The Fastest Four. That’s what this year’s White County High School 4x100m relay team will be remembered as. The team of Malaki Dowell, Javyn Strode, Jake Davis, and Christian Kelso teamed up for the first time this spring and has already been busy rewriting the record books.
“The boys set a school record in the 4x100 with a time of 46.56,” WCHS principal Greg Wilson said. “[They] beat the old record of 47.50 by almost a second.”
What’s more impressive than beating the long-standing record is the team did it in their first outing of the season.
“Speed is one thing but handing off the baton at full speed is much harder than it looks,” Coach Brian Everett said. “So, to have them accomplish this in the manner and time as they did makes me suspect that they will break their own record a few times before these guys are done.”
Davis agreed with his coach, saying that while the team’s run was impressive, they have plenty of room for improvement, and that improvement could lead to faster times.
“Our handoffs weren’t even perfect. We only worked on it one time,” he said. “It was clean but needs work.”
Practice isn’t something the group has had a lot of as a unit. While Davis and Kelso ran track for the Warriors last year, this was the first attempt for Dowell and Strode. Dowell said he decided to join the team to keep his legs in shape for football, but Strode admitted he wasn’t sure about running track at first.
“I had to work to convince him,” Davis laughed. “But now I think he likes it. All of these guys are such great athletes. This is going to be a huge season for us.”
Along with the team event, each of the four competes in individual events during track and field meets as well. Davis competes in both the high jump and the long jump while Kelso runs the 300m hurdles. Strode and Dowell both run the 100m sprint with Dowell also running a 200m.
The Warriors have six more meets and then the district meet, but they have goals beyond that. Everett explained he would like to see the team reach the state competition, but only 10 teams – the top two from each of the state’s four districts plus two teams at large – advance, so the group has work to do.
“The goal is to break [the record] six more times,” Davis said about how the team plans to accomplish rewriting the history books at White County High School. “Just keep improving any time we race. Keep shaving time off. That’s really all we can ask for.”
Everett believes this might just be the team to set the standard for future Warriors.
“They are all great kids. They’re all leaders. They come out and work hard,” he said. “Their sights were set on the record, and I knew that they would get it eventually. I just didn’t expect it to fall so quickly – in their first attempt.”
Everett went on to say that to keep the team motivated and working toward goals, they will begin training to run in the 4x200m relay as well.
And, regardless of whether the team makes it to state or has success in their new event, Everett said this season is going to be one to remember.
“They’re fun to watch,” he said of the school’s Fastest Four. “They’re probably going to break that record a bunch.”
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