This could be a very closely contested class possibly taking 40-45 points to win with the favorite coming out of Sectionals being Brookwood followed by McEachern, Peachtree Ridge, Luella and Coffee. Brookwood qualified 14 athletes out of East Sectionals and have 11 scoring opportunities led by their swift distance squad. But like any Ga state meet, the schools who have an athlete or 2 that can double, perhaps triple and have 2 strong relay teams again has a great chance to challenge and win.
Some of the outstanding athletes to make sure to catch in action starting with the Short Sprints are Tyreek Hill of Coffee County, Amba Etta-tawo of McEachern and Tadashi Pinder of Luella. In the Hurdles events look for Jordan Moore of MLK in the 100h and Alan Frye of Campbell in the 300h. Martez Hester of North Cobb in the 400. The 800 meters should be fantastic with Westlake's Thomas Miller, Adel Yoonis of Wheeler, Kisean Smith and Brian Sullivan of Walton. Josh Brickell of Peachtree Ridge is the man to beat in both the 1600 and 3200m races.
Out on the infield Thursday features some great talent starting with the horizontal jumps with Hill of Coffee in the LJ and Landon Jenkins of Westlake. The HJ may come down to misses with Brandon Goodwin of Etowah having a clearance of 6-10 earlier in the season. Shaquille Bryant of Tift County has been in a class of his own all season in the Discus. Matt Morris of Peachtree Ridge and James Wenk of Harrison have both cleared 15-0 this season in the PV and Shot Put competition is wide open.
In the relays, with McEachern out of the 4x100, the door is now open for Luella, MLK, Hillgrove and possibly Valdosta. The 4x400 relay will close out the Georgia Olympics with Luella, McEachern, Westlake and Brookwood fighting it out.
This Class really is perhaps going to produce one of the lowest winning team scores in recent history. The 4A East Sectionals were absolutely brutal and many teams lost scoring chances at State. Cedar Shoals looked good going into Sectionals but a dropped baton in the East Sectionals 4x100 relay prelims didn't help their state chances. Although a triple by Jamario Calhoun could go a long way this weekend...Sprayberry also failed to get their 4x100 squad into state, but led Michael Newton could still put up 30 points. Morrow, Kell, Creekside will all have their opportunities.
Beginning on the infield Thursday the star is Jamario Calhoun of Cedar Shoals. Calhoun has TJ'd 49-0 and has an impressive LJ mark as well at 23-9.25 although Tri-Cities Kenneth Fisher has eclipsed 24'. Zaquavian Smith of Statesboro has the top clearance in the HJ this Spring at 6-8 with a mass of 6-6 jumpers behind him. Austin Eckenroth of Flowery Branch as soared to new heights all season in the PV competition including a pr of 16-8 and Nathan Daniel of Marist has cleared 15-0. The Discus action will be intense led by #2 4A thrower this season Dewey Hilliard of Ware County. Jordan Chambers of Kell is the top Putter with a mark of 57-6.
AAAA is loaded with Short Sprinters including Quenshaun Watson of Clarke-Central, Evan Berry of Creekside and Alex Phillips of Fayette County. Also the 200-400 guys are smoking with Michael Newton of Sprayberry, Ayrian Evans of Morrow. The 800m run will feature Austin Erickson of Chattahoochee, Brandon Coombs of Greenbrier (also a contender in the 1600) and Salem's Dontavious Wright who will contend in the 400m as well. In the 1600 later Thursday evening Brad Hort of McIntosh, Sid Vaughn of Lakeside-Evans and Patrick Fleming of Pope may be sprinting it down the homestretch...with Coombs. Friday's 3200m the pre-race faves look like Vaughn, Hort and Trevor Grant of Lambert. The 110h event is filled with guys within a stride of each other led by Devon Williams of Kell at 14.13 Taurean Ferguson of Jonesboro is a threat in both Hurdles events along with Williams and don't sleep on Cedar Shoals' Calhoun who has the top time 4A time in the 300h at 37.51.
Creekside is looking to rack up big points in the 4x100 with Upson Lee and Fayette County also in the hunt. The 4x400 is wide open with Sprayberry and Cedar Shoals perhaps having the most at stake including Mays, Morrow and Douglas County.
There are alot of points available out there for AAA and like the tune goes having a tandem of Sprinters and top relay squads could turn out to be the difference for Charles Drew come the finish of the 4x400 Saturday. Carrollton has a much more balanced team, but can their guys maximize out on the Field Thursday and Jonathan Jones score as many as 30 individual points? Westover does have the weapons on Thursday to amass big points with 5-6 other schools capable of scoring 25+ including Grady, Stone Mountain, Woodward, Sandy Creek and St.Pius.
