BY NICK SIMON THE TIMES-GEORGIAN
It was only fitting for Jeremiah Pierce to claim a gold medal while conquering yet another one of his own school records on his way out the door this spring.
The Carrollton High School thrower capped off his illustrious career at the GHSA Track and Field State Championships on May 10 by running away with the Class AAAAA shot put title.
Pierce, a Mississippi State signee, delivered a heave of 61 feet, 1 inch to dominate the 16-person field and eclipse his previous CHS record mark of 60-4.5 that he set at the Bob Hayes Invitational in Jacksonville, Florida, back in March.
Despite coming up just short of successfully defending his state discus title with a second-place finish in that event, the now Trojan alum was proud of the way he performed at state.
"I was happy with finishing off with a PR and another gold medal. It was really crazy to beat my own record again, so that was nice," Pierce said. "I didn't finish quite as well in the discus, but I was still happy that I was able to change gears and finish strong in the shot put."
Following his state shot put winning performance, Pierce traveled to Marietta on May 19 to compete at the Georgia High School Meet of Champions.
He described what it's like to steep onto a stage that features nothing but the best athletes from around the state.
"It really shows you where you are," Pierce said. "It shows that you might think that you're really good, but there's always someone that's working harder and might be batter talent-wise. It keeps me humble and drives me to keep working harder so one day I'll be at the top."
Watching his athlete put a bow on the end of his prep career, Carrollton throwers coach Stacey Brown called Pierce the most decorated thrower to ever represent the program.
"Carrollton has such a rich history in track and he's the best ever, as far as throwers in the history of this program, and that spans over 100 years," Brown said. "I'm super proud of him because he's just such a good kid. He's humble, he's well-grounded and he's on a mission. Mississippi State is blessed to get him."
The Trojan star looked back at his four-year development through the program and cited the several forces who played a hand into where he is now.
"I started off not throwing very far, but I had good coaching. I stayed focused and believed in myself like my coaches and family did. I kept working hard, pushed through adversity and kept hanging in there. Then, finally, it all started to fall together," Pierce said.
"Of course, I had coach Brown and coach (Craig) Musselwhite, but I also had my family and the other coaches from rec. Really, I just had the entire Trojan Nation offering big support. They've always been in my corner, so I've been thankful for that."
With his high school days now behind him, the multi-time state champion is looking forward to jump-starting his collegiate career in August when he'll officially arrive in Starkville, Mississippi, to enroll at Mississippi State.
The future Bulldog described the several factors that convinced him to sign on with the Maroon and White back in November.
"The coaches were great and the throwers they have are really good. They have three national, Olympic-trial type people that are in javelin. They just have a lot of people who are going to push you," Pierce said. "On top of that, when I went on an official visit during football season, they took care of me really well. We went to a really nice restaurant and I got to see a football game. It was pretty crazy with white shirts everywhere. It was kind of like a bigger Carrollton. The atmosphere of the SEC is really good. It's the best of the best. "
Another huge factor that drew him toward MSU was the potential for him to make an impact right away.
"Me and another friend will be the only shot putters there, so we'll really get a chance to start off, push each other and show what we can do," Pierce said. "Some people have to wait, so it's really nice to be in a position to start off like that."
But as he waits for August to roll around, the CHS great isn't taking any breaks, according to his throwing coach.
"Since the state track meet, we've only taken one or two days off," Brown said. "He wants to continue to work. He wants to perfect everything. His ultimate goal is to be a gold medalist in the Olympics, so he's taking the necessary steps to get there."
Pierce is once again participating in the Carrollton Summer Track program with head coach Larry Turner, where he and his teammates will try to qualify for the 2018 Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, on July 23-29.
For Pierce, this summer serves as an opportunity to further improve his skills and collect some more hardware before he ships off to college.
"I'm treating these next few weeks like the season. I'm still getting coached by coach Brown during the summer and I'm still working on technique and trying to throw as far as I can," Pierce said. "I'm just trying to go out and hopefully win nationals. That'd be nice having some national medals going into college."