Area teams focused on winning AHSAA state track and field meet
by LAVONTE YOUNG
Area teams look to bring home the championship in the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s state track meet at Gulf Shores on Friday and Saturday.

Lincoln head coach Skylar Mansfield is confident that his team has a strong chance to leave with hardware.

“It is always a great opportunity to have a team to compete in this event,” Mansfield said. “This is a great opportunity to have good athletes. Hopefully, we have enough athletes to compete for the title. There are some pretty competitive teams that we are up against, but overall, I think we look pretty good team wise.”

Lincoln’s junior sprinter Shelbi White is competing for a state title in the 100, 200, 400 and 4x400 meter relay team.

“Shelbi is very impressive,” Mansfield said. “The way she trains, the way she leads, especially starting as a seventh grader competing in this event she has been nothing but impressive. She takes control of situations and she trains very hard to try to win a state championship for the girls team.”

White broke the state record 55.97 in 400 meter dash. Mansfield believes that White could break her own record today.

“The way she has been training and her mental focus I think she has a great chance of doing it,” Mansfield said. “Overall, the record has not been her main focus. Her main focus is to continue to get better and continue to get her time lower. Because of her results at sectional, she has drawn the interest from other schools as far as the next level. She is also focused on her academics, so she can have the opportunity to compete on the next level. She still has a long way to go, she is just a junior. It is always good to have a junior to compete at a high level.”

Mansfield is also impressed with hurdler Austin Swain. He finished fifth in both the 300-meter hurdles and 110 hurdles to quality for the state meet.

“I am very impressed with Austin Swain,” Mansfield said. “He was a late bloomer coming on the scene in the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles. He has been pretty impressive to me, because he has taken the 110 hurdles and the 300 hurdles and made it his event. Ever since he started doing it, that has been his main focus to get better on the hurdles. He has really impressed me with the way he has been working on those hurdles.”

The Sylacauga Aggies had a strong season and they look to finish the season with some hardware. Senior sprinter Devin O’Neal will try to win the state championship in the 100, 200, 400 and the 4x100 meter relay.

“This is the most kids we have taken to state in over 10 years,” Sylacauga head coach Jeff Steers said. “Devin (O’Neal) will need to have a good day tomorrow. He will not be the favorite in any race, but I think he will need to be in the top three of all to get that gold he has been looking for at state. The 4X100 runs first tomorrow. We need to redeem ourselves from sectional. I expect girls 4x100 to win.”

Several other schools in the area, such as Childersburg and Munford, have athletes that are looking to defend or contend for state titles this weekend.
© 2013