By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
GUYTON — South Effingham’s Cameron Edwards accomplished what he came to do Friday afternoon at the Mustang Madness track and field event.
He was entered in three field events and won all three.
“My goal is to win state again, maybe win in another event, too,” said the reigning Class AAAAAA triple jump champion.
On his home track, Edwards jumped 45-feet, 1 inch (a top 25 mark in the country this season, according to MaxPreps) to win the triple, just seven inches short of his winning state championship leap.
And it’s just the first week of March.
“He says he’s going to do 50 this year, so we’ll see,” said SEHS’ first-year track coach Rico Campbell.
Edwards scratched at 6-2 in the high jump on Friday, but a week earlier cleared 6-4 at the Alley Invitational — the same distance that earned him seventh at state last season.
He went 20-9.5 in the long jump Friday (a state top 50 mark), about 10 inches short of his sixth-place state finish.
Maybe he could have gone farther, but passed up additional tries after securing the win.
“At these types of meets, height and distance don’t matter as much as getting first place,” Edwards said.
But with only a few months left in his high school career, Edwards is hardly coasting. Six weeks ago, he played in a local all-star football game. And during the spring, he’s playing soccer.
On Feb. 25, Edwards placed second in three events at the Alley Invitational in Richmond Hill before motoring over to Springfield for a soccer game that night against Effingham County.
“It’s fun. I know a lot of the guys on the soccer team and they’ve wanted me to come out all three of my previous years,” Edwards said. “Just bonding with them, then coming out and doing track and working with the coaches, it’s fun to be with both programs.”
Campbell, a similar multi-tasker at SEHS — coaching boys basketball, boys and girls track and an assistant for football, doesn’t think Edwards’ dual-sport effort hurts performance.
“I have no issue with it,” Campbell said. “As a senior, he’s helping (soccer) out, he’s helping us out. He’s not missing much. We haven’t had any conflict. It works out.”
South Effingham’s boys squad, accumulating 104 points, was the winner among a field of five teams Friday. Vidalia (76 points) was second followed by New Hampstead (43), Statesboro (38.5) and Effingham County (21.5).
In girls action, Statesboro, with 61 points, won a close six-team meet. Vidalia (57) was second followed by South Effingham (56), Effingham County (47), New Hampstead (39) and St. Vincent’s (8).
“This was the first time putting a home meet together since (coaching at) Statesboro (about 10 years ago),” Campbell said. “We started at 8 a.m. painting lines, putting things together. It’s a long day (the meet ended about 10 p.m.) but it’s fun. We didn’t have many teams show up, but it’s been competitive.”
apturing first-place finishes for the SEHS boys were: Campbell’s son Isaiah Campbell with a time of 2:16.99 in the 800. Victavious Smith (300 hurdles, 43.74), Julian Howard (3200, 10:52.07), 4 X 400 relay (3:43.72), Edwards (high jump, 6-0; triple jump, 45-1; long jump, 20-9.5), Chase Garrett (pole, 10-0), Tanner Hughes (discus, 126-9) and the 4 X 800 relay (8:51.53) also won their events.
For the Mustang girls, the 4 X 800 relay team of Brianna Barber, Mia Fitzpatrick, Lily McDonald and Magdeline Morgan placed first with a time of 11:13.67.
For the Effingham County girls, University of Miami-bound Candace Kieffer won the 3200 with a time of 11:54.11 — a state top 50 mark. Abby McDonald turned in a state-top 25 performance while winning the shot put with a throw of 37-0.5. And the 4 X 200 relay team of Enna Lackey, McDonald, Victoria Foskey and Aniya Mercier won with a time of 1:57.82.
Of note, SEHS’ Kylie Evans was second in three events — 100, 200 and 400… Mustangs’ Devin Hallman ran a 52.60 in 200 for second… Jamari Fields, another football/soccer multi-sport star, was third in the 100. ECHS’ Brooke Maseda was second and third in the 3200 and 1600 respectively. Lackey was second in the 100 hurdles. Donovan Morrison was second in the boys 300 hurdles.