During his four years as a track and field athlete for Darlington School, Roth Wilcox has constantly had his eye on breaking a school record.
Wilcox achieved his goal Saturday to cap his senior season with the Tigers as he swept the boys’ Class A Private 110- and 300-meter hurdles, toppling the school record in the 110 on the final day of the GHSA Track and Field State Championships at Berry College’s Valhalla Stadium.
In Class AA action, Rockmart’s Zoryan Hendricks won his second state title of the week by coming out on top in the boys’ 300-meter hurdles.
Wilcox’s wins Saturday gave Darlington three state championships for this season with Kacey Kemp winning the girls discus on Friday and breaking the school record in that event as well.
Wilcox’s time of 14.72 seconds in the 110 hurdles crushes the previous record of 15.01 set by Darlington alumnus Dylan Baker at the 2009 track and field state championships.
“It’s crazy,” Wilcox said. “Coming in I was nervous and hoping I could keep up. I’ve been trying to break our school record in the 110 since my freshman year. I’m at a loss for words.”
Darlington head coach Kevin Hunt agreed the record has been a motivating factor for the senior throughout his time with the Tigers.
“He’s been looking at that record board every year since he was a freshman,” Hunt said. “He got one of them. Roth’s been after those. He didn’t break the 300 record, but he won a state championship, so that’s pretty sweet.”
Making the victories all the more thrilling for Wilcox is that they came at the site of his future home track when he continues his running career on the Berry College track and field team.
Wilcox helped carry Darlington to a fifth-place finish in the Class A Private boys' team standings as the Tigers finished with 34 points. The Lady Tigers finished in 12th in the girls' standings with 22.5 points.
Hunt was happy with the performance from both his teams throughout the weekend.
“We had a really good weekend for the boys and girls, so I’m very, very proud of them,” Hunt said. “Three state championships, so it’s very, very exciting. Everybody did well and we had a lot of points scored. We had 10 boys here and seven girls and they all competed. That’s what we expect them to do and that’s what they did.”
Hendricks capped his time as a Yellow Jacket with a second state title Saturday to go along with his Class AA boys' triple jump championship he claimed during Friday's competition.
On Saturday, the senior took first in the Class AA boys' 300 hurdles with a personal record of 40.08 seconds after taking second in the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.14, coming up just short of first-place at 13.94.
Hendricks tripped over the first hurdle in the 110, but picked himself up and nearly came back for the win.
“I was pretty devastated after the 110,” Hendricks said. “That’s my favorite event, but I couldn’t let it get to me, so I had to just refocus and regain my thoughts so I could be ready for the 300 and execute my race and that’s what I did.”
Rockmart head coach Rhett Parson said he was impressed with Hendricks’ ability to move on and win the 300 after his finish in the 110.
“He was definitely disappointed after the 110,” Parson said. “It shows a lot about that dude’s character, him coming back and winning the 300. I’m happy for Zoryan because he works his butt off.”
The Jackets finished in fourth place in the Class AA boys' team standings with 35 points. Hendricks was also named the Class AA boys' high point total champion.
Model coach Mark Jones said he was hoping for a top 10 finish in the Class AA girls' team standings and the Lady Blue Devils obliged with 28 points for ninth overall.
The finish came behind back-to-back state championships from pole vaulter Ellie Getchel and high jumper Megan Kent.
“That’s pretty good for four girls,” Jones said. “We’re hoping to just keep going. Every year for the last three years we’ve gotten more points at state. We’re just hoping to get more as we go forward.”