The Mustangs looked to continue that success as they made the move to GHSA this season.
The transition has been a successful one so far, according to coach Seymour Adlam.
“It’s been really good, because we have seen that we’re able to compete in this new league,” Adlam said.
“The main thing we used to hear all the time is ‘Yeah, you’re good, but who are you running against?’ and all that kind of stuff. Now, we’re moving into GHSA and we’ve been able to still shine in our sprints and our major events.”
Depth is the biggest issue for Mount Vernon, which has only 22 athletes — 14 boys and eight girls — on its roster.
“We have a much smaller team than we had last year, so I don’t have as much scorers as I did last year,” Adlam said.
“We lost some seniors and couple of real good athletes that were on the younger level that I was able to take with me to state last year.”
The biggest loss was sprinter/hurdler Nnenya Hailey, who won the GISA Class AAA state title in the girls’ 100 and 200-meter dashes and the 300 hurdles as well as leading the Mustangs to victory in the 400 and 1,600 relays.
Hailey, who signed to compete in track at Clemson, won four state titles in the 200, three in the 300 hurdles and one each in the 100 and 100 hurdles during her outstanding four-year career.
However, the Mount Vernon girls have sophomore sprinter/jumper Aundria Douglas to step up and fill the gap.
Coming off fourth-place finishes in the 100 and 200 and the long jump in AAA at last year’s GISA state meet, Douglas is currently the top-ranked performer in the 100 (12.69 seconds) and is second in the 200 (26.67) among Class A private school athletes in the gamilesplit.com rankings.
Junior sprinter Keon Douglas — Aundria’s older brother — is the top athlete for the boys’ squad.
Douglas — the GISA AAA state runner-up in the 200 and fifth-place finisher in the 100 a year ago — is third in the state in the 100 (11.23) and is 10th in the 200 (23.79) in the Class A private school rankings.
“He was in his first year of running track last year and we found out he could be a top sprinter in the state,” Adlam said. “He is kind of poised to be that again this year and he’s kind of like my foundation on my boys’ team.”
Junior Elijah Burnette — the starting quarterback on the Mount Vernon football team — also returns after finishing third in the triple jump and helping lead the Mustangs’ 400 relay squad to the state title at the GISA meet in 2012.
Burnette has also picked up where he left off, ranking ninth in the state in the triple jump (41 feet, 2 inches).
“He will probably be one of the top triple jumpers at state this year,” Adlam said.
Senior Evan Tucker is a contender for a state meet berth in both the 400 dash and the triple jump, while sophomore George Gavalas and junior Judge Jones give the Mustangs a solid presence in the throwing events.
On the girls’ team, senior Emmy Bowen leads the way in the distance races — competing in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200.