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Track and Field: South Forsyth celebrates breaking 14 school records
South Forsyth track and field athletes
South Forsyth track and field athletes standing in front the 14 new broken records Wednesday morning. (Photo taken by Zethan Ajayi)

South Forsyth track and field athletes, as well as head coach Austin Hamilton, came together Wednesday morning during their school's Instructional Focus period to replace former War Eagles record-setters on the program's leaderboard with their names.

“It’s super exciting. Becoming the head coach I felt like South Forsyth track and field didn’t get the recognition they deserve,” Hamilton said. “We’ve been blessed with some amazing athletes who have grown up through here.”

Some records, such as boys long jump, girls pole vault, girls triple jump and boys 100-meter dash had been on the wall for decades. 

“It makes that much easier to get athletes from other sports to come out here and join track and field,” Hamilton said.. “ I preach to them and told them consistently that ‘We’re going to get there. We’re going to make it.' With all their hard work and everything we put in together you can see it by the records, by us getting third overall, by the state champions were having, [and] by how we’re competing at a high level."

“Surprise might not be the right word,” South’s athletic director Keith Gravitt said. “We saw these young athletes come in as freshmen and knew there was a lot of potential. It’s gratifying to see them reach goals.”

Chris Nelson
Chris Nelson placing his name on the 200 meter record holder board. (Photo taken by Zethan Ajayi)
To add to their historic season, the War Eagles produced the 2022 Forsyth County News boys track and field athlete of the Year Chris Nelson, who broke the school's mark for best 100-meter (10.28 seconds) and 200-meter (20.87 seconds) times this past spring. Additionally, Riley Jones secured back-to-back FCN girls track and field athlete of the year awards after breaking the pole vault record with a personal best of 11 feet and 6 inches.

Nelson also broke the record in the long jump (25 feet).

Josh Nelson broke the record in the 400m (50.06) and triple jump (45’3.5”). He was also a part of breaking the 4x100 with John Muleta, Chris Nelson and Nathan Heo (41.64) and setting the 4x400 relay team record with Heo, Zach Hobson and Eli Weems with a time of 3:25.29. 

Nate Verska broke the record in the 800m with a time of 1:56.28. Ben Bergey broke two records, the 1600m (4:14.53) and 3200m (9:18.90).

“With coach Hamilton, I did sense something special because he builds relationships with his student-athletes," Gravitt said. "He’s a part of the football staff that has tight relationships with the players, as well. He knows how to reach out to the players and seeing him doing that on the football field was an easy transition to know he can be successful as a track coach.

"He just has a passion for it. Head coaches may love something but do they have a true passion for it? You can watch coach Hamilton on social media. He's doing things that motivate his kids himself by seeing the work he puts in and the things that he does.”