Big Orange Relays Preview
On Saturday, 3/16, 25 teams will embark upon the Big Orange Jungle of Parkview High School for the tenth installment of the Big Orange Relays. This will be the biggest one yet as powerhouses across all classifications will test their strengths against one another. For some teams, they'll be eyeballing New Balance Outdoor Nationals qualifying times; for others, it will be used as a measuring stick heading into various county/metro track meets. Either way, it's going to be a huge day of competition.
Per tradition to this meet, every event, including field events, are scored as relays. Teams will combine up to three athletes' marks for a grand total per event; the team with the highest total wins that event.
High Jump: On the girls' side, individual Kendall McDaniel of Grayson leads the charge with a personal best of 5-6. She has two teammates both at 4-10 who could help secure 10 points for Grayson. Look out for the duo of Patra Williams and Riley Johnson of Arabia Mountain to make things interesting from a team perspective. For the boys, a quartet of Jalen Battle (Lambert), Carlton Bryant (Peachtree Ridge), BJ Ojulari (Marietta), and Sam Schwaner (St. Pius X) top the field with bests of 6-4. This should be interesting from a team perspective though as 17 entries across 10+ teams have leaped 5-8.
Long Jump: Eight girls have jumped over 17 feet in their careers entering this meet, including the duo of Skye Gross (18-5.5) and Jordan Pringle (17-11.5) of Parkview. They'll need to find a strong third to take the event. Traditional jumping power Brookwood has three jumpers over 16 feet, and Marist has two over 17 feet and one ovef 16 feet. Look for these three teams to duke it out in this "relay". For the boys, St. Pius X boasts two of the top 6 jumpers in Matthew Harris (24-2) and Robert Jared Williams (21.4). Parkview has three of the top 10 led by Matthew Chavers (23-4). The field features nine jumpers who have exceeded 21 feet, making this one of the more competitive events in the entire meet.
Triple Jump: Sidney Sims of Fayette County leads the field with a career best 39-3. From a team standpoint, Marietta features three girls over 33 feet including Jayda Lowe's 35-8.5. For the boys, Parkview packs a strong 1-2 punch in field-leading Malik Thompson (46-8.5) and #3 Justin Henry (45-1.5). They'll need help from a third contributor to take the event though as Arabia Mountain features three jumpers over 42 feet including Jaden Carter's 44-5.
Shot Put: No team seems to obviously stand out in the girls' shot put, but there are three girls in the field who have launched the cannon ball over 40 feet including field-leading Morgan Johnson of Whitewater (45-8). Meadowcreek does feature two of the top six but will need a third. Things appear similar on the boys' side in terms of the team competition, but the field itself features four who have gone over 50 feet including Ridvan Kazimov of South Forsyth (54-9).
Discus: Two of the top 5 girls in this event are from Whitewater in Martina Takang (125-6) and Morgan Johnson (114-10). Johns Creek's Madelyn Horne leads the field at 142-11. Kyle Poole's 174 footer puts North Oconee's ace in the driver's seat as he's clear by nearly 25 feet. With this being a 'relay' though, he'll need help from his teammates. Creekview features three in the top thirteen lead by Brody Dorfman's 132-3.
Pole Vault: It should be a nice battle for the individual title between North Gwinnett's Kelsey Worthington (12-6) and Josie Konigsmark (12-0) from Marietta. No team seems to have a clear advantage in this event though, making the girls' vault even more of a 'swing' event than it already is. Two-time state runner-up Brian Hauch (16-0) leads the boys' field by nearly 4 feet, but he's going to need help from his teammates in this event. Lambert and Creekview both feature two vaulters at 11 feet or higher.
Running events (NOTE: Not all teams made their relay athletes public. Some of the individuals here will be speculation):
1600m (2-2-4-8) SMR: Kicking off the running at 9:00am will be the 1600m SMR. This event will challenge the depths of these programs as super speeders will have to wait their turn until the 4x100m and the 800m SMR. Arabia Mountain on the girls' side (4:05) will lead the charge followed by Johns Creek (4:16), Fayette County (4:17), and Brookwood (4:21). Watch out for long sprinters like Ravyn Jackson of Arabia Mountain (57.92) and Skye Chambers of Johns Creek (58.35) to help their teams put a quick 10 points on the board in a running relay during the field event relays. On the male side of things, Arabia Mountain (3:30) looks to be loading things up and should be tailed by Peachtree Ridge (3:36), Johns Creek (3:43), and Grayson (3:45).
