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Weathersby brings home gold medal to Franklin County

JACKSON – The moment Franklin County senior Demetrice Weathersbywaited for all his track and field life finally became a memorableone Saturday night as Weathersby claimed gold at the Class 3Achampionships with a first place 200 meter finish of 22.55.

Weathersby, a 5-9 senior speedster from Bude, compiled only oneloss in the 2001 season that dated back to early March. Weathersbysuffered his only defeat in a second place finish in the regionalsheld at Liberty two weeks ago, losing to Amite County Trojan starBarry Crockett by a tenth of a second. Since that loss,Weathersby’s focus on his goal of being number one in the state inthe 200 meters hasn’t been interrupted.

“The loss in the regional made me work harder and gain a betterfocus in reaching my goal of winning the Class 3A Championship,”said Weathersby. “Overall it’s a great accomplishment in knowingthat I’m the best sprinter in Class 3A and throughout thestate.”

Weathersby’s speed also gained him a second place spot in the100 meter dash behind Carthage standout Ahmad Gardner. Weathersbyflashed a cool 10.81 behind Gardner’s 10.79 winning mark.

Weathersby has drawn lots of Division One scholarship offersfrom the likes of Jackson State, Mississippi Valley, Alcorn State,Hinds Community College and Southern University of Baton Rouge, La.He has also peaked the interest of Ole Miss and their track programas being a dual runner for the Rebels national known squad.

“I’m still weighing my options on which school I’ll attend nextfall,” continued Weathersby. “I just want to thank God and Coach(Tony) Gibbs for the opportunity to run these last four years atFranklin County. It’s been the best four years I’ve ever had.”

Although Weathersby’s plans may not be settled, his legacy atFranklin County High School has already been written said long-timetrack and field coach Tony Gibbs.

“Demetrice is one of those guys that give his all and listensand learns everything you teach and preach him,” said Gibbs. “Hegive his best effort every time he runs. He’ll be missed next yearfor that and the leadership he brought to our team the past threeyears.”

Weathersby’s other state teammate, senior Lakendrick Starks,also grasped the spotlight during the 2001 track season. Starksfinished out the year Saturday night with a third-place finish of23.35 in the 200 meters. Like Weathersby, Starks is being looked atby almost the same variety of colleges so there could be a packagedeal with one of the state schools worksed out.

“The same one’s that were drawn to Demetrice also gave Ken alook too,” said Gibbs. “Both are very good runners and both havethe same work ethic that got them to where they are now.”

Overall, Amite County coach Charlie Floyd claimed his 25th statetitle in 31 years of coaching as his girls won with 105 points toPontotoc and Poplarville’s 91 and 55 respectfully. Floyd’s LadyTrojans were highlighted by eighth grader Trumeha Banks in 200 and400 with gold medal finishes. Banks carried a 25.99 in the 200 anda 56.74 in the 400. Freshman Kristie Mitchell took honors in the100 with a time of 12.23.

Banks and Mitchell also helped lead the Lady Trojans to thethree relay event championships with help from seventh gradersKrance Mitchell and Lisa Means. The Lady Trojans time of gold inthe 400 was 48.24, in the 800 1:43.12 and in the 1600 meters4:40.01.

“MY girls really did a good job this year after starting theseason focused,” said Floyd. “I’m proud of Trumeka and Kristie fortheir efforts this year. They have come so far with such a longways still left to go in their futures.”

In other events, Hazlehurst senior and Alcorn State basketballsignee LaToya Johnson grabbed gold in the long jump with a leap of18.1. Wilkinson County senior Charlie Spiller took home two goldmedals with first place finishes in both the long jump and triplejump. Spiller’s long jump was a leap of 22 feet-six inches. Histriple covered 45 feet.