The early-season conditioning and mindset put in place by new Rome High track and field coach Nick Bridges got a major test on Saturday with the Rome Invitational.
And with both the girls’ and boys’ teams finishing in the top two out of the nine schools that competed, the feeling is they can get even better.
Rome’s girls scored 162 points to win first place over Bremen, which finished with 112 points for second place. The Wolves, meanwhile, had some outstanding performances but came up just short of Region 7-5A foe Carrollton in the final standings to take second.
The Trojans scored 144 points while Rome ended the day with 131.
“When you talk about track, Carrollton is always the deal,” Bridges said. “They have a tradition. And we want to mimic that and break the mold to make it better.”
Bridges said he has been impressed with the amount of talent at Rome, and knows that there is more he can do to help improve the level of competition of the school’s track and field program to go head-to-head with the likes of Carrollton.
“We’re going to keep pushing the envelope down to our middle school and start a youth track program,” Bridges said. “We’re going to expand this thing to everything that they are. And we have the equal amount of talent that they do. We’ve just got to get the support structure established to make it grow.”
Part of that foundation was on display Saturday as Rome’s athletes pushed themselves in their respective events.
For Rome’s girls, TaCoria Williams won the triple jump, getting a leap of 35 feet, 1 ½ inches, and took second in the long jump with a leap of 15-8.
Renauzay Jackson won the long jump with a leap of 17 feet even, while Zaysha Brown completed the 1-2-3 Rome sweep of the even with a leap of 15-2 for third. Brown also came in second in the 100-meter dash and third in the triple jump.
All three girls joined Jataria Jackson to win the girls’ 4x100 relay with a time of 50.32 seconds.
Rome’s Karley Baker took second in the 400 meters (1:03.07) and third in the 200 (27.26), while Sarah Glick was second in the 1,600 (5:45.69) and third in the 800 (2:36.28). Kayla Thompson finished second in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 51.01.
Several Rome boys captured first-place finishes, with Montrell Millsap making his mark in the 300 hurdles with a firstplace time of 40.31 seconds. He put up a time of 16.65 to place second in the 110 hurdles.
Shidell Millsap finished first in the long jump with a leap of 19-11 ½ and later took third in the 100 meters with a time of 11.28. Sam Pierce won the 3,200 (10:43.87) and was the runner up in the 1,600 (4:54.36). John Berry Bowling won the 800 (2:08.35) and Jayden Brewer came in first in the 400 with a time of 51.47.
Adam Anderson got second in the high jump with his best attempt of 6 feet even. He then helped both the 4x100 and 4x400 Rome relay teams earn second place in each event.
Rome hosts a four-team track and field meet Wednesday at Barron Stadium.