By Thomas Sellers Jr.
ARLINGTON — With all the schools in Tennessee broken up into just two classifications for track, Millington Trojan athletes knew May 13 would be a large challenge.
Millington Head Track Coach James Edwards and staff had to prepare their athletes to take on their peers from Whitehaven, Southwind, Cordova, Munford and more in the large school division.
Trojan senior Corey Smith came into the Sectional meet eyeing a return to State competing in the high jump, 200m, 400m and 4x200m relay. Smith running the lead leg of the event assisted teammates Reggie Caldwell, Eddie Macklin and Adrian Dowell in reaching the Large School State Track meet in Murfreesboro on the campus of MTSU.
The Trojan 4x200m relay team clocked in a time of 1:28.68 taking third. The qualifying time locked up a spot at State and gave senior Macklin another highlight for his final year at Millington.
“It feels great because in my freshman year I came up,” he recalled. “I really didn’t get playing time in football. I didn’t run track my freshman year. But my sophomore year we went to State.
“I took a year off from track to get ready for football,” Macklin continued. “We won Region in football and now I came back this year. My senior and I am happy to make it back to State.”
Macklin was an All-Region returner in football. He used his speed to be one of the top receivers on the team along with Smith. Macklin was also a role model for sophomore teammates Caldwell and Dowell on the gridiron.
While that duo looked up to Macklin, opponents saw his size, standing under 6-feet tall, and tried to intimidate him. But Macklin said being the undersized, underdog his whole life had him prepared.
“People are always going to talk about how short you are,” he acknowledged. “How little you are. But if you have the heart and get the momentum, you can channel that into what you have to do. The doubts helped me a lot.”
Now Macklin is a Region champion in football and two-time State qualifier in track. He is hoping a solid week of practice will give the 4x200m relay team a chance to pull off an upset in Murfreesboro.
“We can pull off the upset at State,” he said. “It’s going to take practice and no playing around when we’re there. We’ve got to be focused.”
Macklin and the Trojans are eyeing first place. But a trip to State has already added to the Trojan legacy of Eddie Macklin.
“The Region championship we won and now going to State in the 4x200m,” he concluded. “The State we’re going to take and bring back home with first place. We’re going to bring it home. I want them to remember Eddie was a team player, about team.”