J.T. Posey had every excuse to stop running, but he had every reason to keep going.
The Tupelo High School senior was leading the 1600-meter race at the Division 1-6A track meet on April 17 when he was suddenly slammed to the ground. The runner behind him, Oxford’s Chase Rose, had clipped one of Posey’s legs out from under him as they neared the start-finish line for the fourth and final lap.
Posey lay on the ground stunned, his clavicle broken and his hopes of winning shattered. After a few seconds, someone helped him up, and he finished the race in fourth place.
The injury could have ended Posey’s season, just two weeks shy of the Class 6A state championships. Doctors told him he could keep running without further damaging his clavicle, but they advised against it.
“It was my last season, so I was like, if it’s not going to make it worse, I can just hopefully push through it,” Posey said.
Last Saturday, Posey pushed through the pain and won a state championship in the 3200. He had hoped to also run the 1600, but one race was all he could manage.
“I can only do so much with that, going through all that,” he said. “I had to sit out the 1600, but I was happy with the result. It was a good way to go out. I did what I could do that day.”
Rose won the 1600 that day, as well as the 800. Posey holds no ill will toward Rose, who apologized to him after the incident at the division meet.
“He’s a nice kid. I don’t think he did it on purpose,” Posey said. “Hopefully he learns from his mistake, because it was his mistake.”
It’s a mistake that could have gotten Rose disqualified from the race. In fact, Posey’s mother, Joanne, filed a formal complaint to the Mississippi High School Activities Association. MHSAA executive director Rickey Neaves told her that witnesses of the incident viewed Rose’s contact with Posey as incidental, and therefore Rose should not be disqualified.
Posey said he’s been able to move on from the matter.
“J.T. has showed me that sometimes life throws you unfortunate things, and things happen. But he’s got the kind of character and work ethic and personality that he didn’t let it stop him,” Tupelo coach Teneeshia Jones-Boyd said. “He just continued to work toward that goal that he had in mind, and he refused to let any adversity stop him.”
That’s really all Posey could do. And while it wasn’t an ideal finish to his prep career, winning a state title after all he went through certainly makes it memorable.
“I’m happy. I kind of have some closure,” he said. “It’s a testament that you’ve got to have some endurance. For a runner, that’s what it all comes down to, is endurance.”