COACHES INVITATIONAL MEET PREVIEW (by Cathi Monk)
Girls Triple Jump:
Leading the contenders in the girls triple jump is Na'ilah Moore of Fayette County, who boasts a PR of 39-02. Moore was runner-up in the 2016 state 4A triple jump. She will be challenged by Brookwood's Morgan Bentley, who jumped 37-09 last week and Denise Issah of Pope at 37-04.5. Other contenders who have jumped over 36 feet include Lauren Oglesby of Fayette County and Adiyah Warner of Brookwood.
Boys Triple Jump:
This year's Coaches Invite Boys' Triple Jump event will be led by Tyler Jones of Arabia Mountain with a seed mark of 47'11.5. There are several athletes who will chasing Tyler Jones. They are: Justin Laryea of Chapel Hill, Kai Shearer of Marietta, Jalen Kidd of Lambert, and James Hawkins of Fayette County. Each of these athletes are entering the event with a 44' triple jump or better. Others vying to medal will be: Joshua Dotson of Starrs Mill, Joshua Downs of North Gwinnett, De'Andre Butcher of Alatoona, and Algeron Shaw of Harrison. All of these athletes enter the triple jump event with a 42' jump or better.
Girls Long Jump
In this year's Coaches Invite the girls' long jump competition will be closely contested by the following athletes. Leading the way is Na'ilah Moore of Fayette County with a seed mark of 19'2. Ijeoma Uche of Chapel Hill has a mark of 18'11.75 and will be right in the mix for top honors. Other vying to place will be: Morgan Bentley of Brookwood, Kyleeyah Whitehurst of Archer, Jaida Bolden of Archer, and Samaria Allen of Arabia Mountain all with jumps of 17' or better.
Girls High Jump
This event sets up to be competitive again, with many jumpers over the 5-00 mark. Madeline Hammond from Starrs Mill is currently ranked 3rd in the State overall, but cleared 5-8 last year placing 2nd in the State meet. Sterling Lester, a multi-event star, has cleared 5-6 and finished 4th at last year's State meet. Reagan Pasonski of Lambert and Patra Williams of Arabia Mountain should also be in the mix.
Boys High Jump
An interesting event this year with some established jumpers and one high flying newcomer to the scene. Torenio Davis of Bleckley County has already gone 6-10.25 in the early season and has set the standard to catch. Samuel Brown of Archer has jumped 6-6 and was the Meet of Champions winner last year. Alex Petz of Woodstock has jumped 6-5 and won the Wolverine Invitational recently. Both Matthew Haller of North Gwinnett and Skyler Lester of Marietta have jumped 6-4 and were competitive at the State meet last year.
Boys Discus - This year's group of throwers will be one of the most competitive groups ever in this prestigious Coaches Invitational Meet. The group is spearheaded by outstanding multi-event thrower Madias Loper (Whitewater HS) who has a current PR for this season of 172-02. He can expect to be challenged however by the likes of Michael Willingham (Arabia Mountain HS) who has a season PR of 165-00 and Sam Wright (Archer HS) who enters the meet with a season mark of 157-03.
*This event kicks off at 5:00pm on Friday Night. Competitors will receive 4 throws.
Boys Shot Put - The boy's shot put event will include 6 competitors with current season marks over 50 feet. The clear favorite coming into the meet is Archer's Sam Wright who has a PR of 64-02.5 which is nearly 8 feet further than his next competitor. That does not mean that someone else cannot challenge Sam. This field is very competitive and will include a lot of elite talent. Some names to lookout for besides Sam are Madias Loper (56-06), Ahmir Lee (55-08), Jermaine Anderson (54-02.5), Joshua Jackson (51-07), and Jonathan Postell (50-02.75) who have all surpassed the 50 foot mark this season.
*This event begins at 12:00pm on Saturday. Competitors will receive 4 throws.
Girls Shot Put - The girl's shot put field includes 5 athletes throwing over the 40 foot mark. This is going to showcase more talent in a single throwing event than ever before at the Coaches Invitational. On top of that, 3 of these talented ladies have thrown over 46 feet. If you know anything about girls shot put that is incredible... This is a must see event at this year's meet. The group of ladies to lookout for are Natasha Stamp (Grayson), Erika Earwood (South Paulding), and Makenli Forrest (Woodward Academy) who have all hit a mark in the 46 foot range this season. Challenging these 3 elite throwers will be Sydnee Walker (KRS) and Laurel Kun (Walton) who have both hit a mark over 40 feet this year as well.
*This event kicks off at 6:45pm on Friday Night. Competitors will receive 4 throws.
Girls Discus - The girl's discus event is going to include a ton of talent. The group is up in the air and anyone in the top 10 could reach out and grab first place. The group to keep an eye on this year is Makenli Forrest, Rikkelle Miller, Taliyah Manning, Karena Grigenas, Ivory Jones, and Savannah Webb. All have solid marks over 100 feet this year including a few others who are expected to have a big day.
*This event begins at 9:30am on Saturday Morning. Competitors will receive 4 throws.
