Ahead Of The Pack

With less than three weeks until the 6A-South Conference meet, Pine Bluff’s track and field teams took their first opportunity to gear up in front of their home crowd.

And Patrick Grady was giving a clinic on distance running.

Pine Bluff dominated the boys field of the Albert Alexander Relays on Monday on the namesake’s track with 182 points, 79 ahead of runner-up Little Rock Central. Grady earned three of the Zebras’ seven event victories, winning the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs in 4:55.37 and 11:19.10, respectively, and helping the 4x800 relay team come from behind on the final lap to win.

“He’s a worker. He knows how to work,” Pine Bluff coach Laydell Jordan said. “The only thing he has to work on — he has the 800 down — he’s got to get that 1,000 and 1,200 time faster (in the 1,600).”

Dollarway’s Jamal Burton took the lead in the third leg of the relay, and the Cardinals stayed in front until Grady passed the leader coming off the first turn of the final lap. He gave Pine Bluff the victory with a time of 8:46.69. Chris Foster, Devin Thomas and Josh Caver ran the other legs for the Zebras.

“I was thinking maybe if I pass him early, it’ll take away some of his confidence, and I took over from there,” Grady said.

Dollarway was second, 2.91 seconds behind.

The Pine Bluff 4x800 girls team of Talisha Perry, LaCatherine Williams, Diamon Dixson and Shakema Haynes won their race by a greater distance, finishing almost 5 seconds ahead of Little Rock McClellan in 11:09.46.

The Zebras also had victories by Lamarcus Taggart in the high jump (6 feet), Deandre Gridley in the 300 hurdles (42.18 seconds), Foster in the 800 (2:12.38) and Joseph Harris in the 200 (23.52).

Dollarway’s Mark Jynes threw 43 feet, 10.5 inches, to win the shot put. Sheridan’s Justin Rose, who holds the second-best distance in Class 6A at 45 feet, came in second at 42-9.75.

“I prayed before I did it,” Jynes said. “They had some good talent out there.”

This is Jynes’ first year to throw full-time. He also won in Warren last week with a toss of 44-1.

The 110 hurdles featured at least three 2012 state qualifiers in Monticello’s Reggie Frazier and Pine Bluff’s Tyron Evans and Gridley . Frazier ran the only sub-16 second time (15.73) Monday to win.

The remaining local event winners all came from Monticello: in the pole vault, Rebecca Chisom (6-0) and Julian Jackson (6-0); in the triple jump, Deanne Martin (33-6.5); in the boys discus, Imani Riley (126-2), in the girls 1,600, Salonica Hunter (6:49.61), and in the 3,200, Brittany Taylor (19:35.00).