Whatever disappointments these runners had over those losses didn’t affect them Thursday as they each won state championships in the 1,600 in their respective classifications at the GHSA Boys Track and Field State Championships at Memorial Stadium in Jefferson.
Farmer, Poteet and Keough join Hillgrove’s Jaylan Reid and North Cobb’s Joshua Joines as state champions. Reid won his second straight shot put title and Joines won the wheelchair shot put crown.
Reid maintained his dominance as the best shot put thrower in the state after posting a personal-best toss of 63-feet, 4.75 inches to win the Class AAAAAA championship.
The school record holder in the event and the defending Class AAAAAA champion, Reid, a senior, was the only athlete in the state among all classifications to eclipse 60 or more feet in the shot put at the state meet. He fouled twice on four of his six attempts, but all four of his legal throws went beyond 60-feet as well.
“It feels pretty good to be a state champion again,” Reid said. “Coming in I wasn’t worried about placing. I really wanted the state record (of 66-7 set in 1966 by Chip Kell of Avondale). Even though I didn’t get it, I’m happy with my results. I beat my personal-best by 15 inches.”
Shot put is one of the first events held at a track and field meet, and Reid enjoys having it that way. The weather is generally cooler and when he’s done, he can sit back and relax.
“I’d rather have it earlier in the day,” Reid said. “I feel like I’m in my prime early. Plus, I don’t have to wait around all day to compete.”
Reid hasn’t had a lot of competition this season. He won the Region 4AAAAAA title by six feet and topped his Class AAAAAA sectional by eight feet. He beat his next closest competitor at the state meet, Robert McCray of Rockdale County, by seven feet.
“I try not to let (being the favorite in shot put) get to my head,” Reid said. “When I throw, I’m throwing to set a PR. That’s my goal. I try to compete against myself and not worry about being the favorite. I just want to get better each time.”
Reid also improved on his state finish in the discus. While he didn’t set a personal record, he placed third in the event with a throw of 156-10 after finishing fifth at state last season. He achieved the mark this year on his sixth and final attempt. Prior to the throw, Reid’s best showing through his first five attempts was 148-3, placing him sixth overall.
“I’m happy with my finish in discus,” Reid said. “My goal coming in was to get third, and I did. I knew I probably couldn’t catch those guys (who finished first and second) because they’re the best. I’m just happy to get third and happy I was able to do it on my last throw.”
All that was left to run at the conclusion of the field events was the 1,600, and Cobb County’s locals took home three of the seven championships offered.
Farmer won the Class AAAAAA race in 4:11.47, edging runner-up Josh Ingalis of Brookwood (4:12.82) at the line.
Poteet failed to place last season after finishing in 4:28.54. He had a completing different result Thursday, winning the Class AAAAA race in a personal-best time of 4:15.49 while beating his next closest competitor by four seconds.
“Last year was my first time at state, so I was almost in shock,” Poteet said. “It was the biggest race I had ever been in. I was more prepared this time. I was stronger from weight training, growing and eating better and I felt good.
“I beat my PR by five seconds. I honestly didn’t think I’d run that fast. I went out fast on the first lap and just went for it. It’s exciting to win.”
Like Farmer, Keough also had a close race, winning the Class A private school 1,600 run in 4:21.84 over Galloway’s Reilly Friedman (4:22.74).
“We figured we’d go 1-2, and we knew we’d both fight to win,” Keough said. “We’re really good friends, and I guess I had a faster kick at the end than Reilly.
“I’ve gotten second in the 1,600 the past two years, so it’s really nice to finally pull this out. I’ve been running this race for a while, so it was time.”
Joines threw 19-8 in the wheelchair shot put to win the Class AAAAAA title by just over two feet.
There were several other solid performances from local athletes Thursday.
In Class AAAAAA, Campbell’s Isaiah Rogers placed sixth in the shot put (53-7.25), while Harrison’s DeVontre Young and Kennesaw Mountain’s Robert Dunning finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the high jump after clearing 6-8.
Joey Connors of Harrison placed fourth in the discus (155-9) and KirVonte’ Benson finished third in the long jump (23-7). Wheeler’s DeVontae Jackson was sixth in the triple jump (46-4.5) and Walton pole vaulter Brandon Brinker was fourth (13-0).
In Class AAAAA, Darius Bredwood of Kell finished sixth in the triple jump (44-4.5) and his teammate, Itabari Mason, placed eighth in the long jump (21-2.5).