Madeline Cooper winning her heat of the 200m at Christian Coleman Invitational
Unsung Heroes: The Fast and the Furious
For most people, daylight savings is nice because there is a bit more time in the evenings to relax, and you can sleep in longer in the mornings since they aren't as bright. For track runners, it marks a shift in the season where afternoon practices begin to be warmer, pollen allergies kick in, and those weekday meets no longer end in the pitch-black dark. With the warmer weather, two months of good training, and region meets in sight, this is the time of the year where we begin to see some amazing performances. This week, Unsung Heroes will focus on the typically overlooked small-school athletes who have shined in smaller meets all season long. Runners from 1A Public, 1A Private, and 2A made the list this week, and they show that the track and field talent in Georgia is not monopolized by the giant 7A schools.
"Unsung Heroes" recognizes some great individual performances from this past week across the state of Georgia that might have flown under the radar or gone underappreciated. One winner is selected from each of three categories (sprints/hurdles, distance, and field events) for both boys and girls. Enjoy!
12.19 in 100m at Christian Coleman Invitational, 4th
24.99 in 200m at Christian Coleman Invitational, 8th
A new star has been found at Drew Charter. Don't let the name "Drew Charter Senior Academy" fool you: Cooper is only a freshman, and she is one of the fastest freshmen in the state. At the loaded Christian Coleman Invitational this weekend, Cooper snuck into the top eight in the 200 meters with a personal best time of 24.99 seconds. That time was almost a second faster than her previous lifetime best! Then, in the 100 meters, Cooper blazed another PB with a fourth-place finish in 12.19 seconds. These results vaulted her to the top of the 1A Public rankings in both events, and all of a sudden Drew Charter is the favorite to take home the state trophy when using a virtual meet.
12:03.48 in 3200m at Darlington Home Meet #2, 2nd
Shelby Green has already accomplished a lot in three years of high-school running. As a freshman, she finished 6th in the 1A Public XC state meet and later broke 6:00 in the 1600 in track season. As a sophomore, she was the state champion in XC, as well as winning the 1600m in track and placing 3rd in the 800. She was only missing one thing, which is that she surprisingly never raced a 3200 before her junior year track season, until this past week. At the Darlington home meet, Green made up for the absence of star teammate Marissa Kimple and ran a very quick time of 12:03 in her first 3200. Even more impressively, she only missed out on grabbing the victory over Sophia Cook, one of 2A's most talented runners, by less than a second.
4' 10" in High Jump at International City Relays, 1st
36' 4.5" in Triple Jump at International City Relays, 1st
Little may be a senior at Northeast Macon, but she had not done much track before this season. Now 2A is on notice after an incredible week of performances in the jumps. Little out-jumped an unusually deep field in the high jump at the International City Relays in Warner Robins, reaching a height of 4' 10" in her first recorded high jump competition on MileSplit. She also grabbed first place in the triple jump as well, besting teammate Jacquelyn Patrick, who finished fifth in the event at the state meet a year ago. All of a sudden, Little is ranked first in 2A in the triple and tied for fourth in the high jump, and that's after only two meets this season!
11.11 in 100m at Midtown Midseason Classic, 1st
22.15 in 200m at Christian Coleman Invitational, 4th
50.26 in 400m at Christian Coleman Invitational, 7th
White is hardly an unknown quantity in 1A Public, since he finished sixth in the 200m at the state meet last year. However, even that great result was not his fastest time, and he has come back for his junior season looking for redemption. In a total of seven results this season, he has only failed to better his lifetime PR from a year ago in one of them, in his opening 200 on March 1. Since then, he has raced to a 49.84 in the 400 at the Atlanta Games Invitational. More recently, he added a fourth-place finish at the Christian Coleman Invitational for the 200 and crossed seventh in the 400 at the same meet. To cap his week off, he entered the Midtown Midseason Classic and ran his third-best event, the 100 meters, and won it with a very quick PB of 11.11 seconds.
10:11.09 in 3200m at Trinity Invitational, 2nd
4:45.82 in 1600m at Trinity Invitational, 4th
Robertson seems to be the rare distance track runner who does not run cross country. However, that does not mean he cannot help the Lions score some points in the distance events in May. He's had a breakout season so far in his senior year, posting huge lifetime bests in events from the 800 (2:08) to the 3200 (10:11). At the Trinity Invitational this weekend, Robertson finished 4th in the 1600-meter run, finishing only behind three sub-16:45 XC runners. He also finished in second in the 3200, setting a time that ranks him 6th in 1A Private so far this year. As he races more in March and April, I'm looking forward to seeing just how fast he can go!
129' 1" in Discus Throw at Quad Meet @ Rabun Gap Nacoochee, 2nd
44' 11" in Shot Put at Quad Meet @ Rabun Gap Nacoochee, 1st
Greenwood attends Rabun County, which is right on the northeast corner of Georgia next to North and South Carolina. This means he has faced his share of out-of-state competition, and he's used this to improve dramatically with his throws. Coming into the season, Greenwood had tossed the discus 118 feet and the shot put 40, but he was eliminated in sectionals in both events last year. Well, in two meets this season Greenwood has set four PBs, and this past weekend he hurled the discus over 129 feet and launched the shot nearly 45 feet. That's a 12.5% improvement in the shot put that would be the same amount of improvement as a 5:00 miler suddenly running a 4:26. He now ranks in the top 5 in both throwing events in 2A, and the sky seems to be the limit for the Wildcat senior.