POWDER SPRINGS – Janaz Graves wanted to keep training, running and competing in the 400-meter run after winning the Region 1-7A championship on April 24.
He got his wish then, and he gets it again.
Graves had the third-fastest time of all the 400 runners at Saturday’s GHSA Class 7A sectional held at McEachern High. This sectional involved four of the eight regions, and Graves, a senior, was second in his heat running the one-lap distance in 48.26 seconds.
Nicholas Ramy of Brookwood High was also in Graves’ heat, and he won in 47.09 seconds. There were two heats in all, and the winners of each one plus the next six fastest times all qualify for the GHSA Class 7A track and field finals.
The finals begin Thursday at Berry College’s Valhalla Stadium in Rome.
In the 7A sectional at Archer High, Shiloh High had two 400-meter runners under 48 seconds.
The 400 isn’t Graves’ only event. Two Colquitt County relay teams placed in the top eight. Nakerran Porter, Camari Louis and Jeffery Lowery joined Graves on the 4x100 team that placed seventh in 42.37 seconds. Timothy Parker, Graves, Louis and Porter make up the 4x400 team which got the last spot coming in eighth at 3:26.03.
Another of Colquitt County’s region track champions, Robert Wood, was third in sectionals. In his second of four attempts at the long jump, Wood covered 22 feet, 7.25 inches. This was 0.25 inches ahead of two other jumpers, Zayquan Graham of Kennesaw Mountain and Ajay Shanmugan of Brookwood.
Rounding out the Colquitt boys track contingent qualifying for the state finals is Orion Bonner. In the 300-meter hurdles race, he placed seventh-best at 40.54 seconds.
Senior Jay Ward had two 11th place finishes. He missed three attempts at a 6-2 high jump, and he was 11th in the triple jump.
Only one member of the Colquitt County girls track and field team earned a place in Rome. Angela DeBerry, region champion in the high jump at 5-2, cleared five feet at McEachern and placed fifth.
Naia Benefield ran in both the girls 100 and 200 meters, placing 11th both times. Her 100 time was 12.64 seconds, which was 0.07 from the top eight. In the 200, Benefield was 0.77 seconds from the top eight running in 26.41.
Colquitt girls 4x100 relay placed ninth in sectionals, and LeAundra Wood placed 10th in the triple jump.