By Rubin Grant
When the Hoover girls indoor track and field team finished a disappointing fourth in the 2019 state meet, Chakiya Plummer wasn’t anywhere around.
She was in Powder Springs, Georgia, attending McEachern High School.
But at the end of the last school year, Plummer’s family decided to move to Hoover. That decision has proven to be a godsend for the Bucs’ girls track program.
With Plummer leading the way in her first state meet with the Bucs, Hoover recaptured the Class 7A girls state title at the 50th Alabama High School Association Indoor Track and Field Championships Feb. 7-8 at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
Plummer, a junior, claimed two individual gold medals, winning the 400-meter in 56.65 seconds and 60-meter hurdles in 8.73 seconds. She also claimed gold as Hoover’s 4×400-meter relay team finished first in 3:58.52 and picked up a silver medal as the Bucs’ 4×200 relay team finished second in 1:43.83.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t here last year,” Plummer said. “I was hoping it would be something different this year. I think I did well scoring points for my team.”
Hoover coach Devon Hind said Plummer provided just the spark his team needed.
“Chakiya is a little fireball,” Hind said. “She doesn’t like to lose, and she’s got great speed.”
The Hoover girls totaled 102 points, easily outdistancing runner-up Auburn, which had 63.5 points.
The Bucs’ girls won five consecutive indoor championships from 2014 to 2018 before Mountain Brook snapped their streak last year. They were focused on reclaiming the title.
“We had a meeting before the meet and the coaches told us everything we needed to work on,” Plummer said. “We listened, we practiced hard and we went out and performed.”
Kayla Jemison and Anna Kay Clark complemented Plummer’s stellar performance on the track with strong efforts in the field. Jemison took second in the high jump (5-4) and fourth in the triple jump (35-11.5), while Clark was second in shot put (37-6).
The Bucs’ 4×800 relay team also finished second in 9:52.92.
“They stepped it up,” Hind said. “We had a lot of personal records, some big performances from our girls.”
Hoover Boys Grab Title
Meanwhile, the Hoover boys continued their dominance, capturing their fourth consecutive indoor title, totaling 114.5 points to second-place Thompson’s 89.
Seniors J’Marri McCall, Jonathan Martin and L.J. Hill all shined. McCall won the long jump with a leap of 23 feet and 60-meter dash in 6.954 seconds. He finished just ahead of Hill (22-10) in the long jump and narrowly edged Martin (6.96) in the 60-meter dash.
Martin won the 400 meters in 48.7 seconds, with Central-Phenix City’s Antonio Crisco (49.29) second and Hoover teammate Julian Fore (49.70) third.
Hill had three runner-up finishes. In addition to the long jump, he placed second in the triple jump (46-8.25) and 60-meter hurdles (8.19). Another Hoover senior, John Watkins, won the triple jump with a leap of 48-10.75.
McCall, Martin, Hill and Ben Morris sprinted to a first-place finish in the 4×200-meter relay. Their time of 1:28.5 was the second-fastest in the country at the time of its recording.
“This senior class has never lost a track championship,” Hind said. “They did what they were supposed to do.”
The Bucs collected points in 11 of the 14 events. “We did well all the way around,” Hind said. “Even our pole vaulter (Landon Updike) and throwers came through.”
Updike finished tied for third in the pole vault with a vault of 13 feet, 6 inches, while Tanner Snow finished fourth in the shot put with a toss of 48 feet, 2.5 inches.
“It was a very good meet,” Hind said.