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Newton sends 3 to state
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The Newton boys' track team came out of the first ever sectionals tournament with three athletes headed to state.

Damon Gresham, Malik Franklin and Alex Grady will be headed to Jefferson May 10-12 to compete for a state title.

The trio finished in the top eight of their respective events in sectionals held at McEachern High last weekend.
Grady, a junior, finished in sixth place with a time of 4:26 in the mile and eighth place with a time of 9:43 in the two-mile run, qualifying for the final spot to go to state. Both his times were personal bests.

"Alex had very courageous performance in a very tight race competing against 16 of the best miler and two milers in state," Newton coach Cortez Allen said. "He fought a really good race and did excellent in both events. We're extremely proud of him."

Gresham, the lone senior out of the three state competitors, will take his shot-putting skills to Jefferson after finishing third with a distance of 50 feet, 7 inches.

"Damon had a personal best," Allen said. "He's improved each week."

Gresham was throwing the shot put at an average of 42-44 feet during the season before improving to 47 feet at regionals and then over 50 feet at sectionals.

Franklin, a sophomore, competed in the long jump where he took second with a distance of 21-11 ½ and second in the triple jump with 45-11 ½.

"Malik in sectionals was outstanding," Allen said.
Franklin's long jump put him in the lead throughout the competition until the second to last jumper, an athlete from Wheeler, topped him for first place with a distance of 22'6".

Franklin and Grady return to state for the second straight year and are both looking to step on the podium for the first time next weekend.

Grady competed in the two mile run a year ago finishing 13th and Franklin was an alternate on the 4 x 400 team.

"They know what it takes because they had an opportunity to be witness to some great races and great track and field events as underclassmen," Allen said.

Grady, Franklin and Gresham don't have any meets before state but are using this week to continue their training to finish in the top eight in Jefferson.

"The boys are hard at work trying to maintain their training and stay in shape," Allen said. "We're looking for those guys to be top eight finishers in all their events and we hope to see them on the podium during the awards ceremony."