Area tracksters head to state

Posted 5/20/19

Bradley County will once again be well represented at the TSSAA State Track and Field Meet Thursday.A total of nine local athletes will compete in 11 field events, while eight individual runners will …

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Area tracksters head to state


Bradley County will once again be well represented at the TSSAA State Track and Field Meet Thursday.

A total of nine local athletes will compete in 11 field events, while eight individual runners will go in 11 races. Also, nine relay teams will duel with the state's best.

Cleveland High will send the most athletes to Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro as the defending state runner-up Blue Raiders are taking a dozen to compete in 11 different events.

A total of five Lady Raider runners will be in either a solo dash or one of two relay races.

Bradley Central and Walker Valley are sending a half dozen athletes each, which will compete in a mixture of nine individual events and a trio of relays.

As they did last year, the new TSSAA format will have the entire Large Class championships on the same day with the field events beginning at 10 Thursday morning and going into the early afternoon, while the running events will start at 5 and go throughout the evening.

Although they no longer have state champions Keegan Jones, a UCLA football and track signee, and Benjedi Casseus, the Cleveland boys are expected to be in strong contention for the state team crown.

"We've got a lot of great kids that have worked extremely hard to get themselves into position for a state run," declared Coach Adam Renshaw after his Raiders won the Sectional crown for the second straight year.

"We've got five guys that went to state last year and some others that have come in and really helped us this year. We had a good indoor season and have kept the momentum going into the outdoor season."

Recent University of Tennessee commit Eric Parker heads the Raider lineup, having qualified in the triple jump, as well as the 110- and 300-hurdles.

"Eric is a very talented athlete and works extremely hard," commented Coach Renshaw.

Parker was the top seed and in the lead in the 100mH at the state meet last May before catching the final hurdle and stumbling at the finish, which allowed  Casseus to claim his second straight state title in the event.

Parker did finish fifth in the 300mH last May with a time of 39.42. His qualifying times for this week's races of 14.26 in the 110 and 37.80 in the 300 are both tops in the state this season.

Along with being a part of the Raider 4x400 relay along with classmates Mackavious Constant, Cole Millard and Arlington Ferguson, Parker will also compete in the triple jump, having leaped 43-05.50 for the seventh-best qualifying distance, right behind teammate David Dorsey at 43-09.00.

Dorsey is also the state's second-best qualifier in the long jump at 23-00.50 (less than five inches behind the top distance).

He will also run with the Raider 4x100 relay team, along with teammates Zylon Cooper, also a senior, and juniors Kees Tjaarda and Jeffrey Perez. The foursome qualified second with a time of 42.18, less than a tenth of a second behind top-ranked Blackman.

"Dorsey is a top-ranked long jumper and triple jumper and will help us on a couple of relay teams," related Coach Renshaw.

The Tennessee State football signee finished fifth in the long jump (22-09) to earn all-state honors last year.

"Tjaarda is a great kid that moved here from Oregon, from a very strong track area. He has really helped us this year," the Cleveland coach expressed.

Tjaarda will join with Cooper, Ferguson and Perez for the 4x200 relay, which qualified fourth with a 1:29.25, just 1.17 seconds off the top time by Memphis Central. 

Renshaw also had high praise for Constant, who has qualified for three events — 4x400 and 4x800 relays, plus the 400m dash. "He has been a big surprise and a big help for us this season."

In the 4x800, Constant will team up with fellow seniors Cole Millard and Joseph Brown, plus freshman Ryan Lovelace.

Along with running in a pair of short-distance relays, Perez qualified third in the 200-meter dash with a 21.86, just two tenths of a second behind former teammate Micaleous Elder, who now runs for Blackman.

Perez will also represent in the long jump, having posted a 21-04 in qualifying.

Millard will run the 800-meter race for Cleveland. "He's a coach's favorite. A tough, hard-running kid," proclaimed Renshaw.

"Arli Ferguson has also been responsible for a lot of our success this year," the Raider coach said of the Tusculum commit.

Cooper will also be in a trio of events for the Raiders, qualifying eight in the 100m dash (11.18) to go with his 4x1 and 4x2 relays. He was just .42 off the top dash time of 10.76 by South Doyle's Elijah Young.

In the field events, Cleveland also has Chris Belew in the high jump and Alex Higgins throwing the shot put.

"Higgins threw 45-07.75 and finished 10th at the state last year, but has improved to 48-09.25 in the sectional (earlier this month). His goal is to break the 50-foot mark at the state and get on the podium," Renshaw related.

The Lady Raider relay teams will compete in the 4x200 and 4x400 races.

A combination of junior Fernie Cooper, plus sophomores Janay Ryan, Jenna Bosserdat, Kategie Casseus and Tinia James will make up both teams.

Casseus will also run the 200m dash, having qualified with a 25.92, just 1.75 off the top time.

"This is a super group of girls to coach," remarked Renshaw. "We've got mainly underclassmen and some exciting girls coming up from the middle school. This team is going to jump up in the next few years and be like the boys are."

