Hard Work Pays Dividends as PMS Men’s Track Team Sets Record, Claims State Runner-Up
The motto for the Paducah Middle School track team is “work hard, win easy”. The motto held true as a team that Coach David Jones said “worked hard every day” produced six individual state champions, set a new state record in the 400 meter relay, and earned a runner-up finish in the 2008 Kentucky Middle School Track and Field Meet.
(l-r) Antonio Woodson, Kenneth Washington, Deante Brown
The potential of the team was largely unknown before the season began. Coach Jones said he “didn’t have a clue” about what to expect from the team because most of the team members hadn’t run before. Most had played on the football and basketball teams and were asked to come out for track. “They looked like athletes,” Coach Jones said. “Once they started working out, we knew we had something special.”
The 400 meter relay team of Dontavien Johnson, Antonio Woodson, Deante Brown and Kenneth Washington won a state championship with a state record time of 47.88 seconds. They also won a state championship in the 800 meter relay and were just three tenths of a second from setting another state record. “On the week of the race we worked every day on handoffs,” Coach Jones said. “I told them I wanted them to be able to do handoffs in their sleep. When the race started, the handoffs were perfect. When that’s the case, it’s just a matter of putting the speed on the track.”
The 1600 meter relay team of Dontavien Johnson, Antonio Woodson, Kenneth Washington, and Ronald Washum also brought home a state championship. The 3200 meter relay team of Donald Overstreet, Chris Letherwood, Bishlam Pea and Ronald Washam placed 3rd.
1600 Meter Relay Team Kenneth Washington, Antonio Woodson, Ronald Washum Not Pictured: Dontavien Johson
Individual competitors also contributed valuable points to the team effort. Javarius Hodge set a school record and won a state championship with a winning triple jump of 38 feet 4 inches. Will Hutson placed 4th in high jump and 5th in the pole vault. Shaquille Jordan placed 8th in the javelin.
Triple Jumper Javarius Hodge
With almost all of the team members moving up to high school next year, Coach Jones says “(PTHS Track) Coach Wyatt is drooling, but next year for us will be a rebuilding year. This team was special because if I said “do this”, they did it. There was no complaining and no whining.”