During the final day of the Class 2A state track meet in Albany, Jordan head coach Russell Scott gave senior D’Andre Snead quite the challenge.
As the Red Jackets fought for position in the overall rankings, Scott knew Snead would need to really show out to help his team’s cause. Snead was in the finals of two events, so Scott challenged him to win both and bolster Jordan’s spot in the standings.
Naturally, Snead did just that.
Snead walked away as the Class 2A state champion in the 110 hurdles and the 300 hurdles as the Jordan boys placed fifth overall. As a result of his pair of titles, Snead has been named the All-Bi-City Boys Track Athlete of the Year.
Looking back on Scott’s challenge, Snead didn’t sugarcoat the weight that his head coach’s words placed upon him.
“He put a lot of pressure on me,” Snead said. “It was a bad thing, but it was a good thing also. I knew I had it in me and just tried to do it for the team.”
Snead said the regular season was practically a breeze for he and the other Jordan athletes, adding the pressure did kick up after regionals and into sectionals. Once the state meet got underway, he realized the task of winning in his events was something different entirely.
The amount of talent on hand was hard enough to top. Snead’s run in the 110 hurdles preliminaries, however, made things even more difficult.
Snead said he was running in a lane between two of the faster competitors when the runner to his left bumped him as they lept the first hurdles. The contact was enough to disrupt his steps, causing some real issues for Snead.
“In the middle of the race, I was just thinking, ‘Just let me place. I’ll get them tomorrow,’” Snead said.
Snead took fifth place in the preliminary race. While the bump momentarily put his status in jeopardy, Snead knows now the incident played out like a blessing in disguise.
Because Snead finished fifth, Snead’s lane for the finals race was not alongside the faster runners in the field. Instead, he was situated alongside athletes he knew were inferior, which meant a similar disruption was not likely.
It all worked out for Snead, who won the race by one-tenth of a second. He said he didn’t have time to let the victory soak in, as he still had the 300 hurdles race to gear up for. Snead said only after winning that race did the moment finally hit him.
“When I stood up on the podium, I realized I had actually done it,” Snead said. “I had gotten a state championship.”
Snead now moves on to Savannah State, where he will play wide receiver and cornerback for the football team. He said he looks forward to leading the team, saying the coaches have told him he can be a key part in building something special. He also said he wants to start a new family there at Savannah State, much like the one he had with his friends and teammates at Jordan.
Snead said he doesn’t leave for Savannah State until July, so he hasn’t been removed from Jordan just yet. Still, he understands that soon enough he’ll walk away from his high school, though the experience won’t soon be forgotten.
“It’s going to have an impact on me my whole life,” Snead said. “At Jordan, it was kind of my school. I loved this school. If I could do it again, I would. After a while when I’m gone, I’m going to miss it.”