MLK's Amia Butler finishes second in Class A/AA pentathlon

Monday, May 21, 2012 at 8:54pm

MURFREESBORO — Even though she led most of the day, Amia Butler was generally satisfied with her second-place finish Class A/AA pentathlon on the first day of the TSSAA state track and field championship.

The Martin Luther King High School senior finished runner-up behind Dyersburg's Jolyta Taylor, who captured the the first BlueCross Spring Fling event of the week Monday afternoon at the MTSU track.

With two events to go, Butler led Taylor by seven points. Then after the high jump, she trailed by two with only the 800-meter run remaining. Taylor finished second in that race, eight seconds ahead of Butler.

"I had a chance, but the 800 isn't one of my strongest events,'' Butler said. "I didn't do as well in the high jump (4-7 3/4) as I had hoped. But overall, I tried my best, so I can't be too disappointed.''

Taylor won with 3,195 points. Butler scored 3,082, well ahead of her total from a year ago (2,956) she finished third.

Butler announced that she has decided to go to Austin Peay where she said she will compete in the hurdles, triple jump and relays.

"[Taylor] did what she had to do, and hat's off to her,'' Butler, whose performance kicked off MLK's pursuit of a third straight team title, said.

Butler's teammate, junior Terri Cunningham, didn't clear a height in the high jump. With no points in that event, she finished 11th and failed to add to the team total.

"We had hoped to come out of the pentathlon with 11 points,'' coach Butch Stewart said. "We got eight with Amia's second-place finish, but it was disappointing Terri didn't clear a hieght, or we might have had 11.''

On the strength of a spectacular run in the 800 — her time was 2:17.23 and she won by 25 meters —Christ Presbyterian Academy sophomore Megan Roach jumped from fifth to third behind Butler with 2,970 points. That was better than her sixth place finish a year ago when she scored 2,648.

T'Kesha Hagans of Maplewood finished in fourth place (2,903), one spot better than in 2011, and East Lit's Jada Curbeam placed fifth with with 2,896.




• Tory Kemp of Girls Prep School easily won the Division II championship with 3,207 points, well ahead of Selena Popp of Baylor (2,939) and Caylyn Harvey of Brentwood Academy (2,898), who jumped to third after winning the 800. She turned down a senior trip to compete in the state meet.

"I hated to miss the senior event and a trip to the beach,'' she said. "But I wanted to come here and do my best,''

Harvey, who is headed to Davidson (N.C.) for college, said. "I didn't qualify for state and I was fourth last year and wanted to do better than that.''

BA teammate Valerie Griffin was seventh and Harpeth Hall's Erin Anderson finished eighth.

• Jennifer Cannon of Tennessee High in Bristol ran away with the Class AAA championship. She scored 3,788 points, the second highest total in state meet history. Cannon has signed with Vanderbilt where she said she will compete in the heptathlon and hurdles.

She will run the 100 hurdles, 100 spring, the long jump and 300 hurdles in the AAA meet later this week.

• Brentwood Academy's Jalen Ramsey is second in the Division II boys decathlon with 3,214 points, close to leader Lane Austell of Briarcrest (3,321 points), going into the final five events. Ramsey won both the 100 dash and triple jump events.

The decathlon events all wind up Tuesday.

• The BlueCross championships open Tuesday in all sports — baseball, softball, soccer and tennis, as well as track and field.