6A State Meet Recap: Alexander And Shiloh Take Home Wins

Alexander girls took home the win in the 4x800m relay.

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(Coverage continues to be updated, race videos will be uploaded all week!)

6A State Meet Recap

Girls - Alexander Sprints Past Competition

Alexander High School won their last girls track and field title in 2018, back when their current seniors were still in middle school. Since then, they had not even managed to finish in the top three. That all changed this past weekend in Carrollton as the Cougars clawed their way back on top of the podium. Alexander was led by a balanced team-you don't score 107 points by only being good at one or two disciplines. Adaejah Hodge was the standout sprinter of the meet, capturing GHSA's first sprint triple crown by finishing first in the 100, 200, and 400 with blazing speed. She was able to amazingly claim a fourth victory in the long jump by over a foot, scoring 40 points by herself! Victoria Teasley also scored well for Alexander in the sprints, securing second in the 100 and fourth in the 200. Cortney Adams won the 800 for the Cougars in 2:16.50. Alexander also had scorers in the 1600, 3200, shot put, and triple jump. To add insult to injury (for the rest of the 6A field), Alexander's relay teams finished first in the 4x200 and 4x800, the two newest GHSA additions to the state meet, as well as fourth in the 4x100. All of the relays came without the services of Hodge, so it really showed the depth of Alexander's squad. 

Carrollton High School's home field advantage helped them claim an unexpected runner-up trophy with 57 points. Though the Carrollton boys team has a storied history, the girls have just two state championships to their name from back in 2005 and 2006. They didn't win this weekend, but they did exceed expectations. Kayla Pinkard won the triple jump by a huge margin and finished second in the long jump. Jayla Gilbert and Dru Green were a power duo in the throws, combining for 19 points in those two events. For the hurdles, Kalani Witherspoon finished second in the 100 and seventh in the 300. 

Westlake, a pre-state contender for the title, ended up finishing third, but they still had some incredible performances. Jasmine Harmon ran the fastest 100-meter hurdles race of the year by a Georgia hurdler-by nearly half a second! She also won her prelim in the 300 hurdles, but she did not run in the finals. Imari Johnson scored in both the 100 and 200, and Mia McGee finished fifth in the 800. Westlake's relays nearly outperformed Alexander's. They won the 4x100, were second in the 4x200 (by a mere 0.27 seconds) and finished third in the 4x400. 

In my 6A state meet preview, I wrote that five schools had a shot at fourth place, but I forgot to include Lakeside among those teams! Individually, Kennedy Myers finished second in the 300 hurdles and fifth in the 100 hurdles, but Lakeside's 4x100 (3rd) and 4x400 (2nd) teams were the real stars. Cambridge had a balanced squad in fifth place, and they were very closely followed by Heritage, Pope, and Tucker

Performance of the Meet

Liv Bollenbacher, Cambridge: 12' 1" in Pole Vault

Of course, Adaejah Hodge should be shouted out, as she had one of the best Georgia state meets of all time with four performances that were among the best in the state while navigating all of the prelims and field events as well. However, I'd like to highlight Bollenbacher's performance because it was impressively effortless. Bollenbacher came into the state meet with the top PR in Georgia, and her OPENING attempt was at 10' 9", a point at which all but two competitors had already been knocked out. She cleared 10' 9" and 11' 3" on her first tries, then cleared 11' 9" to clinch the championship over Sequoyah's Keira Hight. Bollenbacher went for one more try at 12' 1" just for fun and cleared that on her first try, too. She then stopped, even though she was certainly capable of more. Bollenbacher certainly deserved her first state title in her senior season.

Boys: Shiloh wins Thriller

The 6A boys state meet was one of the most, if not the most, exciting meets of the weekend. The outcome was in doubt all the way until Shiloh's 4x400 team crossed the line in fourth place. Carrollton was just two points back in second place, and Heritage (Conyers) and Westlake were both within shouting distance of first as well. This was Shiloh's second-ever track and field title after they won in 2019 back when they were in 7A. Nathan Solomon led the way for the Generals by winning the 1600 and 3200 in two thrilling races. He was close to pulling off the distance triple crown, too, as he finished fourth in the 800. Shiloh also saw four separate individuals score in the two hurdle events, with Bryce Southerland leading the way by placing second in the 110-meter hurdles. Multi-discipline athlete Christion Barker finished third in the long jump, and Isaac Prince-Oyakhire finished third in the shot put. The 4x800 team finished second, but it was Shiloh's 4x400 team that clinched the title with a fourth-place finish of 3:19.30, which covered Carrollton's last surge after Carrollton finished in second place in the 4x400.

Carrollton should be proud of the way they put up a very impressive 71 points without any runners finishing in the top 2 of any running events. Amare Hall won the long jump with a massive 24' 9.25" leap and also finished fourth in the triple jump. Kareem Nazim won the pole vault by clearing 15 feet even. Jaden Wolf finished fifth and sixth in the 300 and 110 hurdles, respectively. Carrollton scored a total of 23 points in the 100, 200, and 400, led by Jaylen Marsh's third-place finish (in 47.67) in the 400. They likely could have won the state championship, but their anchor leg on the 4x200 fell with an injury as Carrollton was fighting for the lead on the final turn. Carrollton returns many of their contributors next year, and you can bet that they will be hungry to regain the title.

Heritage High School in Conyers held off Westlake for third with 60 points. They were led by sprinter Rashun Fountain, who finished second in the 100 and avenged his defeat to Eric Young by winning the 200. Fountain did it all with a second-place finish in the long jump as well. Heritage's 4x100 (with Fountain) finished first, and their 4x200 team (without Fountain, but with four speedy sprinters all the same) finished second. 

Westlake is a successful program as well, and they finished fourth, just one point out of third, with 59 points. Sidi Njie has a chance to be a very, very special sprinter after his freshman season ended with a state title in the 400 (in 46.41!) and a runner-up time in the 200, the third-fastest 200 run in Georgia this year. Malik Mixon also cleaned up in the hurdles with wins in the 110 and 300 hurdles, the latter event placing him seventh all time in GA. 

Allatoona finished in fifth, led by sprinter Eric Young who finished in the top three in the 100, 200, and 400. Buford, a pre-race contender to win it all, settled for sixth after sprinters Isaiah Bond and Tobi Olawole appeared to not run at all at the state meet. However, Buford picked up a good number of points in the hurdles and field events. Pope and East Paulding filled out the rest of the top eight.

Performance of the Meet

Eric Young, Allatoona: 10.39 in 100m

There were so many good choices for the Performance of the Meet, many of which were mentioned above. However, Young deserves an extra shout-out because he certainly saved the best for last in what was already a very impressive season. Young entered the state meet with a PR of 10.61 in the 100. After the state meet, that time would rank outside the top eight for 6A alone! Young peaked at the absolutely best time, running a PR in the prelims in 10.44 before shocking the field with a 10.39 in the finals. Oh, Young also ran PRs in the 200 and 400 as well. He's now a top 5 runner in Georgia in all three events, and only sensational races from Rasun Fountain and Sidi Njie prevented Young from being the first male athlete to win the sprint triple crown. 

Don't forget to vote for the Boys and Girls performers of the week!