All That Glitters Is Not Gold

JEFFERSON, Ga. – Ray Drew exited the throwers circle shaking his head in disappointment.

He'd just launched the discus 176 feet on his final throw—good enough to take the state championship and the longest recorded distance of anybody else at the state track championships Thursday.

But Ray Drew wanted more. He wanted the state record. And he shook his head and slumped his shoulders to let everybody know how he felt.

"It's a bittersweet moment," Drew, who plans to enroll at Georgia on June 4, said. "It's something I've been working at since my 10th grade year to try to win state, but I kind of underperformed. I didn't quite meet my standards. I'm disappointed in myself a little bit."

Drew, of Thomas County Central, is best known for his football abilities, having signed to play outside linebacker for the Bulldogs in February.

But he drew quite a crowd as the buzz spread of the potential breaking of a state record.

"Whenever I would walk out I would hear mumbling in the background," Drew, 6-foot-5, 248-pounds, said. "But I didn't try to pay any attention."

Unfortunately, a foot injury prevented Drew from unleashing his full potential—upwards of a 200-foot blast was a possibility, he said. Drew injured the arch of his foot on his very first throw.

"I don't know exactly what happened to it," Drew said. "It kind of popped right in the middle of my spin. It's been hurting ever since then."

While the injury didn't appear serious, Drew said he was unable to get full strength behind his throws.

"Just the first initial turn on my spin—getting in position to drive the circle is critical when you're trying to get into that power position," he said.

So Drew had to settle for a distance well shy of the state record—even though he still secured the distinction as the best discus-thrower in Georgia this year.

"By my standards, it would be a fail," he said. "It's a bittersweet moment. Even though I did get the first place spot, I didn't reach my goal—which was to break the state of Georgia record or come close to it…I'm just grateful for it all. God is still good through it all. Even though I didn't reach where I wanted to go, He has a higher plan for it."

Drew didn't spend the whole day thinking about records that might have been. He also canvassed the event, which was full of underclassmen football recruits.

"Maybe not so much recruiting," he said with a smile. "I was just befriending people."

And he also had some fun with fellow signee Watts Dantzler. The Dalton offensive lineman took third in the shot put and competed in discus.

After coming down off the podium, Dantzler briefly met with Drew.

"I told that he still couldn't block me," Drew said laughing.

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