The sophomore finished seventh in the triple jump by leaping 44 feet 9 1/4 inches to medal in his first-ever year participating in track and field.
All while battling a back injury.
“A week ago I strained my back, but I was feeling better today,” said the three-sport athlete.
Stovall was feeling so good, he broke his personal best of 43 feet, 10 inches by almost a foot.
“I was so proud of him I didn't know what to do,” Bradley coach Larry Cotton said. “He outjumped his lifetime best. That's what it's all about when you can come to a state meet and perform the best you've ever performed.”
Stovall's back looked to be acting up just before the finals, and he had to get stretched out.
“James had some back problems and his mother took him to the doctor last week,” Cotton said. “The doctor wanted him to take some time off, but he said, ‘I've got state.’ The doctor allowed him to do state, but said he needed to rest after.”
Now Stovall can rest up for basketball camps and preseason football practice later this summer.
“He was just ecstatic that he had the wherewithal to go ahead and do the best he could at the state,” Cotton said.
Stovall couldn't believe he was standing on the podium at the end of the day.
“I came in not expecting to win so it feels really good,” he said.
The sophomore almost witnessed history in the triple jump as LaVergne senior Terry Hodges flirted with the state record. Hodges jumped a 49-7 3/4 and was two inches and a quarter from Dominique Smith's 49-10 set in 2003.
“Terry is a great athlete,” Stovall said. “I wanted to see him break it. He is like Michael Jordan. He just flies.”
Coach Cotton is looking forward to having Stovall for two more years because he believes Friday was only the beginning to a successful athletic career as a Bradley Bear.
“He does everything well he is involved in,” Cotton said. “He is a starter on the football team, a starter on the basketball team and big time in track and field. He has a great future ahead and we are proud to be associated with him.”
Stovall also competed in the high jump and took 12th place.
Another athlete Cotton was proud of is Paul Patterson. He ran a 10:11.84 in the 3200 meter run Friday morning.
“Paul ran his lifetime best and was one of two freshmen in the race,” Cotton said. “What, as a coach, do I have to be disappointed in? All I ever ask of any young man or young lady is to give me the best they have.
“And Paul did that,” Coach Cotton added. “ I think he's a little down on himself, but I know he’s got three more years to medal. He will be there before he is out of high school.”
Walker Valley had its 4x800 relay team of Patrick Shultz, Madison Yates, Jared Gregory and Trent Nunnelly run a great race and medal with an eighth-place finish.
“I believe it was another school record, but we were ranked 12th going into the race so I'm really proud of them,” Walker Valley Coach Jasen Parks said. “The guys were a little nervous before the run, but I think all four them had personal best splits. They ran for each other and not themselves and it paid off.”
Walker Valley senior Ben Burrell threw 137 feet, 10 inches in the discus from an 11th place finish earlier in the afternoon.