This 2021 track and field season was like no other in history. It was full of challenges with COVID-19 causing coaches to handle everything differently. For Buford, this season was also different in another significant way, a new classification. Buford High School was moved up to Class AAAAAA this school year, which brought all-new competition.
For the athletes and coaches, they were simply happy to get a season after the 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic. They would take all of the challenges and make the most of them. The team also had a few key athletes who were injured during the season, which forced others to step up to take their places.
Despite everything, Buford track and field had a phenomenal season in a very tough and competitive classification. The boys and girls were both expected to do well at state and even though they did not win a state title, they finished well. The boys were fifth while the girls placed second at the state meet.
The team had five first-place finishes at state with Isaiah Bond winning the 100 and 200-meter dash, the boys 4 x 100 relay team, Sydney Harris in the 400-meter dash and the girls 4 x 400-meter relay team.
What is so remarkable about this season in particular is the number of times the boys and girls broke school records. More school records were shattered in 2021 than any year prior. Some of the records broken this year were broken multiple times. A total of 12 school records were bested by this year’s team.
The team had three of the fastest times in Georgia this year. Harris had the best time in the state in the 400-meter dash. Two boys relay teams earned Georgia’s fastest times this year. Those were the 4 x 100-meter relay team of Malik Williams, Victor Venn, KJ Bolden and Bond and the 4 x 200-meter relay team of Williams, Tobi Olawole, Venn and Bond.
Two of the top performers this year were without a doubt Bond and Harris. Bond was tearing up the track all season long both in his individual races, the 100 and 200-meter dash, as well as serving as anchor for several relay teams. He broke numerous records this season. Harris has established a name for herself this season, emerging from her big sister Kimberly Harris’s shadow to be a track star in her own right.
Bond said he started running at 8 years old as his mom thought he would benefit from track. He started training with Jackrabbit Track and Running Club but later switched to ATL Zoom Athletics. Bond competed in summer track until the eighth grade. Since then he’s focused primarily on football and only gets to train for track starting in January after the football season is finished.
Since she was 7 years old, Harris has been competing. Her original love was basketball, but she found out that her talent was on the track. She has been training for the past seven years with Jackrabbit Track and Running Club and competes in the summer track circuit. Harris has won numerous events throughout her career. She truly came into her own this season thanks to her hard work and the leadership of the coaching staff.
Buford track and field head coach Fyrone Davis is quick to say that although Bond and Harris were perhaps the top runners, there are so many other athletes who worked hard this season. Their success was a team effort and several athletes stepped up to compete in events outside of their comfort zones. Davis said that anyone he asked to take on more or take on a different event, they did so selflessly and put forth their best efforts. For example, Callie and Caroline Snell were asked to take on running in the 4 x 800 relay when they normally only competed in the pole vault, and they won several races for the team.
At the end-of-the-year track banquet, the coaches recognized the athletes who gave so much of themselves to the program this year. They recognized one young lady in particular who had an injury that sidelined her for most of the season, her senior season. Trinity Price’s primary event is the 200-meter dash. She holds the Class AAAAA state record in the event and has the second-fastest time in Gwinnett County ever. Price started competing again toward the end of the season. She placed fourth at state in the 200-meter dash and ran legs in the winning 4 x 400 relay team and the second place 4 x 100 relay team. Davis recognized her for her leadership and selflessness on top of her many accomplishments.
The team has so much to be proud of this season as they overcame adversity to be one of the top teams in the state. Look for their 2022 season to be just as exciting as they expect to have several key athletes return to the team.
Featured photo above: The varsity track & field team were recognized at the end of the year banquet. Photo by Alicia Couch Payne.