GISA AAA State Champions
GISA 2 AAA Region Champs
The Stratford Boys' Track team came into the 2014 season with one ultimate goal-a fourth consecutive state championship. Led by their nine veteran seniors, the Eagles completed the mission with a resounding win at the GISA State Meet held from April 24-26 at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany, GA.
Deerfield looked like they would be our main competition in Albany, especially because their strength was in the field events, where we had not been as strong this year. After the first two days of competition they led by 15 points. That gap was actually much smaller than expected, however. The Stratford field athletes moved up and scored better than they were seeded all day Friday. On Saturday, wins in the 4x100 relay and the 110 hurdles started our day; by the end, we had roared all the way back from 15 down to win 124-110. Dominion was the third place team with 56.
Lukas Joyner led the way with top 5 finishes in the 800, 1600, and 3200. Alex Koplin and Thomas Thwaite scored in the shot put; Carter Canady and Cole Garrett scored in the discus. Chandler Banks scored in the high jump, and Jonathan Hefner added points in the triple. Thomas Williams and Lawson Massey scored in the pole vault and ran on our second 4x400 team in the finals (along with Kareem Harvey and Pierce Reaves.) Lawson also ran in the finals of the 300 Hurdles. Sean Grossnickle was a state finalist in the 400. The first 4x400 team of Russett, Grossnickle, Mitchell, and Graham finished as state runner up.
Stratford had four state champions. First was Quintez Cephus in the triple jump (in addition to his third place in the high jump.) He was joined by Eli Russett, champion in the 110 Hurdles and 4th place in the 300 Hurdles, and Hayden Graham, champion in the 400 and runner-up in both the 100 and 200. The 4x100 relay team of Conner Corbitt, John Mitchell, Sean Grossnickle, and Graham also won a state championship-Stratford’s first in that event since 1993! In addition, Hayden earned the individual high point award; Stratford’s first since Ryan Dehnad earned it, also in 1993.
Stratford’s Boys Track team has been one of the most dominant programs in the GISA for almost two decades. Since 1998, the Eagles have finished in the top four, four times; been state runner up twice; and finished as state champions 9 times. The boys' team is proud to have added the last GISA title to its legacy and to leave the GISA while on top. They have been great champions, competitors, and representatives of what Stratford represents-Libertas Excellentiae!