Just before the 2016 track season, Jalen Nealious tore his anterior cruciate ligament in practice.
He made up for lost time Thursday.
The Lakeside senior took gold in his two main events - long jump and triple jump - at the Columbia County Track and Field Championships at Grovetown High School.
"They're big confidence boosts," Nealious said about his first wins in the county championships. He will compete in the Region 3-AAAAAA meet next week at Heritage. "I'm just trying to prepare myself for region. There's still some work I've got to do. I need to step up my game."
The Greenbrier girls and boys each won the county meet. The girls posted 187 points, while Lakeside finished second at 134 and Evans placed third at 117. In the boys competition, the Wolfpack totaled 155 points, while Grovetown placed second at 141 points to edge out Lakeside (140.50).
Nealious said he competed in the long jump and triple jump earlier this season purely on his athleticism. Then, Lakeside track coach Derrick Myers started working with him on his technique. It all came together during spring break.
"All season, I never felt comfortable," Nealious said. "In the long jump, I would change feet. At one meet, I jumped off both feet. I finally got my technique down."
In the long jump Thursday, Nealious entered as the favorite after a qualifying mark of 21 feet, 4 inches. He bested that on his first jump at 21-5. He matched that number on his second jump before finishing with 21-6 on his final jump. D'Eris Jackson of Greenbrier placed second at 20-7½, while Brandon Murray of Evans finished third (20-60).
In the triple jump, Nealious posted three marks of 43 feet or longer. He won the event at 43-6, while Devin Golatt of Lakeside came in second at 41-8½. Anthony Adams of Grovetown finished third (40-10¼).
Harlem sophomore Maureen Sutphin was another first-time champion at the Columbia County Track and Field Championships. She won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.55 seconds, finishing just ahead of teammate Deonnah Edwards (16.82) and Greenbrier's Bailey Lowery (17.47).
Sutphin only began competing in hurdles a year ago - she finished 12th in the state meet in 2016. She said competing in cheerleading for eight years has helped her with flexibility, an asset for jumping over hurdles.
"I want to get my time better. I want to get 15 seconds," Sutphin said, adding she wants to finish in the top three in the state meet this year. "I want to be on the podium so bad."
Columbia County Track and Field Championships
187-Greenbrier. 134-Lakeside. 117-Evans. 86-Grovetown. 62-Harlem.
12.75-Nyah Gore, Greenbrier. 12.80-Aleja Dorsey, Harlem. 12.95-Essence Owens, Grovetown.
25.56-Cydney Delley, Evans. 26.36-Aleja Dorsey, Harlem. 26.53-Nyah Gore, Greenbrier.
1-00.20-Cydney Delley, Evans. 1-02.11-Naomi Joseph, Grovetown. 1-02.47-Jacey Conti, Evans.
2-25.24-Alyssa Hooker, Lakeside. 2-36.87-Alana Holliman, Greenbrier. 2-41.66-Nicole Khayyam, Evans.
5-46.53-Tamera Mistry, Lakeside. 5-56.08-Madeline Walker, Evans. 6-16.39-Marley Mangione, Greenbrier.
12-51.24-Tanee Boyd, Greenbrier. 13-23.30-Theresa Shipes, Greenbrier. 13-46.70-Madeline Walker, Evans.
16.55-Maureen Sutphin, Harlem. 16.82-Deonnah Edwards, Harlem. 17.47-Bailey Lowery, Greenbrier.
50.00-Sydney Fisher, Lakeside. 51.00-Selina Seard, Greenbrier. 52.00-Bailey Lowery, Greenbrier.
48.55-Evans (Makayla Hernandez, Alexis Denny, Madison Starks, Cydney Delley). 49.35-Greenbrier (Nyah Gore, Kyarra Newton, Precious Slade, Destiny Turman). 50.32-Grovetown (Naomi Joseph, Shayla King-Coleman, Essence Owens, Khiah Williams).
