May 28, 2003
When freshman Sterling Gray failed to qualify for the finals of the 400 meter dash at last year's NCAA Division II track meet, he told his coach that he would win the event next year.
Next year was last Saturday night and the Albany State sophomore was true to word in winning just the school's second national title in track and field.
Sterling Gray in fact brought back two plaques from the national track meet.
One for his win in the 400 meter dash and the second for the Golden Rams fifth place finish in the 400 meter relay.
Coach Willie Laster also brought back some hardware.
He was named coach of the year in the South region as the Albany State men won their first conference track title in more than a decade.
It has been a banner year for what is a young Golden Ram track squad and Sterling Gray is already planning to be the first at Albany State to win back to back national titles and he hopes the Golden Rams first national team championship.
Sterling Gray said "I would love to win the 400 but I would also want to win the 200 because that was one of my good races this year also. So, we are going to try to get there and go back and try to take the whole thing, nationals as a team."
Coach Willie Laster said " In order to win the nationals, you have to got have alot of people to qualify. This year we had 14 to qualifiers. Next year if we get 20 to 25 qualified, we are going to make a run for it."
Coach Laster also had another sophomore turn in a strong performance at nationals.
Alicia Anthony placed third in the long jump, fifth in the 100 meter dash and ran one of the legs in the Lady Rams 400 meter relay team that placed fourth in the nation.