Barnes, Abrams lead Jackets to title

The Vincent High School Yellow Jackets won their second straight Class 2A track and field state championship behind performances by Kit Barnes and Ken Abrams.

The boys team scored 109 points to become the state 2A champions. This back-to-back state championship was accomplished by superb performances from all qualifiers.

Abrams and Barnes, along with Terrance Olds and Darnell Kelley, won the 4×100 meter relay. Abrams also took first place honors in the 200 meters while Barnes won the 400 meters to score for the Jackets.

Abrams finished in the top three to medal in the 100 meters, the triple jump and the long jump.

Barnes medaled in the 200 meters and 4×400 relay.

James Oden finished first in the triple jump. Other Jackets medaling included Darnell Kelley in the 100 meters and the 4×400 relay; Derrione Kelley in the 400 meters and 4×400 relay; and James Oden in the 4×400 relay.

Finishing in the top 8 places to score points for Vincent were Jeff Jantz in the 4×800 relay; Josh Wallis in the 4×800 relay; Arpit Patel in the 4×800 relay; Derrione Kelley in the 4×800 relay; Zac Weithoner in the shot put; Barnes in the pole vault; and Tracy Clancy in the 110 meter hurdles.

The feat of winning back-to-back state championships is a tough enough one, but for the Yellow Jackets, it’s even more remarkable.

The Vincent team has no high jump pit, no pole vault pit, no shot or discus circle, and no long jump pit &045; actually they do not even have a track.

Practices involve running around a bus parking loop, throwing in the grass, and practicing the jumps by running to a chalk mark to simulate a toe board.

Competition provides the only opportunity to run on a track and perform field events in real arenas.

Equipment is often borrowed from other schools.

Another obstacle for the Vincent Track team is the sharing of athletes.

Seven of the members of the track team also started for the baseball team. Because of the small size of the school, most of the athletes compete in several sports.

These guys shared their time as best they could with both teams.

Luckily for Vincent, the coaching staff is willing to work together to support all athletes.

&uot;Most of our team members play other sports and a lot of them play baseball, basketball and football as well as participating in track,&uot; head track coach Debbie Barnes said.

&uot;The baseball team had an exceptional year this year, yet these athletes were still able to participate and do well in track. That’s a testament to these kids willing to work hard.&uot;

The Vincent team lost 4 seniors to graduation from last year’s state championship team.

&uot;A lot of the younger guys had to step up for us this season,&uot; Barnes said