MOULTRIE — Colquitt County High senior Jamal Hayes turned in one of the fastest times in the country this season in the 400 meters and took first place in the event last weekend at the LSU High School Indoor Track and Field Classic.

The meet drew some of the top high school athletes in the country to the Carl Maddox Field House at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge on Friday and Saturday.

Hayes ran in the first heat in the 400-meter event and turned in a 48.92.

No one else in the field of 105 runners could match or better it.

The event drew 15 heats of seven runners each.

Ronnie Alexander of Belaire, La., placed second with a 49.09.

Hayes competed in a number of top outdoor track meets last year and will continue the indoor season at the Carl Lewis Classic on Jan. 21 in Houston. Next month, he will compete in another meet in Tennessee and will travel to New York in March.

He also will try to help the Colquitt County track team duplicate its stunning Region 1-AAAAA championship of a year ago.

Hayes is being heavily recruited and has talked to LSU, Alabama, Illinois, Houston and other schools. He is expected to make a decision by April 12.

Hayes began to improve his times in the 400 last summer, competing with other top runners around the country and working with Carrollton track coach William Jones.

He also competed in other events last summer, including the 200 and teamed up with other runners from Georgia in 4x400 events.

In the USA Track Federation National Junior Olympic Championships held in July in Indianapolis, he joined Courtney Lester of Douglass High, David Champlain of Redan and Kenneth Mitchell of Westlake to the win the national championship in the 4x400.

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