After a second-place finish at the Class 1A Public School state cross country meet back in the fall, Gordon Lee junior Jasper Wilson appeared to be primed for a big spring on the Trojans’ track team.
And he didn’t disappoint.
The 2017 Walker County Boys’ Cross Country Runner of the Year followed up by earning the 2018 Walker County Boys’ Track Athlete of the Year award.
“He’s one of the hardest workers on the team,” Gordon Lee track coach Dan Roberts said. “He literally trains night and day.”
Wilson not only picked up big points in the distance events for the Navy-and-White all season long, he capped the track season by sweeping the 1600 and the 3200 in both the Area 3-A and the Class 1A Public School state championships.
At the area meet in Rome, Wilson crossed the line in 4:51 to win the 1600 and clocked in at 11:28.14 in the 3200 to win the event, automatically qualifying for the state finals in both events.
Then at state in Albany, he won the 3200 on Day 1 in a time of 10:32.81 and followed up later that weekend by clocking a 4:49.63 to win state in the 1600.
“It was a really big improvement from last year,” said Wilson, who owns the school record in the 1600 (4:40.64) and set his personal-best in the 3200 at the state meet. “I switched from the 800 to the 3200 this year because I figured it would be better for our team. I was really happy for those (two state titles). I put in a lot of extra work for it this season.
“I made my workouts more intense. I trained a lot longer and put in a lot more miles per week. I just bumped everything up the spring.”
Oddly enough, the biggest challenges he got at the area and state meets came from his own team.
He finished less than a half-second ahead of freshman Jake Lee in the 3200 at the area meet and beat sophomore Ian Goodwin by just one second in the 1600. Then at state, Lee was less than two seconds behind Wilson in the grueling 3200, while he nipped Goodwin in the 1600 by less than a full second.
“Ian scared me there for a minute (at state),” Wilson said. “He’s really improved and he really pushed me a whole lot to improve my times. We pushed each other all season and Jake is just a freshman. I don’t want to race him when he’s a senior. He’ll be real good.”
And with all three runners and more returning next season, Wilson is very optimistic about his team’s chances of winning a state track title. Gordon Lee was state runner-up in 2017 and took third last month, both times seeing other teams take over the points lead late in the meet.
“We were talking about it on the way back from the state meet (this year),” Wilson said. “Last year we got second as a team and this year we got third. Both of them were little heartbreaking, but I think next year we might be really good.”