One got a sense that M.L. King Magnet School was headed for greatness in track and field when the school ran away with the freshman city championships three years ago.
Over the weekend in Murfreesboro, the Royals saw all that promise come to fruition. MLK became the first school to sweep both the girls and boys state championships since 1999 (Chattanooga Brainerd) when it captured the A/AA titles on the MTSU track. It was the best showing by one Nashville school of the entire six-day Spring Fling state sports championships last week and one of the best in recent years.
The girls won their title on Thursday, the boys followed suit Friday.
Asked if it was the greatest two days in school track history, boys coach Stephen Dorris said, “easily – without a doubt. It has been so rewarding watching the athletes work so hard with the discipline it takes to excel at that level.”
The boys team repeated as A/AA champs and won its third overall, the first in 2005.
Both teams got jumps on the field with great showings in the pentathlon and decathlon earlier in the week. Athletes win points for performances in those events.
Senior Blake Edwards won boys decathlon, good for 10 points, and Amia Butler took second in the pentathlon, collecting eight points.
“That was really big for us,” Dorris said. “Then Blake and Ben Tankard finished 1-2 in the long jump and Blake was second in the high jump, which all gave us a significant lead. Then, we excelled in the running events and hurdles.”
Tankard won the 110 high hurdles and was second in the 300 hurdles (behind Whites Creek’s Kiwann Williams). He was the only winner for the Royals in the running events, although they had plenty of athletes who placed and, therefore, racked up valuable points. Among those were John Gilpin, who was second in the 800 and fourth in the 1600, and Cody Simons, who followed a 10th place decathlon showing by placing third in the discus and fifth in the shot put.
Simons is expected to compete against his good friend Edwards next spring in college meets in the Boston area. Edwards is headed to Boston University, while Simons is going to Harvard.
MLK finished with 103 points, far ahead of runnerup Memphis Fairley with 66½ and third-place Lipscomb, 56.
MLK girls have lots of royalty
The MLK girls, who finished a close second in 2009, left no doubt this time. They scored 108 points, far ahead of East Lit which had 70½.
“It was a special team – we won three really big meets this year, the Doug Hall Relays, the City championships, then the state meet,” coach Brandon Williams said.
“My father Wayne was coach of the middle school team, which won the city three years ago,” Williams said. “He told me that some great athletes were coming my way, and he was certainly right.
“We had a chance to win state last year, but we lost by three points to Howard. That came after Nicole Ramer got sick right before the meet and couldn’t compete, and we were counting on about 15-18 points from her.”
This year Butler scored 29 points by herself in the pentathlon, triple jump, long jump and both hurdles races. Jayln Burr placed second in the triple jump. Chelsea Curry won the shot put and was second in the discus. Kirsten Jones easily won the 400 in a sizzling 57.64. Amber Moore was fifth in the 1600. All four relay teams collected points with two third-place finishes, a fourth and a fifth.
“Amia Butler got us off to a great start with the pentathlon,” Williams said. “Amia came up right before the season started and asked if it was too late to try out for the team. That was a surprise, and I’m hoping I get another surprise like that before next season starts.”
Looking at next season, he said, “We’re losing 18 points from our thrower (Curry) and 10 more from our 400 winner, Kirsten Jones, but we should have a nice team.”
• MBA walk-ons: Three MBA players have elected to walk on this fall in college football. Wide receiver/safety 6-0, 175 William Tanner is headed to Kentucky, while 6-1, 260 lineman Andrew Phillips and 6-1, 215 defensive end Tee Griscom will both walk on at Furman. Earlier, TB Fitz Lassing signed with Vanderbilt, while DE Brad Bars signed with Penn State.
• Lyons to Columbia: University School of Nashville star Meiko Lyons, a Mr. Basketball finalist in DII-A, will attend Columbia University (N.Y.), where he will play college basketball in the non-scholarship Ivy League. Lyons, who led the Tigers in scoring the past two seasons, sparked USN to two straight state tournament appearances.
He will join former MBA star Jon Eisen, a rising junior on the Lions baseball team, as Columbia students.
CPA’s Lipson has several speaking dates
Recent Christ Presbyterian Academy graduate Zach Lipson, 19, who was born with a spinal disorder which left him with a stunted growth to only 4 feet tall, has fast become a motivational speaker. He was manager for the CPA football and basketball teams.
Lipson, who will attend the University of Kentucky to become one of the managers for the Wildcat team, has already lined up several talks to church groups and civic organizations prior to the start of school.
“I’m looking forward to it, I can’t wait to tell my story,’’ he says. “I am a servant for God, this is how He is using me.”
BGA announces new assistant, girls coach steps down
Battle Ground Academy has announced the appointment of Jane Brown as the new assistant head of school for business and finance, effective July 1.
Also, BGA girls basketball coach and assistant AD Angie Muir, who was sidelined most of the season with illness, resigned recently.