The Liberty County Panther boys finished No. 32 and the girls finished in 43rd place to stay among the top 50 track squads at the Bob Hayes Invitational Track meet in Jacksonville last weekend. Ninety-seven high schools reportedly participated in the event.
Panther assistant track coach Nathan Mims said organizers said it was the largest single-day event in the nation and the Panthers did a great job competing among the best athletes.
"We left the meet with our heads held high, knowing that we can compete with the elite athletes of this nation," he said. "One standout athlete I want to recognize is Aaron Bennett. He placed fourth out of 80 athletes in the discus with a throw of 168’ 5".
Mims said Bennett also placed eighth in the shot put.
"To be able to place in the top 8 at this kind of track meet says a lot about the athlete," Mims said. "They named Aaron one of the elite athletes at the meet. Another athlete I want to mention is Demetrius Stinson. He received a scholarship at the meet worth $1,000."
Mims said every participant had to submit a scholarship packet containing the students’ transcripts and written essays. The committee then selected the top 5 athletes for the scholarship based on academics, essay and coaches recommendations.
"I think Demetrius is well-deserving of this scholarship," Mims said. "He is an A student and an A athlete.
Stinson is also a finalist for the Vincent J. Dooley Scholarship.
The $1,000 Dooley scholarship is given annually to one male and one female senior selected from Georgia’s high schools on the basis of distinguished character, outstanding teamwork and citizenship.
On May 3, all 270 Dooley Award recipients will be invited to a luncheon and an Atlanta Braves baseball game. The announcement of this year’s scholarship winners will take place on Turner Field before the 1:35 p.m. game between the Braves and Houston Astros.
"All in all, everybody performed great and I think this was a great experience for all of the athletes," Mims said.
Roderick Jones - 13 place out of 68 athletes 100m
Hakeem Clark - 21 out of 68 athletes 100m
Nolan Lowe - 17 out of 82 athletes 400m
Quinton Harris - 19 out of 82 athletes 400m
Andrew Lopez - 25 out of 89 athletes 1600m
Stephen Brown - 7 out of 40 athletes for the high jump
Javon Jones - 17 out of 60 athletes for the long jump
Aaron Bennett - 8 out of 40 athletes for the shot put and 4 out of 80 athletes for the discus throw
Nazerene Hines - 25 out of 72 athletes 100m
Niesha Walthour - 10 out of 47 athletes 100m hurdles an 10 out of 42 athletes Long Jump
Unika Williams - 16 out of 40 athletes high jump
Jana Jones - 25 out of 76 athletes for the shot put