Tallahassee's Franklin wins 800 at Nike Outdoor Nationals

June 21, 2008

Joe Franklin is a national champion - again.
Franklin, the Tallahassee Democrat’s athlete of the year in both track and cross country, won the 800 meters at the Nike Outdoor Nationals held Saturday in Greensboro, N.C. That trophy complements the Nike indoor title he won in the same event earlier this year.

Franklin’s time of 1:50.48 wasn’t a personal best, but it was enough to earn the victory.

“He tried to make a surge in the middle of the race,” said Chris Sumner, Franklin’s coach at Godby High. “I don’t know if that hurt him or not, but he still finished the race. He was struggling a bit at the end but he still had the top time of the day.”

The victory should be the final race of Franklin’s storied prep career. He won eight individual state titles - seven in track and one in cross country - and led the Cougars to the team title at this year’s Class 2A state track meet.

Franklin’s next race will see him running in uniform for the University of Tennessee, where he will enroll this fall after signing a scholarship with the Volunteers.