Batesburg-Leesville, fresh from winning the Region 3-2A championship by a commanding margin and an impressive showing at last week’s Upper State qualifier, is looking to turn its best-ever performance at the state championship meet on Saturday at Harry Parone Stadium.
The Panthers have 11 individual event entries and two relay teams in the mix. The goal is to established new state meet standards for the program, possibly cracking the Top 5 for the first time in modern era program history. The high point and high finish marks were established in 1994 when 33.5 team pointes netted the Panthers a sixth-place spot in the final standings.
The key men in the quest are senior Ricky Adams and sophomore Garrett Graham. Adams made the cut in three individual events and as a member of the 1600 relay team that finish second last week at Upper State. In solo matters, Adams was first in the long jump and second in the triple jump and 100 meters. Graham, who also ran on the 1600 relay team, made the cut in the 200 and 400.
Adams was second in the triple jump and fourth in the long jump at state a year ago, and is the only returning member from the silver medal 1600 relay team. The Panthers were eighth in the team race.
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Derrick Amick, Patrick Cannon, Gabriel Creech and Taquan West are also on hand to help the cause in various individual events.
Eau Claire is looking for a better showing in 2010, and with junior Marquis Jones in the forefront the goal should be attainable. The Shamrocks managed just 16 team points a year ago. Jones placed fourth in the 400 and was one EC’s fourth-place 1600 relay team. Jones was second in the 400 at the Upper State meet, and was on the second-place 1600 relay.
Jared Sanders and distance man Omar Shariff are the other EC individual qualifiers. Sanders was second in the 800 at Upper State last week.