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FHS relay team steps up behind seniors, sends Ball out a state champ


Just before closing the door to his Farragut High School coaching career — in fact, the very last event — David Ball got a taste of FHS track and field state championship success as it was in the glory days.

His 4 X 800 boys relay team took home the Class AAA state crown May 25 in Murfreesboro in what many observers considered a minor upset.

“I told the kids, ‘I appreciate all your hard work,” said Ball, a track and field assistant coach for two years before assuming the boys head coaching job this season. “I hadn’t had that taste of Farragut track history where there had been a champion.

“It was a nice way to go out,” added Ball, who has moved on to Knoxville Catholic as girls varsity basketball head coach.

With a winning time of 8:05.06 to edge out runner-up Houston by .10 of a second, Farragut’s four runners each had all-time personal best efforts in winning state: opening leg, senior Thomas Fraser [1:58]; second leg, junior Chris Wright [2:03]; third leg, senior Thomas Gilmartin [2:03] and anchor, senior Bryan Mann [1:58].

“I was ecstatic for them, it was a great opportunity for them to end their high school careers as state champions,” Ball said, adding the Admirals 4 X 800 finished third in 2006 and among the top eight in 2005. “It was probably the most strategic and best race we could have run. We couldn’t have run it any better.

“We had a lot of experience, we had three seniors that had competed in the same event the last two years,” Ball added. “I told them to ‘go out there and have fun, it’s their last race.’ And just make sure they did leave anything in the tank. Give everything you have, don’t ever have any regrets.

“They did everything that we asked of them this year.”

Bearden, the Admirals nemesis as KIL and 1-AAA Sectional championships, was third (8:06.98).

“At that level, you never know what’s going to happen,” Ball said. “Going into the picture, coach [Chelsea] Jacobs and I had both been telling the guys, ‘everybody’s counting you out, nobody gives you a chance, but we know how you are, we know who you are, we know your work ethic and the things that you’ve done. You’re very well prepared for this.’”

Another factor, Ball said, was health. “We finally got healthy, we’d been injured all year long,” the coach said.

OTHER ATHLETES

“I was pleased with the whole crew that went up to state,” Ball said of both the girls and boys teams. “The two pole vaulters [Jeremy Walker and Kathleen Jarvis], the decathlete [A.J. Reust] and the girls four-by-eight[hundred: Caroline Sneed, Margo Sneed, Sarah Brinson and Alyssa Dresen].”

 

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