Two years ago, Charleston was alive with the anticipation that comes annually with the invasion of athletes who are a part of the track and field state meet.
[cleeng_content id="810085220" description="Read it now!" price="0.15"]Jefferson High was by no means the group favored to win the team championship. Some of the Cougars that might change the perception of the down-state crowd were only freshmen . . . and freshmen are mostly unknown to the people living 300 miles away.
When the Cougars pulled together — freshmen to seniors — a Class AAA state championship had been secured.
And one of those freshman was the diminutive sprinter Dante Price.
Price had finished second in the 100-meters with his time of 11:03.
Price had finished second in the 200-meters in the fast time of 21:84.
Two second-place finishes in individual events were worth 16 points to Jefferson’s team trotal.
In the 4×100 relay, freshman Price was joined by Tyler Lambert, Devon Thompson, and D. J. Washington. That mixed age group was second in the shortest of relays, timed in 43:47.
And then in the 4×200 relay, Price was joined by Lambert, Washington, and Ashton Hyler. That unit had three underclassmen . . . and it was second with a time of 1:30.46.
Points, points, and more points from Jefferson’s sprinters. And a state championship for the team.
When Jefferson returned to Charleston in May of 2011, the creditability of the previous year’s state title was thick. Jefferson just might have favorably impressed the state capital denizens.
Price was back. He was still diminutive. And he was still just a sophomore.
Nothing was ceded to the Cougars. Nothing was certain. Cabell Midland High was going to fire its legion of distant runners at the bullseye that had Jefferson’s name on it.
Cabell Midland didn’t flinch. But it didn’t have enough weapons to dislodge
the defending champion Cougars.
Price was yards better than his nearest competition in the 100-meters. He was the short-sprint champion with his clocking of 11:07.
He was slightly better than all the other would-be state champions when winning the 200-meters in 22:11.
That was a quick 20 team points for the Cougars, who would edge Cabell Midland, 98.5-80.
In the 4×100 relay, Jefferson could gather another eight points with its second-place showing. The Cougars secured a second-place with a time of 43:47. It was Price, Lambert, Washington, and Lai-Fang running for the Cougars.
Price did not run in the 4×200 relay. Instead he was placed in the meet-winning 4×400 relay. Running alongside Price in that most grueling of relays were Brandon Doughty, Washington, and Ashton Hyler.
Heaps of points in relays buoyed Jefferson’s chances of repeating its 2010 state championship.
As an unknown freshman, Price has been one of the guiding forces to a Jefferson High state champion.
As a hard-to-miss sophomore, Price had once more been one of the leading lights as Jefferrson High repeated its 2010 state title by holding back Cabell Midland High.
Price goes into the 2012 track and field campaign — just his junior year — as the state’s premier sprinter. With the blurred image of Price hitting the finish line ahead of the sprint fields preceding it to meets, Jefferson has become many people’s idea of the “team to beat” in 2012. The Cougars have become a symbol of track and field excellence.
When Price made an appearance as a 400-meter runner at the 2011 state meet, he increased his value to not only Jefferson High but also colleges needing sprinters whose range carried from 100-meters to 400-meters. And he has already been a proven relay force for two years.
On the second weekend in March, Price was in New York City for the Emerging Elite 60-meter indoor dash. Sprinters from up and down the East Coast attended.
In the preliminaries, there were a total of 60 runners entered. Price turned in the best time with his 6.98. In the finals, he bettered that clocking with a personal best of 6.94. Vincent Lowe of Chesapeake, Va. edged Price with his 6.88 time.
The second-place finish at what was called the “New Balance National Indoors” meet staged at The Armory qualified Price for later national events.
For Jefferson High, The Price Has Been Right for two years. And both years produced state championships.
Price and company will be down in Charleston for the Gazette Relays as part of the regular-season schedule.
And then comes his third state meet in late May where Price will be a known factor . . . and will again be in the sprinter’s spotlight.[/cleeng_content]