SouthSide Pioneers wrap up summer track season with a bang

Mon, 08/04/2008 - 8:21am
By: The Citizen

Despite team injuries of some of its elite athletes such as Johnathan Ross (Sandy Creek), Brandon Collins (Whitewater), Jared Cooper (Our Lady of Mercy), and  Hughston Taylor, recent Mcintosh HS grad headed to Mars Hill College, the SouthSide Pioneers Track and Field finished a challenging season at the 2008 Georgia Games( Marietta HS) , the USATF National Junior Olympics (Omaha, Nebraska), and the AAU National Junior Olympics Championships (Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI).

At the 2008 Georgia Games, the SSP Young Women's competition highlighted Jalisa Samuels, recent Creekside HS grad headed to Alabama State under the tutlelage of new Head Track Coach Ritchie Bean. Samuels placed 1st in the 400M (1:00), 2nd in the 100M (12.53) and 2nd in the 200M (26.23). She and her teammates Candace Wheeler (Sandy Creek), Jackie Smith (McIntosh), and Kensela Young (McIntosh) also took the gold in the 4x100M relay. Samuels became the first female athlete in SSP history to medal in four events at the Georgia Games, a meet the team has competed in since its inception in 2002. Samuel's teammate, Smith, took 6th in the 100M (13.19) and 7th in the 200M (27.94) while Wheeler placed 6th in the 200M (27.43) and 7th in the  400M(1:05). Young placed 8th in the Young Women's Triple Jump (9.89m), while teammate Keme Barnette (McIntosh) placed 4th in the Shot Put (6.5m), 6th in the Discus throw (20.91m), and 6th in the Javelin Throw (17.96m).

In addition,, Takkia Ross (Sandy Creek) became the first SSPioneers athlete to medal in three field events. She took 2nd in the Intermediate Girls' Discus Throw (13.97), 3rd in the Shot Put (5.75m) and 3rd in the Javelin Throw (9.14m). Her brother, Johnathan Ross (Sandy Creek) also took 3rd in the Young Men's Javelin Throw (31.00m). while teammate David Mathis (Sandy Creek) took 4th in the Javelin Throw (27.07m). SSP throwers are coached by former Fayette County HS thrower great, Simone Heath, now a University of Kentucky Widlcat.

The SSP Young Men's team also finished well this season at the Georgia Games with Darius Harris, recent Sandy Creek grad now headed to Charleston Southern University, taking the gold in the High Jump (6'2"). Harris had previously placed 3rd in the High Jump (6'4") at the USATF Region 3 Championship the week prior. Harris also placed 4th at the Georgia Games in the 200M (23.03). In addition, Vince Brown (McIntosh) took the gold in the 800M (1:56) while Dashwa Rodgers, a recent grad from Whitewater HS now headed to Mercer University, took 4th (2:02). The SSP Young Men's 4x100M relay comprised of Daiyaan Epps (McIntosh), David Mathis (Sandy Creek), Harris, and Carl McGill, a recent grad from Faith Academy now headed to Georgia Perimeter, took 1st with a 44:77. McGill also took 6th in the 100M (11.16) while the Young Men's 4x400M relay took 1st. That team was comprised of Harris, Mathis, McGill, and Jimi Moultrie (Sandy Creek).

In the Intermediate Division, Robert Chambers (Whitewater) placed 3rd in the Discus Throw (33.41m) while Jordan Scales placed 4th in the Triple Jump (11.70m) and Carl Eifert (McIntosh) placed 5th in the 800M (2:22). Eifert also represented the SSPioneers at the 2008 Southeast Sports Festival held at Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL) last weekend where he won the Intermediate Boys' 3000M with a time of 10:01, a personal and team record.

In the Youth Girls' division, Haley Young (Booth Middle) placed 4th in the Triple Jump (8.36m) and 4th in the High Jump (1.4m) while Brianna Satterwhite (Fayette Middle) placed 6th in the High Jump  (1.3m) in her first performance. Young went on to compete at the 2008 AAU National Junior Olympics Championship meet at Eastern Michigan University where she achieved her personal record clearing 5'0". She was the only female SSP athlete to compete at the meet while teammate Graylin Ward (Northgate HS) joined her in the High Jump to also achieve his personal record taking 4th in the nation with a jump of 6'4". Ward had competed only four days earlier at the USATF National Junior Olympics in Omaha, Nebraska where he took 7th in the nation. This is Ward's fourth consecutive year as a high jump contender at Junior Olympics meets and his first year as a contender at both Junior Olympics Championships meets in the same year.

The SouthSide Pioneers Track and Field Club will host its 7th annual team banquet on Friday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church in PTC. The team will begin conditioning for its indoor season with cross country workouts this fall. For more information on how to join the SSPioneers Track and Field Club, visit www.sspioneers,com or email

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