After an all-state performance with a fourth-place finish at the TSSAA State Decathlon last week in Clarksville, Skyy Craig is the lone Walker Valley boy in this week's competition.

The sophomore will battle in three events, qualifying second in the 300mH (38.30), just behind Parker (37.80), eighth in the 100mH (15.21) and ninth in the the 100m dash (11.23). 

"We have Skyy, plus five girls participating in seven events," related Mustang head coach Drew Nunnelly.

Junior Sophie Frederick, an All-Stater last year, is making her third trip to Murfreesboro in the discus (qualified third, 114-5); plus, her first time throwing the shot put (ninth, 35-9.50).

The WV volleyball standout finished seventh in the discus with a toss of 107-01 in 2018.

"Sophie is the school-record holder in both the discus and shot and was the Sectional runner-up in shot this year."

The Lady Mustang 4x400 relay team — sophomores Ashley Eulo, Sydney Judd, Michelle Gomez and freshman Larkin Garrett — will also be competing among the state's best after breaking the school record with a 4:15.14 time at the Sectional.

Eulo and Judd helped the Walker Valley cross-country team to a runner-up finish at the region race and a spot in the state meet last fall.

They were also part of last year's state qualifying 4x800 foursome and, along with Gomez, will run the 4x400 in Murfreesboro, as well. Eulo also made the 2018 state meet in the 800-meter run (1:00-26).

Coming off a program best 11 state participants last May, Bradley also has five girls and a boy going to Murfreesboro this week.

"It's always bittersweet this time of year," commented Bear head coach Eddie Frazier. "You're excited to go to the state with the ones that qualified, but you also realize the season is over for the rest of your team that has been working so hard since January."

Gone is Bearette Madi Cantrell, who finished on the pole vault podium last May and earlier this month claimed third place in the Carolinas Conference for her Lees McRae College team.

Returning to the state in the pole vault is junior Gracee Hamilton, who finished tied for 14th in 2018 with a leap of 7-06. The junior is making the return trip having cleared 8-foot at the Sectionals.

Senior Zakyra Shannon is also back from last year's state meet after having leapt 31-02.50 in the triple jump. The senior cleared the 34-foot mark to qualify this time around.

The Bearette 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams — Shannon, junior Sara Mullis, plus sophomores Abbey Scalise and Paige White — will also battle for a spot on the podium.

"All five of our girls have been there (Murfreesboro) before."

The lone Bear competitor at the state will be pole vaulter Clayton Denney, who cleared 10-06 at the sectional.

"Last year I think we were just happy to be there. This time we want to do something when we get there," declared Coach Frazier. 

TSSAA State Track & Field Meet

at MTSU, Murfreesboro

Bradley County Qualifiers


Field Events

Athlete (School)Grade

Pole Vault

Clayton Denney (BC)10

Long Jump

David Dorsey (C)12

Jeffrey Perez (C)11

Triple Jump

David Dorsey (C)12

Eric Parker (C)12

High Jump

Chris Belew (C)11

Shot Put

Alex Higgins (C)12

110m Hurdles

Eric Parker (C)12

Skyy Craig (WV)10

100m Dash

Zylon Cooper (C) 12

Skyy Craig (WV)10

400m Dash

Mackavious Constant (C)12

300m Hurdles

Eric Parker (C)12

Skyy Craig (WV)10

800m Run

Cole Millard (C)12

200m Dash

Jeffrey Perez (C)11

4x100 Relay

Cleveland — Zylon Cooper (12), Kees Tjaarda (11), David Dorsey (12), Jeffrey Perez (11)

4x200 Relay

Cleveland — Zylon Cooper (12), Kees Tjaarda (11), Arlington Ferguson (12), Jeffrey Perez (11)

4x400 Relay

Cleveland — Eric Parker (12), Mackavious Constant (12), Cole Millard (12), Arlington Ferguson (12)

4x800 Relay

Cleveland — Cole Millard (12), Mackavious Constant (12), Joseph Brown (12), Ryan Lovelace (9)



Pole Vault

Gracie Hamilton (BC)11

Triple Jump

Zakyra Shannon (BC)12

Shot Put

Sophie Frederick (WV)11


Sophie Frederick (WV)11

200m Dash

Kategie Casseus (C)10

400m Dash

Ashley Eulo (WV)10


Bradley Central — Sara Mullis (11), Abbey Scalise (10), Paige White (10), Zakyra Shannon (12)

4x200 Relay

Cleveland — Janay Ryan (10), Jenna Bosserdat (10), Kategie Casseus (10), Tinia James (10)

Bradley Central — Sara Mullis (11), Abbey Scalise (10), Paige White (10), Zakyra Shannon


Cleveland — Janay Ryan (10), Fernie Cooper (11), Jenna Bosserdat (10), Kategie Casseus (10), Tinia James (10)

Walker Valley — Ashley Eulo (10), Sydney Judd (10), Larkin Garrett (9), Michelle Gomez (10)


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