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Speed and Rosado move onto sectionals next week

When the season draws to a close for Track and Field it becomes a process of elimination. Only the top competitors with the best times or distances move on. Yet despite facing some of the biggest and toughest schools in the region Johnson County has still had the privilege of sending some of their own on to the higher levels of the sport. Most recently the Longhorns were able to claim 11 competitors at the A-AA Subsectionals hosted in Greeneville.
Andy Rosado and Colton Phillips were the only two from Johnson County taking part in fielding events, with Rosado taking on the triple jump while Phillips participated in shot put. Having come in second place at conference it was no surprise that Phillips was able to hold his own. Regardless, the competition was much more fierce and although Phillips threw a very respectable 41ft 9 1/2in it was still only enough to gain him the number five spot, one inch shy of moving on. Even so, Phillips bested 15 of the most talented shot put athletes in upper East Tennessee, not a bad feat considering it is his first year with the event.
Rosado had a little better luck with his attempt at the triple jump. A final stat of 38 ft. 2 ½ in. was just good enough to give him the fourth place spot behind Greeneville’s top three jumpers. Coming in feet ahead of competitors from Gatlinburg-Pittman, Happy Valley, Sullivan North, and Unicoi County, Rosado earned himself a spot at sectionals next week in Knoxville as one of only a handful of Johnson County athletes to make it that far.
Joining him will be J.R. Speed who actually made it to sectionals last year as well. Focusing on the men’s 100 meter dash, Speed already won the Judy Thomas Invitational in Glade Spring, Virginia, took several top five finishes in conference, and was invited to a special meet for the top nine runners in the region at Science Hill.
Even against the talented lineup he faced in Greeneville, Speed still came in fourth place at 11.68 seconds more than enough to send him farther down the road. “Andy is moving on; JR is moving on,” said Head Coach Penny Gentry.  “It was really windy, especially that afternoon, and they were running right into the wind so they were all about 3/10s of a second slower.  He’ll know what to expect this year. He was a little bit in awe last year of some of the competition. Going to the Tri-cities Track Classic and the Judy Thomas Invitational has helped him prepare for going up against that tough competition. JR loves that tough competition. He thrives on that.”
The Longhorns also had one female competitor at sub-sectionals. Stephanie Coffey took part in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes but actually had her best result in the longer run when she managed a 12th place finish ahead of girls from Elizabethton, Claiborne County, West Greene, and Sullivan East. With a couple years ahead of her yet Coffey is well on her way to being one of Johnson County’s strongest female runners.
The only other placement that the Longhorns had that would be eligible to move on was the 4X100 relay team, which put on a fantastic performance by tying with Greeneville for fifth at 46.97. “Our 4×1 team actually could move on but two of them are seniors and that’s their senior picnic,” Gentry said. “They decided they would rather participate in their senior activities, but it was very good. I was very impressed, very pleased. It’s gone really well so far. We had some rough spots earlier in the year where people quit, but the ones that didn’t quit have really come through. I’m happy with the team that we’ve had this year.”