Preps: Ramsey plays the hero in BA's run to second straight track title

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 6:37pm
By Harold Huggins

It is unlikely that Brentwood Academy's Jalen Ramsey has a big red "S" emblem embroidered underneath his suit and tie. At least he has not revealed anything of the sort.

Ramsey got the Eagles off to a roaring start toward a second straight Division II boys track and field state championship when he delivered 10 points with a victory in the decathlon. But that was just the start.

Ramsey scored 30 more points with victories in the 200- and 400-meter runs and the long jump. He also was second in the 110 hurdles.

He might not have been faster than speeding bullets or leapt any tall buildings, but his ability to run and jump accounted for close to half of the Eagles’ 111 points and helped them outdistance runner-up  Montgomery Bell Academy, which had 99½.

A 6-foot, 180-pound junior, Ramsey already has made his name in football as a standout wide receiver and cornerback. He virtually has his choice of Division I college programs.

He's also rapidly making a name for himself in track and field as well.

"Jalen was already an accomplished 200 runner and high jumper,'' coach Brad Perry said. "I suggested he began thinking about competing in the decathlon where he would have to specialize in other events. At the same time, I emphasized that I didn't want to push him into any event in which he wasn't totally comfortable with. But he embraced each event we started to work with.

"The results were stunning. He just took off, long jumping 24 feet, triple jumping 45 feet, throwing the shot 45 feet and the discus 121 feet. It's a testament to not only his athletic ability, but how hard he was willing to work to improve in those events. On top of that, he's so coachable.''

The state meet was a reverse of the previous week’s region competition at which BA finished second to MBA.

"MBA probably had a little more depth than we did, and that showed in the region,'' Perry, an assistant coach for the Eagles’ 2011 state championship, said. "I felt we had a little more quality of personnel, and that was the difference at state.

"Last year, we were definitely the best team. This year, I thought there was a lot more parity with very good teams like MBA, along with Christian Brothers, Briarcrest and McCallie all in the mix. We had a lot of events where we overachieved and absolutely included our relays and especially in the 4x100.”

The Eagles had added motivation after 2007 graduate Andrew Harper, son of former long-time Eagle track coach Charlie Harper, was involved in a serious motorcycle accident last week, resulting in multiple surgeries.

"It happened late last Tuesday night, and the team found out about it Wednesday,'' Perry said. "We had a little prayer service for him and his wife Diane. The doctors have just told us [Monday] that Andrew can come home and continue rehab. It looks like he'll have a complete recovery.''

Brentwood Academy’s girls team also won the state championship.

BA scored 134 points. Runner-up Girls Preparatory School had 112.

The key was a 1-2-3 finish in the 200-meter dash, the second to last event, which put the Eagles ahead for good. Sophomore Abbie Whitehurst crossed the line ahead of juniors and twin sisters Breanna and Deanna Tate.

"I'm very excited about the success of the girls and am really happy for (coach) Cathy Cheeseman who is an extremely hard worker,'' Perry said. "They had a very balanced team.''

Spring Fling highlights

• Goodpasture (38-3-1) baseball was the most dominant Nashville team. It won the Class AA championship without a defeat in four games. It outscored the opposition by  combined 22-0 in the final three contests capped by a run-rule shortened 10-0 victory over Spring Hill in the final. Hunter Newman (13-0) pitched a five-hit shutout and went 3-for-3.

Battle Ground Academy also was dominant, going 3-0 with 24 runs en route to the Division II-AA championship.

• Davidson Academy fell just short in Division II-A softball when it lost to University School of Jackson 4-3 in the final after it defeated USJ — and forced a decisive game — a day earlier. Catcher Savannah Peek went 4-for-6 over final two games.

Goodpasture lost to Gibbs in the Class AA final.

• Nationally ranked Brentwood High won the AAA soccer 1-0 as Josh Wild was credited with the winning goal late in the game. Wild scored on a shot that seemed to bounce off two or three players.