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Newton sends 3 to podium at track meet
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The Newton track team spent almost as much time on the podium as it did on the track this weekend.

The Rams sent four athletes to the AAAAA state championships and had all but one finish in the top eight in their respective events.

"We've very pleased with the kids' output," Newton coach Cortez Allen said. "We ended up placing 20th overall, which is about where we thought we would be."

Sophomore Malik Franklin had the lowest placing, finishing sixth in the triple jump and fourth in the long jump. In the triple jump, Franklin tallied a distance of 45'4, while jumping 22'5 in the long jump.

In the long jump, Franklin was in first most of the day, until about 3 ½ rounds in when he was passed up by three consecutive jumpers.

"He was awesome," Allen said. "And only a sophomore, he definitely will be back."

The Rams other podium finishers, Damon Gresham and Duronte Carter both took seventh place finishes on Saturday.

Gresham, a senior, threw a shot put of 49'10, just shy of his school record of 50'1 set at sectionals.

"It didn't quite get back to that mark but 49'10 was good enough for him to finish seventh," Allen said. "Him being a first-time guy - that was big for him; we were extremely proud of his leadership."

Carter, a junior, broke a school record in his first state championship with a time of 39.55 in the 300-meter hurdles.

"We were very proud of him," Allen said. "This is his first time doing the hurdles, he had been coming along all year long. He had a goal for himself and he met that goal."
Carter's classmate, fellow junior Alex Grady may have finished outside the top eight, but set a school record in the process.

Grady ran the mile in 4:24.68, good enough for 11th place and a school record, and finished two miles in 9:48.69, good enough for a 12th-place finish.

"I'm very pleased by the kids," Allen said. "They did an outstanding job. Everybody got on the podium besides Alex.

But even though he didn't get on the podium, he had a personal best and school record in the 1,600."

The Rams finished above 16 other teams at the state meet with three of the four competitors returning to Newton next season for a shot at improving their standings in the 2013 track season.

"Me and my staff are pleased by the performances all year long," Allen said. "We're glad they got the opportunity to go out and compete and make Newton proud."