Preps: MLK girls track team will provide a stern test at next month's state meet

Monday, April 16, 2012 at 9:39pm

The Martin Luther King girls track and field team looks forward to next month’s state championship meet and the opportunity for a third straight Class A/AA title.

What they won’t do is look back on last Saturday’s Doug Hall Relays as a bad sign even though they finished a distant third (with 56½ points). After all, senior Amia Butler, the meet’s most valuable performer each of the previous two years, was absent because she took the ACT.

The Royals managed to keep the award in the family. Senior Jasmine Owens won it this time after a spectacular day.

“I think we have what it takes to win again,” Owens, who said her college choices include Tennessee State and Murray State, said. “It’s a step-by-step process, and I’m looking forward to it, because I believe we can do it.”

Owens ran anchor on the winning sprint medley and 4x400 relays (she had a sub-60-second split in each). She also ran third on the 4x100 and 4x200 teams, which both finished in third place.

She also won the Doug Hall scholarship nomination.

“It depends so much on how things fall into place, how many we qualify out of region,’’ coach Butch Stewart said. “Amia is the defending [state] 100-meter hurdles champion, an excellent triple jumper and a top pentathlon performer, where she can get points for us there.

“Jasmine is an excellent candidate in the 400 and anchors our 4x100 and 4x400 relays. And Lesley Williams is the defending 200 champ. All in all, if we can qualify enough participants, we should be right in there.”

Great Eight: The annual Great Eight track and field meet will be held at the Vanderbilt track Tuesday, beginning with the pole vault at 3 p.m.

The meet brings together the Middle Tennessee athletes with the top eight times and distances so far this spring for the competition, regardless of classification. An athlete of meet will be awarded at the conclusion of the meet. There are no relays.

Briefly

• Brentwood High’s Jake Lazas was named the Doug Hall Relays boys most valuable athlete. He won the individual high jump and anchored his team’s winning shuttle hurdle and 4x400 relay teams and anchored the runner-up 4x800 quartet.

“He had an excellent meet,” coach Ronnie Seigenthaler. “We do better when these events don’t fall on prom night, we can’t compete with the prom.”

• Hall Relays officials wore red and blue ribbons to honor University School of Nashville track coach Zaf Ahmed who suffered a heart attack recently. He is at home and is reportedly continuing to improve.

• M.L. King will host the annual Buster Relays on Friday and Saturday on its home track at old Tennessee Prep School.

• Harpeth Hall senior Margaret McDowell won the meet’s Etheridge pole vault award (girls) for the third straight year. She is headed to Tulane.

Christ Presbyterian Academy’s Chris Charles won the boys award for the second time.

• Brentwood Academy will honor coach Charlie Harper prior to the school’s Harper Relays, named in his honor, prior to the meet at about 5 p.m. May 4.