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franklin county times

Lure of tradition leads Grantham to Ole Miss

By Staff
FUTURE REBEL J. Grantham signs with the University of Mississippi as his parents, Ranae and Vance watch along with head track coach Ed Abdella and principal Mac Barnes. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
June 6, 2002
Lamar School's J. Grantham is headed to Ole Miss to run for Joe Walker's premier track program.
Grantham signed a national letter of intent with the University of Mississippi before family and Lamar head track coach Ed Abdella on Wednesday afternoon at the school library.
Grantham said he wanted to be a part of the "fine tradition" of Ole Miss track and field.
This past spring, Grantham successfully defended his Academy Overall championship in the 3,200 meter run with a time in the 10:50 range. His career best time in the 3,200 is 10:31. He also won the 3,200 AAA and Overall titles in 2001.
One thing that struck Walker's curiosity was Grantham's desire to compete in the 400-meter dash. He finished fourth at the Academy Overall, running a time of 50.2. He also helped the Raiders' 3,200 meter relay team to a fifth place finish at the Overall meet.
Abdella feels Ole Miss is getting a potentially great distance runner.
One runner Abdella brought to mind is former Ole Miss distance star Angel Neely, who prepped at Simpson Academy in Mendenhall.
Grantham, who has also competed in the 1,600 (career best 4:42) and the 800, said a soccer injury caused him to be behind going into the spring track season.
He says there are a couple of events, that Walker may try him in.
Grantham is expected to pursue a degree in exercise science. While he ran in the Raider Run, a 5K race back in April finishing second to a professional runner, Grantham will take the summer off from competitive running.