PEARL - It was a dream come true for Ashland's Derell Anderson as he stood atop the podium with a gold medal hanging around his neck.
On Friday, May 3, Anderson outraced a field of seven other runners to claim the Class 1A Boys 100 Meters State Championship. Anderson broke the line at a time of 11.12 seconds, edging Leake County's Jaleen Morgan by just .06 of a second.
"I couldn't believe I won," said Anderson on the moment. "It felt so nice to win it. I worked hard to get there and I finally accomplished it."
Anderson transferred to Ashland for the spring semester from Holly Springs High School. During his time as a Hawk, Ashland track and field coach Michael Cathey took notice of Anderson's speed while Ashland and Holly Springs faced off in their football game. Anderson's speed helped the Hawks to a 45-6 win that night but now his speed paid off for the Blue Devils at the state championship track meet.
"We knew when he was at Holly Springs he had a lot of speed," Cathey said. "He has worked really hard since he got here and to see it pay off for him is rewarding to everyone involved."
Anderson also placed second in the boys 200 meters race, earning silver medalist honors. Anderson finished just .33 seconds behind gold medalist Talon Phillips of Coffeeville.
Other Ashland track and field athletes to qualify for state were: Erik Bell, who finished fifth in the triple jump; Cherica Cheairs, who landed in sixth in the girls triple jump; and the boys 4x100 meters relay team that finished sixth.
"Our season went really well," stated Cathey. "Our upperclassmen really shouldered a lot of the load and we had some junior high kids show a lot of potential. Everyone from top to bottom worked extremely hard and we were well represented in Pearl."