By Matt Hill
It was almost a day to forget for Gabby Billiot, but once justice was served the disbelief turned into jubilation.
The JCHS senior track and field standout finished third in the shot put to become a candidate for a wild card into the state meet next week in Murfreesboro.
The wild card will be determined by the results of the middle and west Tennessee sectionals.
Any opportunity for this was almost washed away due to a technicality.
Billiot finished third in an event where all the strong throwers were in her flight. A mistake by the coaches running the event changed the scores and moved Billiot to sixth.
For three hours, the Billiots and everyone associated with Longhorn track were dumbfounded about how this mistake could have happened.
After a coach from Chattanooga Howard explained the situation to TSSAA officials, the scores were changed back to the way it should have been.
Its been a long day, Billiot said. A couple of throwers in the first flight threw 30 feet and instead of giving them four inches they gave them four feet. My best throw was 32-4 and I came in sixth and I was like how do I come in sixth. I knew I had third in my flight. She measured it wrong.
There was a gentleman from Howard who talked to one of the TSSAA guys and got it fixed and I thank him for that. He had a kid who on the judging had a 29 throw and she got third place with 33. He knew that wasnt right and she knew that wasnt right. Everything is fixed now and Im happy.
No matter what happens with the state meet, Billiot has had a year to remember as she also finished fourth in the discus.
Her improvement was remarkable in the shot this season and she couldnt be more pleased with how things worked out.
Ive had a great year, Billiot said. This is my best year ever.
Billiot is also grateful that during the last three years, JCHS has made a commitment to track.
They finally realized that there are some kids with some talent here, she said. Theres a lot of kids with talent, they just have to find the right outlet to use it. Im so glad theyve finally realized track is not just for football players to stay in shape, its for everyone.
Bray doesnt remember a meet with this much drama.
It was more dramatic than other track meet I had been at involving us, Bray said. Some scores got changed for the better and thats not a common thing. When you get to this level things like that happen.
There was drama on the boys side as Sam Testers second throw in the shot was good enough to make state, but a scratch erased it.
Tester went on to finish fifth.
I knew Sam and Gabby had the greatest chances of moving on, but it was pouring the rain and that made it slick and that factored into things, but it just wasnt in the cards today.
Tester also had a great year despite being inexperienced.
To come out here after not throwing before speaks volumes to his ability and shows how hard hes worked in the weight program. The weight program is where he got most of that strength. The weight program is why he made it this far, Bray said.
The Longhorn 4 X 100 and 4 X 200 Teams also qualified for sectionals.
The 4 X 100 Team included Chris Miller, Chris Hernandez, Cody Brown and Jacob Henson.
The 4 X 200 Team included Dalton Slemp, Darrin Gary, Tony Hannah and Kenneth Blevins.
Weve never had a relay team do this well, Bray said. Our 4 X 100 team is very fast, but you have to realize were going against schools where track is a tradition. Were trying to start a tradition. You have to take baby steps.
After the most successful year in school history, the expectations will be raised.
For complete details please pick up your copy of this weeks, The Tomahawk, available at local newsstands today