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Lewis, Randall impress for Alcovy ahead of state meet
Destini Lewis Janae Randall
Destini Lewis (left) and Janae Randall (right) qualified for the Class AAAAAA meet after strong showings at the Region 3-AAAAAA meet and at sectionals. - photo by Garrett Pitts

With the track and field state championships at the doorstep, the Alcovy Tigers are looking at a senior and a freshman to come back with some hardware.

Senior Destini Lewis and freshman Janae’ Randall have impressed their coaches during the latter half of the season as Alcovy track and field approaches the state meets in Rome, Georgia.

Though she is a senior, Lewis joined the Tigers’ track team last year after moving from New Jersey.

In her short time at Alcovy, Lewis’ main priority was getting better.

“Being that this is my second year on the Alcovy track team, what’s been going right for me is that I’m advancing and I have been doing way better than I did last year,” Lewis said. “As time keeps on moving, it has just been [about] advancing, advancing and advancing.”

Alcovy track and field coaches, Matthew Brown and Marandel Thomas have been impressed with the results from Lewis in multiple events during her Alcovy tenure. 

Lewis competes for the Tigers in the long jump, triple jump and on Alcovy’s relay team.

“When she came along last year, the long jump was her main [event],” Brown said. “She started the triple jump in the last part of the season in April. She is natural in everything. She made it to state last year in the triple jump, and that’s not even her main event.” 

After strong performances at the region and sectional meets, Lewis felt like her jumps at the region meet were the best out of the two events.

“At regionals, I felt like I did better than I did at sectionals,” Lewis said. “[With] nervousness and such, you are competing with a variety of people from different regions. We had regions 3, 4, 6 and 7, so it was a little more nervousness [for me] but I did end up [getting a personal record] at the sectional meet. But, I do feel I was better at the regionals meet because I placed first in both of my events and was titled ‘region champ.’”

Though her best placements have come in the long jump and triple jump, Thomas referenced a point at sectionals where Lewis kept the relay team in contention for a spot at the state meet.

“Destini showed us at sectionals what her real potentials are,” Thomas said. “She saved the team, because we just sled in. We had made some mistakes, but when she got that baton and when she came down that back strip — you can almost see it in her mind and in the way she was moving. She did not give up. A lot of them will give up at the last minute, but she saved the team.”

Similar to Lewis, Randall’s time with Alcovy track and field has not been long.

However, the freshman impressed her coaches early on in many ways with her efforts in shot put and discus.

“Her dad came and spoke to me at an open house, about how she was in between and wasn’t sure what she was going to do. She was going out for softball,” Thomas said. “I had been hearing about her when school started and some of the coaches started talking about how she can throw, and how strong she was.

“Then she came out on the track, and she can run too. Janae is kind of an all around [athlete], so that is what got my attention with her and what impressed me. I love her motivation, her attitude [and] her will just to do good.”

The dedication to the game has led to success for Randall.

Like Lewis, Randall claimed first place in both her events at the Region 3-AAAAAA meet. 

Although she did not claim first place at sectionals, Randall still qualified for state with fifth place in the discus and third place in the shot put. 

Even after a strong finish at regionals, Randall and her coaches were impressed with how high she placed at sectionals.

“She surprised us,” Thomas said. “[She] was kind of like, ‘Well, I don't know if I will be able to throw what my best is.’ She was standing beside me, and I was like, ‘Listen, just drop everything. Stop worrying about everything, just do your best.’ She was zoned in. I think she surprised herself, because the look on her face — she definitely surprised herself.”

This early into her career, Randall gives all the credit to her family and her faith.

“I get most of my success from the lord and my parents,” Randall said.

Despite the desire to pursue softball, Randall’s introduction to track and field was a success as the freshman quickly picked it up.

“I saw it as another opportunity for me to play [another] sport, because I love sports,” Randall said. “I was like, ‘OK, let me try track.’ When I came out I just fell in love with it.”

As the venue and level of competition increased from the regional meet to the sectionals, both coaches noted how the athletes had to take some time to get their nerves adjusted to the atmosphere.

“[At] regionals, we already knew they were going to push through, it was just a matter of what they were going to jump, [and] what they were going to throw,” Brown said. “At the sectionals meet, it was like both of [their nerves] kicked in. They saw what they were throwing, they saw all of the athletes competing. Janae, she is a freshman, saying, ‘These girls are throwing way farther than me.’ But Janae doesn’t know what her potential is, same with Destini. We already know what they can do on the track, it is just a matter of what they can do that day.”

With the coaches looking for both athletes to maximize their potential at the state meet, bringing home medals will be the top priority and is seen as a stepping stone for the future of the program.

“If you bring home something, [it sets] the goal for next year as, ‘That’s what it takes,’” Brown said. “That is the type of potential that brings you back next season, because honestly — these girls are young. They are mostly freshman and sophomores. [Lewis] is the only senior girl we are losing.”

The Alcovy Tigers track and field team competed in the Class AAAAAA championships at Rome High School Thursday, May 9 through Saturday, May 11. Check the Wednesday, May 15 edition of The Covington News for the recap.