A record-setting finish in the final event of the day earned Southwest DeKalb Panthers the program’s 18th Napoleon Cobb DeKalb County Track and Field Championships. The victory marked the second consecutive title in the event named in honor of the legendary Southwest DeKalb coach this year.
Two key competitors for the Panthers were Isaiah and Xzaviah Taylor, twin sons of former Southwest DeKalb and Olympic champion Angelo Taylor who was coached by Cobb in the 1990s.
Southwest DeKalb was in eighth place with 16 points, 35 points behind leaders Decatur and Tucker both with 51, as the teams hit the Buck Godfrey track Monday. Isaiah Taylor shaved .69 of a second off his preliminary time to win the 110-meter hurdles in 14.02 to kickstart the Panthers climb to the title.
He joined his brother, Xzaviah, and teammates Therrian Alexander III and Xavier Turner to retake their record in the 4x200-meter relay, winning by over two seconds over Stephenson with a time of 1:25.36. Miller Grove had erased Southwest’s record of 1:27.26 set a year ago with a time of 1:26.21 in the preliminaries.
Following the relay, the Panthers won the next two events and scored 34 points to move into first in the points standings, 70-67 over Decatur. Xzaviah Taylor(47.91), Alexander (48.35) and Turner (49.04) went one-two-three in the 400-meter dash and Isaiah Taylor captured the 300-meter hurdles in 36.76 seconds
William Carlton put Decatur in front again with a win in the 800-meter run (1:54.36) and the Panthers answered with 10 points in the 200-meter dash with Xzaviah Taylor’s third-place finish (21.74) and Alexander taking fifth (22.23) to take an 81-77 lead heading into the final two events, the 3200-meter run and the 4x400-meter relay.
Decatur had two runners in the 3200 that finished second and seventh to pick up 10 points to take an 87-81 lead as Southwest DeKalb had no runners finish in the points for the event.
Southwest DeKalb entered the 4x400 needing at least a second-place finish to win the meet outright as Decatur had no entry in the event. The Panthers set a meet record as the Taylors, Alexander and Turner team took the gold and the championship title in 3:12.07, breaking the record of 3:14.49 held by Cedar Grove set in 2009.
Southwest DeKalb’s Isaiah Taylor was named the meet’s Napoleon Cobb Most Valuable Runner, winning the 110 and 300 hurdles and being part of two record setting relay teams.