By Thomas Sellers Jr.
GERMANTOWN – Tipton County was well represented Saturday at Landers Ford Stadium on the campus of Houston High School at the 2017 Sectional 4-3A Meet.
Brighton Track Coach Courtney McGinnis brought a few athletics including budding freshman Andreanna “Anna” Hood. And of course one of the best teams in West Tennessee the Munford Cougars, led by longtime Head Coach Bernard Ivie, was in town.
As the list of Cougars and Cardinals ran long on the posted sheets at one end of the stadium, Hood celebrated her third place finish in Shot Put to qualify for State. The freshman tossed a 35’6 throw to reach Murfreesboro May 25.
“It’s huge for her especially as a ninth grader,” McGinnis said. “I think she has proven herself. And she put her stamp that she’s going to be here for a while.
“As for the program, I don’t think we had a girl reach State since Kimi Jennings in 2010,” she added. “She won in pole vault. To have a girl go back to State for Brighton is huge.”
Hood also took fourth in Discus to qualify for State. Brighton has enjoyed some success in track the past 15 years with names like Jennifer Wildes, Malcolm Terry and Jennings bringing home medals.
Meanwhile at Munford the historic names include State champion from 2010 Crystal Williams. Other notables are Matt Gray, Buck Wakefield, Evan Sisung and more.
Trying to add his name to the list is Munford junior Blake Johnson. He reached Sectionals in the Triple and Long jumps. He finished sixth in the Triple and ninth in the Long just missing out on reaching State.
“It’s a great accomplishment just to get here in the first place among so much great competition,” Johnson said. “The wind was blowing real hard which kind of messed me up in the first three. I was really hoping to accomplish that 42’9 I got before to have a chance to go to State.”
He wasn’t able to reach his personal best of 20’3.5 in the long jump Saturday. But the talented junior has one more year under Ivie to try to reach his goal.
“I want to add my name to that list,” he acknowledged. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work.
“This program has meant a lot to me,” Johnson added. “I came in here my freshman year, it was just a sport for me to do. Now it has become one of my favorite things to do. Coach Ivie is a great coach. He has particularly become a father figure for me.”
Ivie was his usual busy self at a May track meet. He was checking on athletes like Kayla Chapman, Johnna Jones, Gabby Crawford, Katie Tolbert, Kylan Cunningham, Reese Adkins, Ayonna Lemons, Ciara Potter, Keilla Tud, Kyle Jones, Jennifer Taylor and more.
“Track is a very individual sport,” Johnson said. “But for Munford Track, Coach Ivie likes to teach teamwork and coming together. We all talk to each other and come prepared. We all warm up together. We all influence each other out here.”
McGinnis said Brighton is building that team aspect each season as talented athletes make the commitment to the sport. She hopes Hood success will bring more awareness to Brighton students to come out for the sport.
“Anna has worked her butt off and I’m really proud of her,” she said. “She’s in the band. She does a Jazz Band. She’s an A, B kid in advance classes. And to add track, I think she really has the ability to put her stamp down in the state.”
With a sport stuff including the administration and even Brighton Assistant Baseball Coach Aaron Marshall, the Cardinal staff is ready to invest in the present and future success of Hood.
“For us we’ve got to 1,” McGinnis concluded. “Have her continue to believe in herself and that she can get better. Her ceiling has not been reach. 2. We have to put the time and she has to put the time in as well.”