AS JEFFERSON High School gets set to host the 51st-annual Jefferson Relays this Saturday, it finds itself competing against the rest of the increasingly busy spring track and field calendar.
With eight teams attending this year, this is one of the smallest fields in the half-century history of the event.
“This is probably as small as it has ever been, and I don’t know why,” Jefferson boys track coach Tim Corbett said. “I really get the impression, talking with a lot of coaches, that there’s so many new meets out there.”
Corbett remembers “back in the day” when the Jefferson Relays was only one of three events going on north of Macon that particular weekend. But now, there are 15-20 meets to chose from in the Atlanta area or north Georgia on a Saturday.
But Corbett made an adjustment to this year’s event in hopes of making the meet more “user-friendly.” Schools can now enter three participants per event, as opposed to two in year’s past. This move could help out schools that bring a large number of athletes.
Jefferson, for example, has an expansive roster of 60 boys, which makes it difficult to find everyone a spot to compete at a Saturday event.
“I think that’s going to help us out in that respect, and I think some of the other teams are going to be a little bigger,” Corbett said. “So maybe doing that’s going to make it a little better.”
In addition to the move to three participants per school, an extra distant event in addition to the distance medley, has been added — the 4 x 1,600.
Since only eight teams will compete this year, the meet scoring won’t be split between smaller schools and larger school competitions. Instead, all classifications will compete against each other.
Included in this Saturday’s field of teams, among others, are Class AAA Elbert County, Class AAAAA North Springs and Class AAAAAA schools Grayson and Berkmar.
“I think it’s going to end up still being a good meet,” Corbett said. “I think we’ll still have some good performances. You just won’t see as many school buses.”
This is the first weekend meet Jefferson will host this year, and Corbett looks at the event as a good training day because there are so many different opportunities for athletes to compete.
“Even though my team is so big, a lot of kids are still doing three and four events,” Corbett said. “So it’s going to be a good training day as well, and that’s the way I look at every meet at this point and throughout the season until we hit region.”
•BOYS FOURTH, GIRLS FIFTH AT LOGANVILLE MEET: Both Jefferson track teams finished in the upper half of Saturday’s Running with the Devils at Loganville in the first large meet of the year for the squads.
The boys finished fourth (with 78.5 points) on the strength of eight top-three finishes over the course of the afternoon.
Mason Hamrick won the pole vault (13-6), followed by teammate James Howard, who was second (12-06).
Dalton Hill had a second-place showing in the long jump (20-06) and a third-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles (41:11).
In the relay events, Jefferson picked up a second-place finish in the 4 x 800 meters (8:47).
Rockdale County won the boys’ meet with 180 points.
The Jefferson girls took fifth with 52 points, thanks to four top-three finishes.
Abby Carson (pole vault, 8-0), Jordan Harris (discus, 100-0) and the 4 x 800 meter team of Camille Porter, Savannah Dale, Morgan Mitchell and Reese Bowles (11:07.05) all earned second-place finishes. Mackenzie Wells took third in the high jump (4-8).