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Watkins closes out excellent prep career in style

Posted: May 13, 2014 - 11:25pm  |  Updated: May 14, 2014 - 12:22am

There is an athlete in Columbia County that deserves far more recognition than he has been given during his stellar prep career.

His name is Darius Watkins, and he is one of the finest athletes to ever perform at the high school level in our area. I must admit, I am partially to blame for Watkins being overshadowed by other athletes in the county.

I will admit I tend to focus on the stick and ball sports, and Columbia County has never been known as a hot bed in boys track and field. Well, during his brilliant career at Grovetown High School, Watkins did his best to change that.

This weekend, Watkins wrapped up his senior track and field campaign in highlight reel fashion. He took home the Class AAAAA State Title in both the 100 meters and 200 meters. In each race, Watkins came from behind to win. In the 100 meters, he posted a time of 10.49 seconds, just shy of his personal best of 10.45 seconds.

Then, he went into the 200 meters as the reigning state champion and came away with another title with a blazing time of 21.27 seconds, which was a personal best. He will be leaving this fall to run track at Virginia Tech where he was given a full scholarship, and I have a feeling I am not writing about Watkins for the last time. My only regret is, that I did not write about him more while he was performing in my own backyard.

To illustrate how impressive his times over the weekend were, here is a comparison with a couple of runners you may have heard of. Michael Johnson, widely considered the greatest 200 and 400 meter runner of all-time.

And, Jesse Owens, one of the greatest athletes of all-time and the 100 meter Gold Medal winner at the Berlin Games in 1936.

100 Meters: Darius Watkins – 10.49; Jesse Owens – 10.3. Watkins was less than two tenths of a second behind Owens time from the 1936 Olympic Games.

200 Meters: Darius Watkins – 21.27; Michael Johnson – 20.59 (as a senior at Baylor in the NCAA Track Championships).

Watkins is not far off those times and Johnson’s time was posted after four years of college and Owens’ time came in the Olympic Games. Now, how does Watkins compare with the best high school times ever?

Former Florida football standout Jeff Demps set the 100 meter prep record in 2008 with a time of 10.01, while the 200 meter record has stood since Roy Martin ran a 20.13 back in 1985.

My point: Watkins is world class and has four years of college to get better and add to his incredible list of accomplishments on the track.

Watkins 2014 Wins

100 Meters

Savannah State Early Bird

Region 2-AAAAA

GHSA Georgia Sectionals

Georgia Olympics

GHSA Class AAAAA State Championships

200 Meters

Carolina Classic

Savannah State Early Bird

Region 2-AAAAA

GHSA Georgia Sectionals

Georgia Olympics

GHSA Class AAAAA State Championships

55 Meters

Clemson Youth and Master Invitational

60 Meters

Carolina Classic

400 Meters

Columbia County Championships

And again, all of those wins were from 2014 only. My apologies Darius for being late to the party, but I wish you the best of luck in Blacksburg.

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