MURFREESBORO — Jaden Stevenson spent a lot of time on the All-State podium.
Three teammates surrounded him on his third trip, standing in the No. 2 spot during Thursday’s TSSAA Large School track and field state championships.
Greeneville’s 4x100 meter relay team not only finished second in the state, but in the process broke a 30-year-old school record. The old mark of 42.50 seconds had stood since 1991. But the Greene Devils’ 2021 relay team of Stevenson, Mason Gudger, Jayquan Price and Keelen Lester finished nearly a half-second faster, clocking in at 42.03 on Thursday.
Only Memphis Central’s 4x100 relay team finished faster, doing so in 41.72 seconds.
“These guys came in here with a goal in mind, and they went after it,” Greeneville coach Larry Blalock said. “Huge confidence builder.”
Oh, and they’ll all be back next spring, too.
As for Stevenson, he began his day with a state runner-up finish in the long jump. Stevenson leaped a distance of 22 feet, 10.5 inches, second only to Ripley’s TJ Edler (23-4.25).
The junior placed fourth in the 100-meter dash at 10.75 seconds and then earned another medal after aiding his school-record 4x100 relay team. Stevenson placed fifth in the 200 meters with a time of 21.72 seconds.
“Jaden’s a guy that when the competition heats up, he does too,” Greeneville sprint coach Eric Simpkins said. “We knew going into sectionals he was going to put up some good times, and in state even better times.”
Bearden’s Christian Langlois won both the 100 meters (10.43) and the 200 meters (21.09).
Gudger also ran in the 100 meters, tying John Overton’s Eric Foley for 12th place with a time of 11.07 seconds.
As a team, the Greene Devils finished sixth in the state with 25 points. Bartlett scored 69 points to win the team title, beating out Memphis Central (63).
“We had probably one of the best all-around teams I’ve ever coached this year,” Blalock said, while noting this will be Greeneville’s final year competing in the Large Schools classification before moving down to Class 2A. “We’ve had about three rebuilding years ... but the rebuilding is done, so we’re ready to vault into the next stage. We’re looking forward to what’s coming down the road for us the next couple of years.”