3A:GAC Girls Rack Up 128 Points, Westminster Boys Victorious

Trinity Rossum of GAC wins her 2nd gold medal in the 200m race

(all photos by Linda Fick)

3A Girls

The 3A girls' state championship was going to be determined by 2 powerful private school programs and a public school challenger that was loaded with talent. Event after event down in Albany this weekend the podium was full of Greater Atlanta Christian, Westminster, and Sandy Creek athletes. Ultimately, GAC had more elite athletes across the board which made the difference. There are so many athletes to mention, and we are going to stick with those that won their events. Westminster was a strong 2nd as a team, with Sandy Creek not far back in third. Pike County was the final team to ascend the podium having 45 points led by hurdler/jumper Taylor Moreland. 

GAC (Greater Atlanta Christian) began their Saturday by smoking the track in the 4x100

GAC got off to a fast start Saturday setting the mondo on fire clocking a 46.28. Transfer Trinity Rossum (formerly of Buford) blew down the track in the short sprints going 100m-11.77and 200m-24.17 and Nia Wilson scored a set of silvers in the same events. Nyla Thompson won the pole vault with a bar of 11-06. GAC took 4 victory laps in the 4x400 placing 2nd at 4:00.22. 

Grace Smith was a scoring machine for Westminster

Westminster got a large portion of their points from super-frosh Grace Smith and distance runner Palmer Walstad. Smith won the 100h clocking a 14.62, placed 2nd in the 300h at 43.22, had a great 2nd place finish in the Long Jump with a mark of 19-07, and was 3rd in the 100m! Kelsey Chambers won a gold medal in the triple jump bounding out to 38-04. Walstad swept the distance races posting a 5:04 in the 1600m and 10:52 in the 3200m. 

Gabriella Grissom of Sandy Creek

Sandy Creek had a great showing battling the powerhouse private squads scoring 97 points. Leading the Patriots were Gabriella Grissom who won golds in the 400/800 and Isis Symone Grant who was second in both events giving them 36 points. Jania Hodges had a great race in the 300h taking first in a very swift time of 42.45, was 2nd in the high jump, and third in the long jump, and Ryan Lewis silvered in the triple jump. They began Saturday taking 2nd in the 4x100 relay going 47.96 and ended the day winning the 4x400 at 3:49.86. 

3A Boys

Matthew Fernando 

Westminster had all the pieces in place pre-race, and they took the challenge and admirably performed as one would expect the Cats' to do, and won their first state track championship since 2009 which was long overdue. And this wasn't a case of sheer distance dominance making the difference such as the Marist girls and Blessed Trinity boys. Southeast Georgia's Liberty County had a great showing finishing 12 points back taking 2nd as a team. Hart County fought hard, having to overcome a season-ending injury to their distance star and wound up in 3rd as a team just nine points back. And Pierce County was a very surprising 4th claiming the final team podium spot. 

Phillips Moore (c) swept the boy's throws events

Westminster was a pre-meet favorite to win the boys 3A team title and their big scorers came through in style. Matthew Fernando proved he is a strong mid-distance by runner. He bested Justin Wachtel and Andrew Jones in the 1600 meters clocking a 4:14.83 looking very strong and was a close second to Wachtel in the 800m final going 1:54.29. Phillips Moore (a freshman) did his part by sweeping the throws slinging the discus 150-05, and shoved the shot put out to 51-0.50, teammate Ejike Adeli seized 2nd place in the shot with a toss of 47-11.75. the Cats' won the 4x800 at 7:55.84 and ended the day as runner-ups in the 4x400 at 3:27.92

Meon McLeod of Liberty County left Albany with 3 gold medals

Liberty County brought their best to Albany and charged to a 2nd place team finish scoring 52 points. Meon McLeod was the main man as he doubled in the short sprints recording the fastest time at the Albany venue in 10.51 and a swift 21.65 in the 200m dash. Jaylin Ferrell turned in a 48.40 winning the 400m, and Liberty also won the 4x100 going 42.03 and Kenneth Foxworth had a mark of 44-0 capturing 2nd in the triple jump. 

AJ Johnson led Hart County to a 3rd place team finish 

Hart County managed to pull off a third-place team effort largely in part by scoring 18 points in the pole vault won by AJ Johnson with a bar of 15-11.25 and Chandler Smith at 14-06. JC Curry took 2nd in the long jump with a mark of 22-03 and placed 6th in the high jump. The Bulldogs also placed 5th in the 4x800 relay. Pierce County excelled in the jumps, as Maleek Chandel took the gold medal honors in the triple jump with a mark of 45-07, was 2nd in the high jump with a bar of 6-04 and placed 4th in the long jump. Teammate Zae Plummer placed third in the high jump (6-04)

Justin Wachtel wins the 800m

Justin Wachtel of Mary Persons laid back and played possum for 7 laps in the 3200, before dropping the hammer on the final lap passing Andrew Jones taking the win in 9:06.49, with Jones posting a 9:09. Wachtel also won the 800m going 1:53.57.