JEFFERSON will play host to both the county championships Thursday and the Dragon Invitational Saturday in a busy week locally in track and field.
The championships were originally slated for Tuesday, but rains early in the week forced Jefferson to move the event to this Thursday when Commerce, East Jackson, Jackson County and Jefferson will all vie for the boys’ and girls’ county titles.
Jefferson will then have a quick turnaround as it will host the third-annual Beef O’Brady’s Dragon Invitational on Saturday, which will have a field of nine teams. The event starts at 10 a.m. and will be run just like a region meet, according to Jefferson coach Tim Corbett.
“It’s kind of small, kind of like the (Jefferson) Relays were ... But it’s going to be good,” Corbett said. “We’ve got several good teams coming in.”
The field of teams for the Dragon Invitational includes Class AAAAAA schools Collins Hill and Mill Creek. The team making the longest trip to Jefferson will be Lamar County, which could prove to be one of the top squads in Class AA at May’s state meet. Newton will also bring a strong team, according to Corbett.
Local teams like Commerce, Prince Avenue and Athens Academy will also compete.
“I think we’ll have some good competition and it gives our kids another chance to compete,” Corbett said.
Corbett noted that many schools are already competing in their region meets this weekend, which contributed to less schools participating than in the past.
“That’s kind of slamming it down a little bit,” Corbett said.
That, however, will allow schools at the Dragon Invitational to enter three individuals per event — as opposed to two normally — as well as three teams in both the relay events.
Saturday’s meet will also give those schools that do attend the chance to get a preview of the boys’ state track venue.
Jefferson is continuing to sort out its lineup as the regular season nears its end, so both the Dragons and Lady Dragons will put Saturday’s meet to good use.
Corbett said several athletes are still competing for spots.
“That’s good for us to be able to complete like that ... It will be another chance for people to solidify a place for that region meet,” he said.