys’ team took the bronze medal, their female counterparts took seventh.

“Even though the girls didn’t medal, I want to acknowledge how much they improved throughout the year,” Rowser said of a girls’ 4-by-400 team that will lose only senior Jenny Campbell.

Rowser said he has high hopes for returning runners Aysha Samuels, Zhana James and Mayghan Page.