Calhoun track team brings back championship tradition

Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

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The Calhoun School Running Tigers competed in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Championship Meet in Cullman May 3-4, bringing home wins in relay and individual categories including the Class 1A State Championship for Boys 4 x 400-meter relay.

The relay team, consisting of Jeremy Hardy, Carmelo Brown, Calvin McCall and Keonte Abrams, competed with the top 16 track teams from across Alabama. The win represents the first state track title the Tigers have held since 1982, something Lowndes County Public Schools athletic director (AD) and Calhoun track coach Nick Rankins said has been a long time in coming.

“For me, it was everything,” Rankins said. “I took the job three years ago to rebuild the track program. I was given a huge opportunity by the former AD, Karimah Collins. My team and I came in with a big dream. Our motto was to bring the tradition back. My whole goal is to bring the winning tradition back to Calhoun.”

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The teams also made the 2024 Top Ten rankings, finishing 8th place in the state for overall performance.

Wins the team achieved at the meet include:

* Boys 4 x 400-Meter Relay 1st Place;

* Girls 4 x 400-Meter Relay 5th Place;

* Keonte Abrams – 400-Meter 3rd Place and 800-Meter 3rd Place;

* Layla Gary – 400-Meter 7th Place;

* Girls 4 x100-Meter Relay 10th Place;

* Boys 4 x 100-Meter Relay 4th Place; and

* Layla Oliphant – 100-Meter Hurdles 7th Place.

Hardy, a sophomore at Calhoun, plays football, basketball and runs track for the Tigers. He described the relay as tiring, but also fun and one of the many ways student-athletes can excel in sports.

“Kids see the potential,” Hardy said. “They see the track team and what we can do. Track conditioning helps me stay fit for football and brings hype from the fan community. They are hyped to see it, so we are hyped to do it.”

The team gave their all, Rankins proclaimed, working together to bring back the school’s winning track tradition.

“They left it on the track,” Rankins said. “It was really outstanding. All of them gave heart. All four of the guys [on the relay team] really held it down.”