Dr. Charles Drew is remembered most for his ground-breaking work as a great physician, surgeon and researcher, whose pioneering work in the field of blood plasma preservation has helped save millions of lives over the years. But most people do not know that Dr. Drew was a phenomenal athlete in high school and in college.
Now, students at the Atlanta school named in his honor are following in his footsteps of being high achievers in academics and athletics. Atlanta Public Schools’ Charles Drew Charter High School won its first state championship last Saturday in Carrollton, Ga., as the boys’ cross country team dominated the 13 other schools in the Georgia High School Association Class A Public Schools division.
The Eagles defeated second-place Georgia Military College (Milledgeville) – which had won two of the last three state titles – by 50 points, 42-92, in the cross country scoring system in which a runner is assigned a point total based on the place in which he or she finishes the five kilometer (3.10 miles) course. A team is comprised of seven runners with only the top five finishers on each team earning points (one point for first place, two points for second place, 10 for tenth place, etc.). Thus, the team with the lowest point total wins.
Five of Drew’s seven runners placed in the top 20 of the field of 96: Henry Cox, Jeremiah Furlow, Isaiah DuBose, Joseph Jones, and Roland Blanding. This was only the second year Drew has competed in the championship meet.
It is the first cross country state championship for an APS school since the Crim girls won the Class AA title in 1992, and is the first cross country state championship for an APS boys’ team since North Fulton won the Class AA title in 1979.
Drew’s performance leads the list of outstanding performances by APS fall sports teams:
— Benjamin E. Mays won the Region 6AAAAA championship, earning a birth in the Georgia High Schools Association State Championship competition, Saturday, Nov.14, in Columbus, Ga.
— Frederick Douglass and Maynard Jackson placed third and fourth, respectively, in the Region 4AAA competition, good enough to earn spots in the GHSA State Sectional competition, Friday, Nov. 13, in Columbus, Ga. If the Astros and Jaguars place in the top eight (out of 24 teams) in the sectional, they will advance to the state competition on Saturday.
— Henry Grady had both of its teams place in the top 10 of the Class AAAA division at the GHSA state championship meet. The girls placed fourth and the boys placed seventh.
— The North Atlanta boys placed 11th in the Class AAAAA division at the GHSA state championship meet.
— Jackson had both of its teams place in the top 25 of Class AAA. The boys placed 20th while the girls placed 23rd.
Four APS schools advanced to the state playoffs (all games are 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 13, unless otherwise noted):
— Mays finished the regular season 9-1, ranked No. 5 in the Class AAAAA division of the Atlanta Journal Constitution Top 10 poll. The Raiders are the No. 2 seed from Region 6AAAAA and will host the Creekview Grizzlies (Cherokee County), the No. 3 seed from Region 7AAAAA, in the first round of the state playoffs.
— George Washington Carver (7-3) is the No. 4 seed from Region 6AAAAA. The Panthers will travel north to Dalton, Ga., to face the Dalton Catamounts (Dalton City), the Region 7AAAAA champions.
— Grady (6-4) is the No. 3 seed from Region 6AAAA. The Grey Knights will travel north to Tunnel Hill, Ga., to face the Northwest Whitfield Bruins (Whitfield County), the No. 2 seed from Region 7AAAA.
— Jackson (6-4) is the No. 4 seed from Region 4AAA. The Jaguars will travel south to Eastman, Ga., to take on the undefeated Dodge County Indians (Dodge County), the Region 1AAA champions.