Central’s Johnson and 4 x 400 relay squad win state titles at indoor meet

Central High’s Malik Johnson is now a state champion. The senior won his title this past weekend at the annual Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 7A Indoor Track and Field Meet at the Birmingham Crossplex. Johnson won the High Jump event to earn his title.

But, Johnson was not the lone state champion for the Red Devils at the indoor meet. The school’s 4 x 400 meters relay team also captured a 7A title with a time of 3:25.55 – fewer than five seconds from topping Hoover High’s state record time of 3:20.59 set last February at the Crossplex. The relay squad members were Marcus Wilburn, Antonio Crisco, Dion English and Quandaveus Gilliam.

Johnson entered the meet as the No. 3 seed in the High Jump. He qualified with a jump of 6-feet, 4-inches. That was good enough to qualify behind Thompson High’s Jared Hurst at 6-feet, 7.25-inches and Bob Jones leaper John Murray’s 6-feet, 5.5-inches among the 17 athletes competing in the event.

Johnson missed his first two attempts at 6-feet, 6-inches and faced elimination as he stepped up for his third attempt. Johnson made the mark and moved on to 6-feet, 8-inches which he made on his second attempt. Johnson attempted to leap 6-feet, 10-inches, but missed on three attempts and left him one inch shy of the state record set last year by Oak Mountain’s Trey Allen of 6-feet, 9-inches. Allen holds the Crossplex record at 7-feet in a non-AHSAA championship meet.

Hurst, the top seed, finished second with a jump of 6-feet, 6-inches. Murray tied for third place with Auburn High’s Quay Ross at 6-feet, 4-inches.

On the first day of the indoor meet’s running events, The Red Devils’ 4 x 200 meters boys relay team took second place with a time of 1:29.69. The relay team members were Antonio Crisco, Marcus Wilburn, Johnson and Quandaveus Gilliam. Central’s Keegan Dorrill was sixth in the 3200 meters with a time of 9:52.13. Gilliam was third in the 800 meters for the Red Devils. Central’s girls 4 x 200 relay team finished in third place with a time of 1:44.74. The members of the relay team were Mariah McCord, M’Kiyah Conner, Veyonca Frank and Tanryn Thorn.

The second day of the meet was when Central’s boys won the 4 x 400 meters relay event for the state title. Going into the event, Central was the top seed – barely. The Red Devils had a qualifying time of 3:27.28. Hoover, the No. 2 seed, had a qualifying time of 3:27.29. Vestavia Hills with a time of 3:29.34 took second place while Hoover was third at 3:29.45.

Central’s girls placed second in the 4 x 400 meters relay with a time of 4:00.46. The members of the relay team were Thorn, Frank, Haley Wilson and Conner. Crisco was second in the boys 400 meters with a time of 49.29 seconds and Gilliam was sixth in the same event with a time of 51.01 seconds. Thorn took a fourth place for her team in the finals of the 400 meters for girls with a time of 57.93 seconds. Dorrill was eighth in the boys 1600 meters with a personal record time of 4:33.40.

Central’s boys were third in the team standings with 50 points. Hoover was first with 114.5 points and Thompson was second with 89 points. Central’s girls team finished in 12th place with 19 points. Hoover was first with 102 points and Auburn was second with 63.5 points.

Smiths Station was 11th in the boys competition with 20 points. The Panthers’ Christian Williams was sixth in the Shot Put with a heave of 46-feet, 9-inches. Savian Taylor was fifth in the 1600 meters with a time of 4:31.91. The team’s 4 x 800 meters boys relay team finished eighth with a time of 8:42.23. Smiths Station’s 4 x 400 meters boys relay team was seventh with a time of 3:33.60.