By Steve Williams

Bearden High senior Jacob Sobota would have been the favorite to win the TSSAA Class AAA decathlon this week, but he won’t get to compete for the prestigious title because of a late-season injury.

“I scratched Jacob from the decathlon,” Bearden Coach Patty Thewes said via e-mail Friday. “He was unable to perform as we were hoping with his other events at the (sectional) due to injury, so we are planning on him just doing pole vaulting at state. But we’ll have to see how he’s doing (this) week. His wellbeing is more important.”

Sobota placed second in the state decathlon last season and turned in the top sectional score (6,472 points) in state qualifying this spring.

A healthy Sobota also would have made the Bulldogs strong contenders this year for the state track and field title.

“Well it does affect the outcome we were hoping for at state meet,” said Coach Thewes. “That’s life. We are going to go and do our best. I’ll be proud of our boys if they give their best effort regardless of outcome.”

Jacob has the state’s top mark in the pole vault this season (15 feet, 7 inches)

Joshua Sobota, Jacob’s brother, will be going after state titles in two field events. He has the state’s top marks this season in the shot put (62 feet, 9 inches) and discus (182-10) events.

Bearden’s Shawn Stacy also has the state’s best high jump this spring at 6-8.

On the girls’ side, KIL champion Hardin Valley is expected to contend for state honors in Class AAA and Rebecca Story, Christian Academy of Knoxville junior, will be trying to better the TSSAA’s oldest girls’ state record in the 1600-meter run.

Spring Fling XXIV gets underway today and continues through Friday in Murfreesboro.

In addition to track and field, the state’s top teams and individuals in baseball, softball, soccer and tennis also will be competing for gold.

CAK will be Knox County’s lone representative in baseball this year. The Warriors will try to win the Class AA championship and extend Knox County’s streak of having a state finalist to 17 years.

Powell and Gibbs (AAA), CAK (AA) and The King’s Academy (Division II-A) earned state tourney berths in softball.

CAK and Webb School will be playing for state team honors in boys’ tennis, while Bearden, Catholic and Webb are in the girls’ bracket.

In soccer, Farragut, CAK and Webb were scheduled to play for state berths Saturday.