JEFFERSON - For two members of Georgia's incoming freshman class, Thursday's discus finals at the state track meet resulted in a gold medal afternoon.
Pierce County's and future Bulldog fullback Quayvon Hicks was first on the victory stand after winning the Class AA title with a throw of 155.03, followed shortly thereafter by Jenkins County's James Deloach, who won the Class A crown about two hours later with a toss of 156-05.
"Right before I got here I heard he threw like a 155, so I said I've got to get him," smiled Deloach, adding that Hicks is one of his best friends.
But Hicks wasn't done.
Later, the 245-pounder took second in the shot put with a throw of 52-01.25.
"It was a good day," said Hicks, who bested his state qualifying throw of 141-08 by tossing the discus some 14 feet further than he had before.
Deloach's winning throw was 20 feet further than his qualifying mark of 136-00. It also came on his final attempt.
"I was like this is the last time I'll ever throw the disc, so I just let it go that one last time," Deloach said. "I just let it all out."
Deloach and Hicks weren't the only future Bulldogs taking part in the state meet, which concludes on Saturday.
John Atkins and Deloach's prep teammate Jonathan Taylor also competed Thursday in the shot put, Class AAA and Class A, respectively. MLK's Blake Tibbs]/db] will take part in his team's 1600-meter relay event Friday.
In just about three weeks, Athens will become their home.
Hicks, Taylor and Deloach each say they will arrive on June 4, although Atkins probably won't arrive until late June or early July while he retakes his ACT.
According to Atkins, he still needs to earn one more point to achieve his qualifying score.
"I'll be there in late June, early July," Atkins said. "I'm not worried."
When he does get to Athens, Atkins - who said he weighs 325 pounds - indicated he will start out working at nose behind [db]John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers.
Taylor said he could get a look there as well.
"I played nose some my freshman and sophomore year, defensive tackle, too," he said. "This year, I played end, but it's possible I could evolve into a tackle or nose."
Jenkins has already been doing his part to make sure his young protégés are ready once they arrive.
"(Jenkins) has already said he's going to be our big brother. He's a good role model," said Deloach, who is equally excited about being able to play college ball with Taylor, his friends since grade school.
"As soon as we got our first offer we told each other we'd probably wind up going to the same school," Deloach said. "He's been through the same stuff I've been through."
Deloach is slotted to begin his career as an outside linebacker, preferably he said, at Will.
"I was standing up in high school," he said. "It was like an outside linebacker but we called it defensive end."
Jenkins County natives hope to play as freshmen.
"I'm ready to get up there," Taylor said. "I'm going to be ready."
Deloach said he will, too -with a little help from Bulldog strength Joe Tereshinski.
Like the rest of Georgia's incoming class, both Deloach and Taylor have been busy forging through the strength and agility program prescribed by Tereshinski before arriving in Athens.
"We've been bookin' on that, we've been hitting it pretty hard," Deloach said. "We've been trying to do more running, even on top of that."
When the goal is to earn early playing time, Deloach said you've got to do be willing to do whatever you can.
"It's all about whose in shape," he said. "That's what determines who gets to play."