August 4, 2013

Coahulla Creek leaper second at AAU Junior Olympics

Devin Golden

— Josh Foxx’s best high jump effort in the Georgia High School Association Class 3A boys state track and field meet was 5 feet, 10 inches.

He hasn’t grown much since then, but his leaping ability is six inches taller.

Foxx jumped a 6-4 at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Ypsilanti, Mich., and finished in second place among the 15-16 year olds in Thursday’s high jump event.

Entering his junior year at Coahulla Creek High School, Foxx has been working all summer with the newly formed North Georgia Sparks travel team and coach Eric Bishop. He has been preparing for this trip, and he said the level of competition was a surprise.

“It was pretty crazy,” he said. “It was a lot bigger than anything I’ve ever been to. There were a lot of athletes there. It was a different world, something I’m not used to.”

There were 56 competitors in the high jump for Foxx’s division. The winner of the event cleared 6-6, and Foxx knocked the bar off for his third fault.

“I had it,” Foxx recalls. “It clipped the back of my heel. I’ve cleared it in practice the week before I went. That’s what makes it worse.”

Still, a jump of 6-4 would’ve been good enough to tie North Murray’s Brady Swilling for second at this year’s state meet in Jefferson, and a jump of 6-6 would’ve tied the best of state champion Deonte Smith, of Franklin County. Foxx finished eighth in the high jump.

"He only did 5-10 at state and now is jumping 6-6 in practice,” said Bishop, a track standout at Murray County High School who went on to earn All-American honors and win a pair of NCAA high jump titles in 1996 and 1997 at the University of North Carolina. “He has been working very hard. Last week was the first time he has jumped 6-6. He has come a long way.”

Bishop was an assistant for Coahulla Creek’s track teams this past school year. He previously headed up the track and boys basketball programs at North Murray before resigning last summer to take a job with Whitfield County Schools.

• Dalton resident Ridley Kinsey competed in the National Senior Games Sunday and Monday in Cleveland, Ohio and finished eighth in the 55-59 age division’s shot put and discus events.

The bi-annual event drew nearly 11,000 athletes age 50 and older. Kinsey’s best shot put distance was 33-10.75 and his best discus toss was 111-08.

“I was disappointed for both of them,” Kinsey said. “I missed seventh place by about five or six inches.”

Kinsey is the director of health care markets for PatCraft, which is part of Shaw Industries. Kinsey won both events for the 55-59 age group in the Georgia Senior Olympics the last two years, and represented the state at the nationals event.

He called it an “amazing” experience.

“On Sunday morning when I was throwing the discus, the guys I was throwing against were from South Dakota, Texas, Ohio, New York and Alaska,” Kinsey said. “Just guys from all over the place, and here we are some 55-and-up guys who are throwing the discus. Some of the guys threw the shot put as well, so we got to know one another. It’s amazing, because some of these guys are really good. It’s competition, but at the same time the guys are cheering the others on.”