It's going to be quite interesting to watch what frontrunners emerge in this tactical 8 lap race! This year's field of distance girls will be a premiere race to watch. The 2017 Coaches Invitational will feature six girls under the 11:00 barrier. Leading this competitive field, is Nicole Fegans of Landmark Christian High School who is coming off of a stellar 2016 junior season as the A 1600 State 3200 runner-up. Her Senior year began with the 2016 GHSA State A State Champion, signing a scholarship with Georgia Tech and then she finished 7th at the Footlocker National Championships . She will be pushed closely by Jose Wirtz (10:54/5:06), a junior from Marist and AAAA 2016 State XC Champion. A few other standouts to watch are Macki Walsh of Etowah, a Troy University commit, Audrey Honiotes of Hart County and Mississippi State commit, Super Frosh Nyah Herdandez (10:58/5:08)of Creekview who won the 6A State title this fall in XC and Kaylee Dupont (5:10), of South Forsyth, who was the 2016 XC State Runner-up in 7A.
In the Boys 3200, the clear favorite will be Jacob Mcleod of Trinity Christian who is coming off a PR performance of 9:09 at the JA Classic this past weekend and 4:14 the week before at the Bartram Trail Bear Classic. He has several GISA State Championships to his credit, and he finish 15th this fall at the Footlocker National Championships. Other standouts to watch are Chase Kennedy, of East Jackson who is a 3 time State XC Champion, KSU commit and has a PR 4:13/916 and Ben Patterson, Marietta, 7A XC State 3rd / KSU signee. Hayden Tullos (9:22), Marietta, will be another top contender as he is coming off a stellar 2016 7A State Runner-up XC Championship finish and is a 2X Nike Cross Nationals qualifier. Chase Condra,9:22 PR at the 2016 State meet, Peachtree Ridge and Leif Anderson (419/922 Pr's) of Marist should also provide some serious competition to the field.
The last time this event was contested at the Coaches invitational it took 9:09 to make the podium...Hopefully this will be another exciting race!!!
The annual 4X1600 event always brings out the best in all the distance teams in the State!!! This year will be no exception and will feature some outstanding teams that will produce numerous outstanding performances!!! Competing will be the 2016 Cross Country State Champions from 4A, St Pius, 6A Alexander, and 7A Lambert and well as 4A Runner-up Marist, 4A XC 3rd Blessed Trinity, 6A State Runner-up, Pope and traditional powerhouses Milton, Brookwood and Walton to round out the field. The 4X800 will also be a test of the middle distance schools, with Alexander breaking the 8:00 barrier with a beast of an anchor leg at the Starr's Mill Panther relays. Other early season teams that could provide some competition for Alexander should be: North Atlanta (8:14), Walton (8:14) and Cambridge (8:23)
The girls 4 x 1600 is going to be another incredible race between numerous teams with depth and strength from their 2016 XC seasons! South Forsyth, Brookwood, Walton and Milton rounded out the podium in the 7A race this fall, and will do battle again Friday night. Marist won the 4A XC State Championship and Harrison having won the 6A Championship, will only add additional elite competition to the field. So far, this spring, impressive distance relays by South Forsyth (9:50) Brookwood (10:09) and Milton (10:11) will only add to the competitive nature of the Coaches Invitational.
A strong field in the girls 100 meter hurdles is led by Chapel Hill's Kayla Alexander, the defending 5A state champion. A multi-event star, Alexander tops the 2017 state rankings with a 13.89 performance. She will be pushed by Marietta's Sterling Lester and Mt. Vernon's Morgan Lewis. Lester is another multi-eventer who was on the podium as a freshman in last year's state 6A 200m, 400m, and high jump, while Lewis is the defending 1A private state champion in the 100m hurdles.
Sterling Lester of Marietta should lead the field and excite the crowd in the Elite 400 as she is one of the most impressive athletes in the State of Georgia this spring. A decorated heptathlete, she was the USATAF 400 National Champion from last summer and is coming off an incredible 53.92 at New Balance National Indoor championships last weekend. Other ladies in the 400 Elite include Joie Royer (56.05) of Arabia Mountain and Aliyah Sangster (57.52/25.09)of Chapel Hill. In the girls 100 the top seeds include Pope's Hope Glenn, (11.74) who had an impressive finish this past weekend at the New Balance indoor Nationals, Brookwood's Caitlin Tate, a Virginia Tech signee, Angel Amadi of Chapel Hill and recent University of Louisville commit who is (11.83/24.64)currently has the 3rd best all class time and Woodward's Miriam Waters (11.92).
The boys sprint events should be extremely exciting and competitive. The top 10 seeds in the 100 have all run under 11.0. Top seeds include Priest Foust of Arabia Mountain (10.61/21.96), Jacob Smith (10.65) of Allatoona, Elijah Miller Collins Hill (10.85/22.0) and Demarius Smith (10.72) of Parkview. Amir Harris from Parkview qualified for the Elite 400 but also has great speed with a 10.9 100 time. Trey Johnson of Fayette County has run 48:18 in 2017 and has the strength of a 800m runner as he boasts a 157.2 PR.
4X100 The sprint relays should be a contest between Parkview 41.59 currently 4th all class and Arabia Mountain, 41.57, 3rd all class. While the 4X400 again will feature Parkview 3:22 4th all class who will run two athletes (Harris and Long) who qualified for a the ELITE 400 run. With so many quality sprinters it will be a juggling act for the Coaches to spread out their talent throughout the open and relays events. This could be a preview of which teams will have the depth for the Championships meets later in the season.