MURFREESBORO — One year ago Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad’s Spring Fling experience was hindered by a list of injuries.
Three medals later, “Q” was finally able to put 2013 behind her and close out her 2014 high school season on a more positive note.
Thursday, the MTSU signee felt right at home at the Dean A. Hayes Track Stadium as she claimed second in the long jump and third place in the triple jump.
“Last year was awful. This year, even though I didn’t get first in long jump or triple jump, just coming back from the injuries that I had and having good marks … is what I’m really proud about,” Abdullah-Muhammad declared.
Qetuwrah jumped 18 feet, 3.5 inches in the long jump and 38 feet, 2.75 inches in the triple jump.
“We were hoping for a win with Qetuwrah in one of those two events, but she still did well overall. Not many girls can jump off of their opposite foot like she does,” Cleveland track coach Casey Price commented.
Walker Valley’s Rachel Lawhorn also reached the podium Thursday afternoon, with a discus throw of 114 feet, 2 inches, giving her a third-place medal.
Coming into the state competition, the Lady Mustang had been ranked sixth.
“I practiced hard and my coaches helped me. I expected to place, but I didn’t think I’d do that well,” Lawhorn reflected.
One person who wasn’t so surprised at Lawhorn’s third-place finish was Mustang coach Drew Nunnelly.
“Leading up to this, she had some fantastic practices. I kept telling her that she hadn’t thrown up to her potential at all and that it was coming at state. I’m very proud of her,” Nunnelly stated.
Lawhorn had also qualified for the shot put, but her throw of 34 feet, 9.25 inches was not enough to advance her to the finals.
With the girls’ field events wrapped up, it was the boys’ turn to take to the track for the running prelims.
After the sectionals, Cleveland had qualified for the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles, 100M and 200M dash and the 4x100M relay.
While they did not run their fastest time, the boys 4x100M relay team of Will Hilliker, Stephen Cannon, TJ Parker and Tyler Davis was able to earn a fourth-place finish overall, with a time of 42.88.
“The boys 4x100 ran pretty well. It wasn’t the fastest because of a handoff that cost us maybe a couple tenths of second, but they should run well in the finals,” Price commented.
Davis also qualified for the finals in the 200M dash after coming in second in his heat and fourth overall with a time of 22.36.
In the 100M dash, the West Point bound Davis finished 12th with a time of 11.04.
Even though Hilliker had initially finished second in his 110M hurdles heat, hitting a hurdle proved costly.
“Will Hilliker was in second place and had he not hit a hurdle, he would’ve made the finals for sure,” Price stated.
Coming into the event, Hilliker had been ranked sixth with a time of 15.39, but after the prelims, his time was 15.63.
Despite finishing fourth in his 300M hurdles heat, Parker’s time of 41.35 gave him a 10th place overall finish, leaving him out of the finals.
“With the way the schedule was set up, TJ had little to no time to rest after the 4x100 before going into the 300 hurdles,” Price explained. “Ten minutes is just not enough time for sprinters to recover.”
The last day of competition at the track and field state championships began with the boys’ field events and will conclude this evening with the running finals.