JEFFERSON - Karl Williams wore a smile as wide as Newton County on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium in Jefferson. The Eastside senior had just won the AAA 100 meters dash at the 38th Georgia Olympics Boys Track and Field Championship.
Williams got off to a good start and finished strong, holding off Brendonn Jones of St. Pius X with a blistering 10.66 time. Teammate Dominique Hubert, who had also qualified for the finals on Friday, had to drop out of the finals race because of a tender hamstring injury.
"I was just praying before the race for a good start, a good race," Williams said. "And I got a good start. I finally got a good start. This feels great and you're gonna see me smiling until February or something."
A strapping 220-pounder, Williams will be going to Georgia State next year to play football for Coach Bill Curry. At 6-3 and bulging with muscle, Williams is an impressive physical specimen but his coach at Eastside, Frankey Iverson, said it is his attitude that sets him apart.
"It has been a joy to coach him for four years," Iverson said. "He is a great kid and always has a smile on his face. I am just real happy for him and feel like he ought to give half of his hat to Dominique."
It is a Georgia high school tradition for the state champion in each event to receive a red cap.
"Chasing Dominique every day in practice is what got me here," Williams agreed.
Williams' performance was the most outstanding of the day and the meet for Rockdale and Newton County athletes. The annual state boys meet has been held in Jefferson for the past 38 years.
In the AAAA 100 meters, Chris Royster of Rockdale County finished fifth with a time of 10.99. The AAAA final was won by Kenneth Gilstrap of Miller Grove with a time of 10.44.
"I'm disappointed but hope to be back next year," the Bulldog junior said. "Now that I've been here to state, I know what to expect."
In the 3,200 meters finals held Friday evening, Heritage senior Jake Hudson finished fourth with a time of 10:02.64. The longest race of the meet was won in the AAAA division by Cameron Reed of Alexander with a time of 9:46.23. Hudson also scored points for the Patriots with a third in the 800 meters on Thursday night.
Hudson's Heritage teammate, Aaron Worthy, finished fifth in the AAAA 800 meters run with a time of 1:57.62. The winner was Vince Brown of McIntosh with the best time of the day at 1:53.20.
"I feel like I ran a good race," Worthy said, "This was my first time to run at state and I will be back next year." The junior also finished seventh in he 1,600 meters on Thursday night.
Heritage, the Region 8-AAAA champions, totalled 17 points to finish in a tie for 11th, well behind the winning total of 71 by Miller Grove. Also scoring points in the AAAA competition was Rockdale County with 10 points for a 15th place tie, Salem with two points and Alcovy one.
In the AAA division, Eastside totalled 12 points for a 16th place tie. The AAA champion was Monroe with 57 points.