Christian Coleman had a feeling the 2014 track and field season would be a good one for him. The 5-foot-8, 160-pound senior for Our Lady of Mercy was coming off two state titles and a runner-up finish that earned him the High Point Performer Award in last year's state meet. This year he has the fastest 100 meter time in the state at 10.38, and is No. 1 in the long jump at 24 feet and 7 3/4 inches.
Beginning Thursday, Coleman - along with the rest of the state's best track and field athletes - will begin competing in the GHSA Boys State Track Meet, which takes place through Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Jefferson.
Coleman will look to defend his state titles in the long jump and 200 while claiming another in the 100. He also anchors Our Lady of Mercy's 1,600 relay team as they seek the title, which could give him a total of four gold medals. Above winning the gold, he'll seek Class A state records in those events and has a shot at the all-classification record in the 100 (10.33 seconds).
"It would mean a lot (to break state records), seeing how much I've developed over the years," said Coleman, whose accolades have earned him a track scholarship to Tennessee. "It would be great. ... Track is my passion. I started playing at 4."
The state meet will also feature other standouts, including Banneker's Ryan Clark, Westlake's Rashaad Pollard, St. Pius X's Austin Sprague and Nick Chubb among others.
Clark has the state's fastest times in the 200 and 400. Pollard - a standout in the 100 and 200 - is one of the state's most talented freshman and could lead Westlake to the AAAAAA state title. Sprague a top distance runner with the state's best time in the 3,200. Chubb, who has committed to Georgia on a football scholarship and should be a big part of the Bulldogs' future in the backfield, runs a 10.68 in the 100.