4x1600m Relay: Contested in the morning and adding a contrast to the weekend's normal Friday night affair, the 4x1600m could have a bit of a 'cross country' feel to it as temperatures will be relatively cool. On the girls' side, look for South Forsyth, St. Pius, Hillgrove, Creekview, Marist, Marietta, and Lovett to all duke it out. This race could feature the likes of Madelynne Cadeau of South Forsyth (5:06), Ellie Hall of Marietta (5:09), Kathleen Schellman of Marist (5:10), Grace Ellsworth of Hillgrove (5:13) and Maggie Yankovich (5:16) of St. Pius X. For the boys, St. Pius X, South Forsyth, Lambert, Brookwood, Marist, Marietta, Lovett, and Parkview should slug it out. Look for individuals like Kamari Miller of Marietta (4:25), Tristan Autry of Parkview (4:31), and a host of other boys who haven't yet run an open 1600m like Noah Hayes of Hillgrove (9:46 3200m), Cooper Bocko of Lambert (9:50 3200m), and Patrick S Smith (9:53) of Brookwood.
Shuttle Hurdle Relay: One of the more unique events at the Big Orange Relays is the Shuttle Hurdle Relay. Brookwood's girls have already gone 1:05 for this event and have two teams entered in both genders. Coach Carter's army of hurdlers are routinely among the best in Georgia which makes them a favorite to do some damage in this event.
4x100m Relay: For the girls, MLK leads the field with a quick 47.56. MLK features all-class leading Kayla Hunt who went 11.87 in the 100m at the Atlanta Games just a week ago. Marietta's 48.31 mark however should help the Lady Blue Devils challenge and is led by McKenzie Walker (12.46). On the boys' side, St. Pius X comes in, albeit unofficially, with a 41.96 and should be challenged by North Gwinnett (42.65), Marietta (42.81 unofficially), Grayson (42.87), and Arabia Mountain (42.88). Look for studs like Jordan Barrow of Arabia Mountain (10.64) and Robert Jared Williams (10.90) to headline.
Throwers 4x100m Relay: Come watch the "Battle of the Linemen" in what is always a fun event.
800m (1-1-2-4) SMR: Many teams entered hand times for this event as it's a unique one not contested often. Even so, five teams enter with seeds under 1:53, led by Peachtree Ridge's 1:50.25. With this being an event that tests all sprint disciplines, we could see a myriad of athletes featured here such as Tamiia Fuller (Ridge) and Ravyn Johnson (Arabia Mountain). For the boys, St. Pius X enters as the #1 seed with a 1:30.9 but should be chased down by Arabia Mountain (1:32.32), Parkview (1:33.15), and Grayson (1:33.89). Watch for top sprinters like Robert Jared Williams (St. Pius X) and Matthew Chavers (Parkview) to duke it out in this event.
4x800m Relay: Like with many of the sprint events, it'll be interesting to see which teams load up the 4x800m. We could see a special showdown in this event as four teams have seeded themselves at 10:06 or faster including Marist, South Forsyth, Parkview, and Brookwood. We can't forget about the dominant Lady Blue Devils' squad either at 10:13. Heavy hitters in this event could be Ani Henderson of Marietta (2:15), Leah Disher of Parkview (2:22), and Emily Little (2:22) of Marist. For the boys, there is a handful a teams with only two seconds separating them. North Gwinnett, St. Pius X, Parkview, and Lovett are all in there at 8:30 with Brookwood in at 8:32. This could be another major "swing" event. Watch out for individuals like Jackson McClimans of North Gwinnett (2:03), the Parkview duo of Tristan Autry and Trey Durden (both 2:04), and Seth Wheeler and Will Bray of Brookwood (both 2:05) to make or break this event for their teams.
4x200m Relay: This is another event which isn't featured at the state championships. What makes this (and many other events) interesting is where teams decide to load up their talent. It appears that Johns Creek's girls (1:42) will be loading up the 4x200m as they're the top seed. Peachtree Ridge (1:43.15) follows closely behind. For the boys, it could be another showdown between St. Pius X (1:28) and Parkview (1:30) with Arabia Mountain (1:30) also in the mix.
Distance Medley Relay: With the 4x800m and the DMR close together, it'll be interesting to see which of these two events teams try to "load up" in. The ladies from McIntosh have seeded themselves at 12:15 which shows they could be guns blazing for this event. They will be closely followed by South Forsyth (12:25). For the boys, it appears that Hillgrove (10:55) and Lambert (10:58) are loading up the DMR with these unofficial seeds. South Forsyth, McIntosh, and Grayson are all officially seeded at 11:05 or faster which will make this yet another tightly contested battle for both genders.
4x400m Relay: The way it should be: It all comes down to the 4x400m Relay. Marietta has already gone 3:56 earlier this year and should be the hands down favorite in this event. With that said, Arabia Mountain's girls ran an official 4:05.82 earlier this season and could be attempting to break the 4:00 barrier Saturday to challenge the Lady Blue Devils. On the boys' side, Arabia Mountain makes another appearance with an official 3:25 earlier this season and will be chased by Parkview (3:25 seed), Whitewater (3:28.21), and Grayson (3:28.26). Could this meet come down to the final event?
Come out this Saturday to the Big Orange Jungle at Parkview High School! Field events + two running relays begin at 9:00am with the field events, and then the afternoon session goes from noon until we're done. We hope to see you there!