The LJ features 2 athletes who have launched off the board close to the 24' mark including Damarcus Simpson of Lafayette and Jones of Carrollton. Montrez Kitchens of Burke County has been the TJ leader this Spring with a mark of 47-7.50, but watch out for Darin Hicks of Columbia and Josh Barge of Carrollton to hit a big one for team points (Carrollton) AAA will feature a trio of 15+ Vaulters led by Picken's Tyler Craig at 15-9 followed by Westover's Dolphurs Hayes at 15-7 and Tray Oates of Allatoona (15-2) Westover has thrived in the Throws recently, especially in the Discus with defending champ Dontrevious Ously having a MONSTER toss of 190-6 in the Region 1-AAA meet. There are 3 other throwers with marks over 160' including Devonta Lambert of Burke County, Johntre' Gunn of Westside Macon and Westover's Derrick Akins. The Shot Put is up for the taking with season leader Jared Johnson of Sandy Creek and Shawayne Lawrence of Eagle's Landing topping the leaderboard. The HJ event is WIDE open with the top height cleared this Spring only 6-6 which pales to recent years of 6-10 to 7-3 leapers. Heck, Carrollton Head Coach Craig Musselwhite cleared 7-0 in 1983!!
Thursday evening's 1600m run will be a flat out barnburner which hopefully will not turn into a 'cat and mouse game' with a slow early pace. 5 runners have went sub 4:20 including leader Adam Jones of Columbus, Zane Coburn of Grady, Chris Burnett of Woodward, Malik Epps of North Atlanta and St.Pius' Calvin Tirrell. Friday's 3200m should be quite a battle between Austin Sprague of St.Pius and Luis Gonzalez of North Hall.
Should be some hot action on the Track in Saturday's Finals depending on who Q's starting with the short sprints as Charles Drew's Jadarius West being the big favorite in both with an opportunity to go sub 21 in the 200. DeVon Lewis of Sandy Creek will also be a big threat in both events as these two have went at it a few times this season. Deandre McBride of Drew has been 2nd fiddle in the 200m to teamate West this Spring, but that's a good thing this weekend! Tamaric Johnson of Stone Mountain is a threat to score big in the 200 and win the 400m as he has the top time this season with McBride right on his side it may come down to a 2000 frame a second decision...and don't sleep on Devon Diamond of Cross Creek. Zane Coburn's 1:53.00 laid down at Region made him a fave in a race full of 1:55 half-milers including Epps, Burnett and Adam Jones.
Strangely, with the exception of Carrollton's Jonathan Jones (13.77) AAA has had a down year in this event though providing opportunities for many to get score points including Westover's Jackie Childs, Franklin Bryant of Rutland and Bryan Earl of Towers. In the 300h, Ian Cadger of Woodward has the best time going into Friday, Bryan Earl is a threat to win and Johnathan Jones will have team points at stake possibly making a difference come Saturday.
In the Relays the 4x100m is going to be insane as 6 of the top 7 times were laid down in Sectionals going sub 42 w/ the exception of favorite Charles Drew (41.04) including Stone Mountain, Monroe Area, Mary Persons, Carrollton, West Laurens and Eastside. Stone Mountain has the best time by over 2 seconds in the 4x400 relay however, Charles Drew had the top time out of East Sectionals. The big question is how many squads eased off upon realizing they were moving on.
This is another class that 40-45 points may do it...AA is weaker in terms of overall talent, but that doesn't mean there isn't going to be great competition thanks to Sectionals along with a few great athletes including Maurice Freeman of Oglethorpe Co. and perhaps the best (not pushed this season) defending 800m champion Jabrelle Crawford of Putnam County as he may lead his team to a title. Putnam also has speed in the 100-200m and both relays. Elbert County has the most events available to score points in for contenders and Brooks County has firepower in the sprints, hurdles, relays to win a championship. The other contenders will have to rely on 3-4 athletes to maximize their potential such as Oglethorpe County, Albany and Westminster.
The fun begins on the Field as Maurice Freeman of Oglethorpe Co. has cleared 6-10 this season and the favorite to take the HJ. In the TJ, Elbert's Demetrius Sanders has emerged as the favorite with a pr of 45-04.5 along with Kawon Bryant of North Oconee. Darius Wright of Screven came out of Sections as the top LJ'r with a pr of 22-8.50. A trio of Vaulters have cleared 14-00 this season including Jefferson freshman Mason Hamrick, Jared Scotland of Hart Co. and Bill Singleton of Heard Co. The Throws events will feature a dangerous duo from Albany in the Discus. Jontavious Morris and Roscoe Byrd both threw over 151+ at Sections. Quayvon Hicks of Pierce Co. has the top mark at 153-10. Byrd of Albany also sports the top AA Shot Put mark this season at 50-11.50. Dakota Ball of Pepperell had the best Sections toss at 50-0.
Thursday nite's 1600 is going to be a another barnburner with Westminster's Jordan Flowers having a pr of 4:25 (:05 faster than the chase pack) Cale Pirtle of East Jackson may have the best shot at pushing him, but don't sleep on Oglethorpe's Justin Whitman, a transfer from Montana as he has an 800 pr at 2:00. In the 3200m Only 3 runners have went sub 10: this season which includes Flowers, Issac Pacheco of North Murray and Chris Akins of Model, but watch out for Pirtle from East Jackson....
