By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Millington Middle Stallions are sending 11 athletes to the annual event to participate in the boys and girls events. The program, which began as a club team in 2015, has reached the zenith of middle school track for four straight years.
This Saturday the campus of Austin Peay State University will welcome Stallions Ezekiel Miller, Payton Wasson, Omonefe Aigboman, Roshunda Gooden, the girls 4x200m and 4x400m relay teams and the boys 4x400m team.
Those Stallions earned their spots at State by finishing in the top 3 at Sectionals on May 4 in Whitehaven. Wasson was Sectional champion in the 800m and 1600m. Miler was victorious in the 400m run at Sectionals with a time of 54.72. And the Lady Stallion 4x400m relay team won the composed of Kalia Duckworth, Roshundra Gooden, Mia Goodall and Matrice White with alternate Daija Malock won at Sectionals with a time of 4:31.35.
Those girls along with Zion Walker finished second in the 4x200m race at Sectionals to John P. Freeman with a time of 1:53.62.
Millington’s third relay team to reach State is the boys’ 4x400m. The Stallions took second with a time of 4:00.14 with runners Khalik Green, Miller, Wasson, Jarvis Jones and alternates KyDavian Green and Johnathan Temple.
The youngest Stallion to reach State this year is sixth grader Omonefe Aigboman. She took third in the 200m with a time of 27.63 and in the Long Jump she leaped 15 feet, 1 inch taking third as well.
“The key thing is she has a younger sister who will be here in two years,” Millington Middle Head Track Coach T. Taylor said. “When she’s in the eighth grade, her sister will be in the sixth grade. We can’t have any better ambassador than the kids already in the program. Kids who have been here drawing other kids into the program.”
The 2019 Stallion Track team had 33 athletes with a record number of girls at 18. Millington Middle sent 17 students to Sectionals led by Taylor, Coach Dennis Alexander, Coach Linda Miller and new Coach LaTesa McLaughlin.
“She’s been a welcome addition with her strength and encouragement,” Taylor said. “You know how she coaches. With her in the fold we’ve adopted that old military motto ‘One team, one fight.’ We show up, we get started, and we get it done. She’s been an excellent addition to the program.”
McLaughlin and her fellow coaches work with all the athletes at various times. Any of the coaches could be seen assisting athletes like Goodenon the track or with discus. Gooden finished second at Sectionals in the discus with a toss of 71 feet, 1 inch.
“The mindset for ever meet is ‘We can,’” Taylor said. “With that attitude,we go to seek result with that we can attitude. I have a host eighth graders who made it. I have a couple of seventh graders who made it and I have a sixth grader who made it. It helps with the program having a sixth grader with that experience and the seventh graders returning next year. We’re preparing ourselves for future achievements.”
Taylor is happy seeing his younger athletes achieve and gain values from the program. For his eighth graders, Taylor wants them to go out on top and be productive Millington Trojans in the near future.
“As a coach I want them to feel success especially at the highest level they can go at the middle school level,” he said. “We’ve have a couple who could come back as State champions with Ezekiel Miller. He took first place in the 400m. He has a chance based on his time to be first in the State.
“Payton Wasson took first in the boys 800m,” he continued. “He ran a 2:19. He took first place in the 1600m. He ran I think a 5:18. He’s new to the school and program. And he’s determined. And he really hasn’t even touched his potential.”
To keep up with the results, visit http://tmsaa.tssaa.org/track-field/