4-12.49-Greenbrier (Nyah Gore, Alana Holliman, Kyarra Newton, Precious Slade). 4-12.70-Evans (Ahlexah Clayton, Jacey Conti, Cydney Delley, Nicole Khayyam). 4-21.38-Lakeside (Julianne Coughlin, Sydney Fisher, Diamond Golston, Nyasia Green).
5-00-Kyarra Newton, Greenbrier. 4-10-Selina Seard, Greenbrier. 4-08-Diamond Golston, Lakeside.
7-0-Precious Slade, Greenbrier.
17-06-Kyarra Newton, Greenbrier. 16-08-Khiah Williams, Grovetown. 16-06-Nyasia Green, Lakeside.
34-04-Destiny Turman, Greenbrier. 32-06-Jazmyne Greene, Lakeside. 32-04-Nyasia Green, Lakeside.
33-04-Noreylos Barrett, Grovetown. 33-03-Kaitlyn Lancaster, Evans. 32-11-T'Maani Adams, Lakeside.
99-11-T'Maani Adams, Lakeside. 98-05.5-Reagan Clegg, Greenbrier. 92-04.5-Awtome Finner, Greenbrier.
155-Greenbrier. 141-Grovetown. 140.5-Lakeside. 131.5-Evans. 32-Harlem.
11.01-Corey Watkins, Evans. 11.22-Thomas Lollis, Grovetown. 11.25-Verenzo Holmes, Grovetown.
22.85-Corey Watkins, Evans. 22.92-Thomas Lollis, Grovetown, 23.33-Breshawn Willis, Evans.
49.99-Anthony Brooks, Evans. 51.68-Anthony Adams, Grovetown. 51.71- Isaiah Parnell, Greenbrier.
2-00.25-Allen Clark, Lakeside. 2-02.03-Andy Caudell, Greenbrier. 2-05.49-Anthony Brooks, Evans.
4-35.01-Andy Caudell, Greenbrier. 4-52.24-Demarco Kelly, Grovetown. 4-56.90-Nate Agcaoili, Greenbrier.
10-28.63-Joe Way, Lakeside. 10-29.85-Joe Shipes, Greenbrier. 10-47.73-Jonathan Ziesmer, Greenbrier.
15.89-Russell Page. 15.92-Devin Golatt, Lakeside. 16.45-Jamal Benjamin, Lakeside.
41.55-Eric White, Greenbrier. 42.88-Russell Page, Grovetown. 43.41-Devin Golatt, Lakeside.
43.41-Evans (Dillion Cardwell, Hunter Hawkins, Cameron Johnson, Ben Prescott, Shalaan Price, Corey Watkins). 43.79-Grovetown (Chicago Certain, Nigel Henry, Cam Voliton, Cornelius McCord). 44.04-Lakeside (Michael Carlson, Devin Golatt, Grandon Jones, Jalen Nealious).
3-29.21-Greenbrier (Christian Corulli, Joseph Moffatt, Isaiah Parnell, Eric White). 3-30.44-Evans (Breshawn Willis, Anthony Brooks, Nathan Calderon, Dalton Almonte, Daniel Martinez, Justin Williams). 3-43.44-Grovetown (Anthony Adams, Brandon Greene, Verenzo Holmes, Thomas Lollis)
5-10-Jamar Bingham, Grovetown. 5-10-Russell Page, Grovetown. 5-08-Breshawn Willis, Evans.
11-06-Matt Aspelund, Greenbrier. 11-00-Thomas Johnson, Greenbrier. 7-06-Brian Lesieur, Greenbrier.
21-06-Jalen Nealious, Lakeside. 20-07.5-D'Eris Jackson, Greenbrier. 20-06.75-Brandon Murray, Evans.
43-06-Jalen Nealious, Lakeside. 41-08.5-Devin Golatt, Lakeside. 40-10.25-Anthony Adams, Grovetown.
40-02-Carlos Carter, Lakeside. 39-06-David Martin, Greenbrier. 37-08-Tarael Hooks, Greenbrier.
121-00-Elijah Lopez, Greenbrier. 117-09.5-Carlos Carter, Lakeside. 113-03-Dillion Cardwell, Evans.