Demopolis relay team wins state crown

Published 1:49 pm Thursday, May 12, 2011

Demopolis claimed its first track state championship since 2005 last Saturday when its girls Four-by-100 Meter Dash relay team turned its best time of the year to take first place.

Juniors Shadijah Moore and Damekeia Marshall teamed with sophomores Catrina Benison and Jonniece Collins finished the race at 49.15 seconds, topping second place Parker which finished at 49.83 seconds.

“I am just so proud of them,” Rodney Rowser, one of the DHS track coaches, said. “They worked at it. They wanted it and they got it.”

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Even though he watched the four underclassman runners capture the relay crown with the best time run in 5A all season long, Rowser still cannot quite pinpoint just how good the team is.

“We had one bad race all year,” he said. “Other than that, we were never tested. I want to take them to some bigger meets next year to see how good they really are.”

While proud of the win, Rowser indicated he is measuring the team’s success based not on wins but rather on improvement.

“We won it at 49.1 (seconds). I know we could have gone 48 (seconds),” Rowser said. “Next year, I am looking for the record. The state record in 5A is 47.9 (seconds).”

The girls’ performance also garnered some collegiate attention at the meet as at least one coach showed interest the Demopolis runners.

“On Saturday, after the girls ran the Four-by-one, a college coach came looking for me to ask about a couple of them,” Rowser said.

The win has also garnered positive attention for the DHS track team other potential runners have expressed their interest in joining the ranks of Tiger sprinters.

The same quartet also took fourth place in the Four-by-400 Meter Dash relay event, a finish Rowser was pleased with considering the circumstances.

“Other than sectionals, we hadn’t run that race in probably three to four weeks,” Rowser said.

As the track program looks to 2012, Rowser hopes he and coach Matt Geohagan can assemble a team that proves capable of competing for the big prize.

“I want to build a team where we could win it overall,” Rowser said.