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London Central High School junior Robert Gonzalez hones his starting block skills during practice before the European track and field championships last week. Gonzalez and freshman Kim Chaffin were the final Bobcats to represent the track team in the school's final year.

London Central High School junior Robert Gonzalez hones his starting block skills during practice before the European track and field championships last week. Gonzalez and freshman Kim Chaffin were the final Bobcats to represent the track team in the school's final year. (Photo courtesy of Susan Payne)

London Central High School junior Robert Gonzalez hones his starting block skills during practice before the European track and field championships last week. Gonzalez and freshman Kim Chaffin were the final Bobcats to represent the track team in the school's final year.

London Central High School junior Robert Gonzalez hones his starting block skills during practice before the European track and field championships last week. Gonzalez and freshman Kim Chaffin were the final Bobcats to represent the track team in the school's final year. (Photo courtesy of Susan Payne)

London Central High School freshman Kim Chaffin throws a shotput during a track and field meet this season.

London Central High School freshman Kim Chaffin throws a shotput during a track and field meet this season. (Photo Courtesy of Margaret Chaffin)

UK weekly edition, Wednesday, May 23, 2007

RAF DAWS HILL — London Central High School junior Robert Gonzalez and freshman Kim Chaffin had perhaps a little more pressure on them than most athletes who competed in the track and field European championships last week.

The athletes were the lone Bobcats to qualify for Europeans and to represent their team one last time as the school is scheduled to close this year.

“It makes me kind of nervous. We’re the only ones so we really have to make an impression,” Chaffin, a shot putter, said before the tournament held in Rüsselsheim, Germany.

“It will be kind of weird going out there as the only runner. I just want to show them that London Central is awesome,” Gonzalez said last week.

Gonzalez competed in the 100- and 200-meter dashes as well as the 300-meter hurdles. His best showing was in the 100-meter dash, where he placed seventh in the finals with a sprint of 11.88 seconds. He also placed sixth in the semifinals of the 200-meter dash with a 23.89-second showing.

Chaffin faced some stiff competition and finished 17th in the shot put event, with a throw of 26 feet, 1 inch.

“I think they did fine. They’re good kids. It was their first Europeans, which is always an experience,” London Central track head coach Kim Lassetter said Monday.

Lassetter, who has coached at the school for five years, thought the school’s upcoming closure didn’t have much effect on her squad of 30 athletes this season, even though they’d be the final ones to dress in the Bobcat uniform.

“I think track has kept us busy. We’ve been focusing on the season. I’m sure it will hit [the athletes] pretty soon, though,” Lassetter said last week.

Although track at London Central has come to a close, Gonzalez and Chaffin said they plan on continuing the sport in a different uniform next season.

Gonzalez will be moving to Columbus, Ga., where Shaw High School will inherit his running prowess.

“I’ll miss the dorms a lot,” the 17-year-old said about London Central, the Department of Defense Dependents Schools’ only boarding school.

Moving back to the States will be an experience for Chaffin, who has been in England since the first grade.

“I don’t even remember living in the States. It will be quite the change for me,” said the 14-year-old, who also qualified for Europeans in volleyball and basketball this school year.

She’ll be attending Bolton High School in Bartlett, Tenn., she said.

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