The 2011 Ledger-Enquirer All-Bi-City Track and Field honors go to a pair of state-champion athletes and the coaches who pushed their teams to the area’s best finishes.
At Smith’s Station, junior Quincy Smith went undefeated in the 400-meter run all season, winning an AHSAA Class 6A state championship, and placed second at state as part of two relay teams to earn All-Bi-City Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year honors.
Smith’s coach, Ron Peters, led the Panthers through a season in which their third-place finish at state was their lowest of the season and saw his 4x100 relay team win state titles. For that, he has been named the All-Bi-City Boys Track and Field Coach of the Year.
Columbus’ Kristina Delpesche won the GHSA Class AAA 1,600-meter title to become the area’s only female athlete to win a track and field state championship this year, earning her All-Bi-City Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year honors.
Carver girls track coach Detra Rosser led her team to a seventh-place finish at the Class AA meet, the highest of any Bi-City girls team, to earn All-Bi-City Girls Track and Field Coach of the Year honors.
Smiths Station’s Smith had a simple goal for his junior season.
“I actually had the mindset that no one could beat me,” Smith said. “I wasn’t going to let anyone beat me, and if someone did, I was just going to work harder and catch them.”
Smith faced some of the toughest competition in the state in his events. He also ran the 200 and 800, in which he finished fifth at the state meet, and was part of Smiths Station’s 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams, which finished second at state.
Smith said he hopes to begin getting some interest from colleges next season as a senior.
“I’ve talked to my coach about what I have to do to sign with a college, and I think I can do that,” Smith said. “If I want to get to that point, I think I’ll need to get my (400) time to about 46 (seconds). I’ll just have to keep doing what I do and do whatever it takes to keep winning.”
The Smiths Station boys’ third-place finish was the Bi-City’s best, and Peters earned boys coach of the year honors by doing it with a team he said was young and had varying levels of experience.
The coach worked with his lineup to find the right combination of events for everyone.
“My only goal all season was to just get people in the right assignments and work from there,” Peters said. “As the season went on, we really started to see them shine.
“By the end of the season when we competed at the Mountain Brook Invitational, which is like a pre-state meet in Huntsville, we won it and realized we had a legitimate shot to win a title.”
Delpesche won the Class AAA 1,600 championship with a time of 5:10.71.
Delpesche said she was disappointed with her performances a year ago as a sophomore and worked harder than ever in 2011 to improve her times.
“It was a lot of hard work this year, and it made me upset sometimes that I had to do so much work,” Delpesche said.
“But I realized how successful I could be if I worked harder.”
The athlete of the year honors are the second this school year for Delpesche, who was also named the All-Bi-City Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year in the fall after finishing second overall and leading Columbus to a Class AAA state championship.
Delpesche said she hopes to build on this season’s success with the goal of bringing home more championships next year as a senior.
“I’m just going to try to keep it up and do even better next year,” Delpesche said. “I’m going to keep working just as hard.”
Rosser’s team spread the work around this season. At the state meet it earned points from six athletes in the 100, 200, 100 hurdles, triple jump, high jump, discus and 4x100 relay.
Chris White, 706-571-8571; follow Chris online at twitter.com/le_chriswhite and at facebook.com/lechriswhite.