JEFFERSON, Ga. - He already had won the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in California and the Taco Bell Classic in Columbia
Ask Evans' Roy Cheney, and he'd suggest all that is just fine, but what he really wanted was a state title.
Bragging rights, he said, are everything. And winning in California and winning in South Carolina doesn't mean anything in Georgia.
The way Cheney performed Saturday at the Georgia High School Association State Track and Field Championships at Memorial Stadium, he can brag all he wants.
Taking a double victory in the Class AAAAA hurdles to become Evans' first individual state title winner, Cheney joined Butler's Willie Green (Class AAAA 100-meter dash), Jefferson County's Dantavius Harmon (Class AAA 100) and the Washington-Wilkes team in claiming Georgia crowns.
For Cheney, his motivation was easy to pinpoint.
"I wanted this one more than the other races," said Cheney, who ran a 14.23 in the 110-meter hurdles and a personal-best 36.91 in the 300-meter event. "Going to California was good, but that does nothing for me at home."
After winning the 110 hurdles, the senior engaged in a tight battle with Southwest DeKalb's Jonathan Walker in the 300 as the two made their way down the stretch.
But Walker hit the second-to-last hurdle and fell, brushing Cheney's leg. Cheney recovered and gingerly made his way over the last obstacle to earn the title.
"The best way I can sum it up is that he came to win," Evans coach David Machovec said. "And that's what he did. He came out and took care of business."
So did Butler's Green, who ran a 10.84 to win the 100 before being edged out by Stone Mountain's Dexter Faulk in the 200 to finish second. That was the reason why Green wasn't all smiles after his day was finished.
"I wanted to win, and I wanted to break the state record," said Green, who ran a 10.61 in Friday's 100 preliminaries to fall just short of the record 10.41 mark. "I couldn't do it, but I don't know why. It was close, though."
The same could be said for Jefferson County's Harmon, who was named co-state champion with Carrollton's Derrell Johnson after they hit the finish-line tape at the same time (11.04).
Washington-Wilkes, though, had no such trouble in winning the Class AA state crown for the first time since 1986.
Kenderous Wylie won the 200-meter dash (22.67 seconds) and the Class AA high points crown, while Quincey Felix was victorious in the 110 hurdles as the Tigers scored 82 points to demolish Crim (50 points) and the rest of the competition.
After losing to Crim by one point last season, Saturday's victory was sweet.
"We came here thinking we were going to win," Felix said. "Coach (Larry Milligan) told us we were going to have work hard for it. And when Crim messed up (by dropping the baton the 400 relay), we knew we were going to win the whole thing."
Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.