06/06/06 — Boy's Track Athletes of Year - Garrett, Sykes lead GHS

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Boy's Track Athletes of Year - Garrett, Sykes lead GHS

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on June 6, 2006 2:46 PM

Qualifying for the N.C. High School Athletic Association State Championship track meet is obviously no easy task.

Sure, some teams may have their fair share of qualifiers, but very rarely do two athletes from the same school advance through regionals in the same event.

This year, Goldsboro High seniors Achish Garrett and Jacob Sykes defied those odds in the 200 meter.

At the 2006 Class 2-A Mideast Regional, Sykes took second overall in the event, running a 23.04. Garrett finished close behind in fourth at 23.14 as both advanced to the state meet. Garrett improved his time at the championship in Greensboro and finished fifth overall at 22.89 as Sykes just missed out of being in the final heat in the preliminaries.

The duo were also intregal parts of the Cougars' 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams, which finished second and third, respectively, in the Mideast Regional at Cardinal Gibbons in Raleigh. Both Sykes and Garrett also qualified for the regional in a handful of other events, but opted out of those to focus on the 200 and the relays.

For all of these accomplishments, Garrett and Sykes are the 2006 News-Argus Boy's Track Co-Athletes of the Year.

"I'm proud to be a part of that. A lot of people don't make it to the state," Sykes, said. "For two to make it in the same event proved we pushed each other in practice, drills and meets. We made sure we had each other's back and kept each other up.

"I didn't do quite what I wanted at state, but I think we had a really good year."

For Garrett, who hopes to run track at the college level, being able to run side-by-side with Sykes, a Virginia Tech football signee, proved to be a rewarding experience.

"It made me feel good to know I can run with someone that is doing bigger things after high school," he said.

Goldsboro coach Tovares Oates has been coaching both Garrett and Sykes since 2003, both as the boy's track coach and an assistant football coach. He applauded the duo, not just for their achievements on the track, but for their leadership as co-captains.

"I knew coming in they were going to be the top dogs. They pushed each other, and when I wasn't there, they coached themselves," Oates said. "Through the year, they saw their potential and knew what they needed to do to get where they are right now."

Oates hopes their work ethic has influenced some of his younger runners.

"We were fortunate to have them, and hopefully it will show others that anything can happen if you stick with something and strive for what you want," he said. "They are my stepping stones right now."

With their prep careers finished, both still have the potential to shine at the collegiate level. Sykes said he may also run track at Virginia Tech on top of playing football, while Garrett's college options include Winston-Salem State and UNC-Pembroke. The standout runners are anxious about their future, but like many high school seniors this time of year, they look back and wonder, "Where did the time go?"

"I feel like I should still have another four years to play," Garrett said.

Sykes agrees.

"I don't want to leave in a way. I'm ready to go on to the next level, but everybody remembers their high school years," Sykes said. "I had a lot of fun here and enjoyed my years. I hope I made a big impact with football and track."

It's safe to say he and his teammate did just that.