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May 3, 2013

STATE TRACK AND FIELD: Lewis, Faulk, Shutt win individual gold, Saints win 4x800 relay

SELMA — Sheldon Lewis is going out on top.

For the second-straight year, Hanceville’s strong man opened the Class 1A-3A Track and Field State Championship with a pair of 3A titles in the discus and shot put — and it wasn’t even close.

The senior’s discus heave of 151’10” was an astonishing 16’8” further than the silver medalist’s, while Lewis’ shot put launch of 48’10.25” was nearly 4.5 feet in front of the runner-up’s.

“He’s had a pretty outstanding athletic career,” Bulldog coach Danny Miller said of Lewis, who also served as a bruising fullback and middle linebacker. “It was a heckuva way for him to go out his senior year.”

Lewis wasn’t the only local winner in Selma, with St. Bernard grabbing two 1A golds and Vinemont snagging one in 3A on the first day of competition.

Saint senior Will Faulk had a successful start to his campaign for a second consecutive sweep in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs after besting the field in the 1,600-meter run.

Despite nursing a slight hamstring strain since sectionals, Faulk turned in a 1-mile time of 4:35.10. He then turned around and helped St. Bernard add a championship in the 4x800-meter relay, overcoming a five-second deficit at the start of his anchor leg to help the foursome finish in 8:45.94.

The other relay members were Seamus Russell, Sam Shin and Steven Mami. Faulk, Russell and Shin are all seniors.

“We didn’t know what to expect, but we were elated that he had no issues in the 1,600,” Saint coach William Calvert said on the status of Faulk’s hamstring. “He’s running pretty confident right now, and we’re hoping he’ll be able to repeat in the other two tomorrow.”

St. Bernard’s boys will enter the second and final day in third, 19 points behind first-place Falkville (43).

While Lewis, Faulk and the Saints didn’t have to sweat too much on their way to titles, Vinemont’s Hayden Shutt couldn’t celebrate his pole vault championship until his very last attempt. The Eagle laid it all on the line, clearing the bar at 11 feet to claim the crown all to himself.

“He pole vaulted a PR in the pouring down rain after two misses,” Vinemont coach Robin Netherton said. “It was absolutely clutch. If he would’ve missed, he would’ve been sixth. He came through for our team in a big way.”

The Eagles’ day almost didn’t end up so peachy. At one point, Cullman County co-MVP Tyler Boland was temporarily disqualified from the entire competition after a judge spotted him wearing headphones in a restricted area. A different judge had told the track superstar the headwear was OK in that location, though, leading Netherton to file an appeal that ultimately resulted in Boland’s reinstatement.

“It was a miscommunication, but it would’ve been a huge loss for our team,” the coach said.

Cold Springs’ boys closed out the day in fourth in 2A with 20 points, nine back of co-leaders Montgomery Academy and Altamont.

Addison, Cold Springs, Good Hope, Hanceville, Holly Pond, St. Bernard and Vinemont were all represented in Selma, while Fairview, Cullman and West Point were in the mix at the Class 4A-6A State Championship in Gulf Shores.

The Bearcat boys were tied for ninth but only trail first-place St. Paul’s by 13 points.

See below for local top-eight individual and relay results from Day 1 of each respective state meet:

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