There's a smattering of talent in the short sprints including Dexter Andrews from Maynard Jackson having the top time at 10.81, Carl Buckner of Putman Co. will be racing for team points at 10.87 and 21.78 (200m). In the 200m Rico Johnson of Swainsboro tops the list at 21.70 and is a threat to win the 100m as well. Don't sleep on Chris Jones of Brooks as he also could pull off a double (10.85/21.88) Crawford of Putnam could lay down something special in the 400m and go low 47's. Jalil Braxton of Lovett and Freeman of Oglethorpe should contest.
The 800 is Crawford's plaything and the only athlete to push him a little bit through 650 meters has been Whitman of Oglethorpe. Look for Djiby Si of Decatur and JaCorey Cason of East Laurens to contest. The Hurdles events are perhaps wide open with Fannin's Will Patterson having the AA pr at 14.83, but look for Brook's Tarius Derrishaw and Elbert's Marquice Dye to challenge. Kevin Johnson of Appling Co. has to be considered a favorite in the 300h after his Sectional time of 38.58, but Derrishaw of Brooks and Rhakise Shavers of Fitzgerald will challenge.
The 4x100 relay should be Elbert's for the taking barring a serious mistake with a pr of 41.57, Brooks, Putnam and Swainsboro will be duking it out for big team points. Putnam can really move in the 4x400 and if Jabrelle Crawford gets the stick within 25 meters of the leader the game is 'afoot' This will also be a key event for Albany to pick up big points as well as Oglethorpe Co, and Westminster.
Going into Sectionals. ACS had to be considered one of the favorites, but after the fallout of 1A East this Class is wide open with perhaps Wesleyan having an advantage thanks to their distance strength including Savannah Christian and Darlington being definite contenders to finish high on the Podium. Points are going to be all over the place for the taking in the Sprints, Hurdles and Field Events with as many as 5-6 schools having a shot at scoring 30 points or more...
Out on the Field, Edricus Williams of Warren County has been the sole HS athlete in Georgia to clear 7-0 in the HJ. Zack Lillie of ACS made it out of 1A East at 6-6 and there are a slew of athletes at 6-2. The Throws are a bit more open now, with Jordan Pickerell having the top mark in the Shot at 55-7 and Nardo Govan of Savannah Christian emerging as the man to beat in the Discus at 159-9 along with Jenkins County's James DeLoach. Levi Cummings of ACS comes into the meet with the best clearance in the PV at 13-6 but expect a challenge from Gordon Lee's Corey Jewell. In the Horizontals Marico Askew of Bowden is the A LJ leader at 22-4.50 and in the TJ Kelsey Wilkerson of Claxton has eclipsed 44' . ACS will need a key performance from Demetrius McWhorter to improve their title chances.
Class A 1600 is no joke with 7 runners having pr's of 4:25 and less....On Thursday evening it will be interesting to find out if defending champ Cameron Thornton of Whitefield has recovered sufficiently to make a run at the individual title as Athens Academy's Henry Dwyer trotted around the Track just to move on as he has a strong 1600 pr of 4:19.16 For Wesleyan Brad Gossett should be in the lead pack challenging as well as Robby Keough of Whitefield, Calvin Henry of Galloway and Josiah Jenkins of Athens Christian. In the 3200 there will be 4 runners contending that have gone sub 10: led by Gossett of Wesleyan, Henry and Reilly Friedman both of Galloway and Ray Warner of Holy Innocents. There's a stable of runners just over 10: making this perhaps the best A 3200 in history.
Saturday in the short sprints, barring a mistake, Marico Askew is the clear favorite to win the 100 with a pr of 10.49. Look for Our Lady of Mercy's Jordan Sartor to challenge in both events including Jalen Myrick of Savannah Christian. The 400m dash favors Seth Moore of ELCA with a pr of 49.96 and Wesleyan's Cole Warren at 50.27 (no other athlete has went sub 51)
With Cameron Thornton out of the 800m due to injury, this race is going to be quite interesting indeed. 5 athletes are qualified for this event with sub 2:00 prs. Mohme of Wesleyan tops the list at 1:58.12 with Darlington sporting a 800 duo of Cameron Collins and Alex Cox. Athens Academy's Henry Dwyer is extremely strong in the 800m and don't be surprised if he does something special. Will Hayes of ACS may be looking for some redemption after tripping just before the finish in 2011.
The Hurdles events may be key in the team battle for a point or two at stake for the contenders. In the 110h Warren County's Jabari Wilson smoked everyone at 1A East at 14.70 and Landmark Christian's Darius Smith may have the best chance to push him. The 300h will feature 2 sub 40 hurdlers including Smith and Pace's Kenny Selmon who does have a pr of 39.04
The relays should be a treat and closely contested with Hancock Central perhaps being the team to beat boasting a 42.67 pr. Bowden led by Askew ain't too shabby at 42.72..as well as ELCA clocking a 42.72. There could be huge team points at stake in the 4x400 relay concerning Wesleyan, Darlington and ELCA. Pace Academy at 3:26 and ELCA have the best times this Spring.