For six years, the Southeast Bulloch school record for the 4x400 time was 3:28.88, that is until Cecil McCollum, Ladarion Fonseca, Javarious Spaulding and Justin Youmans shattered it by one second in one of the biggest meets of the season.
At the Region 1-AAA meet, hosted by SEB, the group of track athletes broke the record on the final event of the day.
“These guys have been working hard for this record for so long,” said SEB boys track coach Jeremy Gantt. “They’ve been chasing the record all season and we kept getting closer and closer and they finally did it.”
The Yellow Jackets won the region title for the second straight year, in large part due to the efforts of the quartet of runners.
Spaulding, a senior on this year’s track team, said beating the record was something he won’t forget.
“It’s been the best moment in high school for me,” Spaulding said after an afternoon workout. “We’ve been chasing it for so long...to know that we beat it by a whole second was pretty good.”
The Yellow Jackets came close to breaking the record all season, coming within a second of the mark in several meets throughout the course of the year.
“It was like a good experience. It was my first time breaking a record during track. After we broke it the whole team was basically like partying,” McCollum said.
SEB’s 4x400 team received third place for the recording-breaking at 3:27.88. Coach Gantt said he’s pushed the team all year to progress to this point.
“We come out here and work hard. We bust our butts every day and give it all we got,” said new-comer Youmans.
Youmans joined the track team for his senior year and said his teammates have become brothers to him.
“We just have a bond that can’t be broken. We’re like brothers out there. We support each other to get the job done,” Youmans said.
The four “brothers’ wasted no time preparing for the next phase of the season. The sectional meet is just a few days away on May 2.
As the sun set on an intense afternoon practice Thursday, the boys took turns flipping an old tractor tire. Gantt told his boys to have the tire flipped over 50 yards in just two minutes. They did it in just over a minute.
“We want to get past sectionals and then move on to state. We’re ready to see what we’re made of,” said Fonseca, who has run track for four years. “I just appreciate coach Gantt for pushing us hard.”
Now with the season winding down, the Yellow Jackets record-breaking 4-by-400 team will try to improve during the sectional meet.
“It’s like a new goal for us. We’re going to try to break it again. These guys are like all my family. We basically grew up together so we work hard and we all do our own part,” McCollum said.
Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.