(Coverage continues to be updated, race videos will be uploaded all week!)
2A State Meet Recap
Girls - Oglethorpe County Repeats
The Oglethorpe County girls captured their second straight track and field title after winning their first-ever title in 2021. They were able to do so by an incredibly dominant showing of their depth across a wide range of events; the 100 and the 3200 were the only events in which no Oglethorpe County girl managed to score points. That's right, the Patriots scored in 16 out of a possible 18 events! Oglethorpe had an especially impressive performance in the relays, where they placed third in the 4x100, first in the 4x200, first in the 4x400, and second in the 4x800. On the individual level, Oglethorpe was led by Kenzie Henderson, who won the high jump with a leap of 5' 4" and the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 45.16 seconds. Sydnie Henderson and Lizzie Wadsworth also went 1-2 in the 800 meters, and Sydnie Henderson also was runner-up in the 400.
As expected, Pace Academy and Towers had a very close battle for second place that came down to the final event of the meet. Pace racked up all 79 of their points in the distance events, relays, and jumps. Caroline Hood pulled off the 1600-3200 double, making it look easy with times of 5:02.72 in the 1600 and 11:02.30 in the 3200. Her closest competitor in both events was teammate Laura Arenth, who took home 16 individual points of her own with runner-up finishes in both events. Kate Jonas finished in the top 4 in both events for good measure. Brooke Fung Chung scored important points in the high jump and long jump, and these individual athletes all contributed to a great performance in the 4x800 (champs) and 4x400 (runners-up).
Towers had a fine meet as well, scoring 75 points, which would have been enough to win in the 2A boys' meet. Serenity Harry and Catherine Forbes swept the top two spots in both the 100 and the 200, and Forbes also took the victory in the 400 meters as well. Unfortunately for the Titans, their 4x400 team did not qualify for the state meet, so they could only watch as Pace scored second in that event to clinch the team state runner-up title.
Bremen clinched the fourth spot over Vidalia with a balanced team attack led by pole vaulter Noelle Hambrick, who out-jumped her competition by 15 inches. The Bremen 4x200 team also secured eight points. Vidalia, Dade County, Lovett, and Bleckley Counted rounded out the rest of the top eight teams.
Performance of the meet
Chambers entered her senior season as a seasoned shot putter, having already placed third in the state meet as a junior. Throughout her senior season, however, she managed to improve with nearly every meet, and she eventually broke the 40-foot mark with a dominant performance at region 6-2A. At the state meet, she threw a PB mark of 40' 8.5", winning by nearly two feet and cementing herself as one of the very best shot putters in Georgia. In the process, she took down Laney's Sinclaire Fryer, who was undefeated in the shot put heading into the state meet.
Boys - Pace Academy Also Repeats
Pace Academy made it back-to-back state titles for their boys' track and field team, winning by nine points over a very game Vidalia squad. Like their girls' team, the Pace boys were led by their distance runners and the longer relays, but they also had a top sprinter in John Catherman. Catherman was able to get second place in both the 100 and the 200. The Pace boys also started the meet strong with a championship by 10 seconds in the 4x800, and they ended it with a runner-up finish in the 4x400. Edward Blaha wrapped up an excellent high school running career with second-place finishes in both the 1600 and the 3200. George Blaha was able to score nine points across the 1600 and 3200 as well, running season bests in both events before he and Edward take their talents to Columbia University in the fall. With great showings in the 3200 and 4x400, Pace stormed back to take the team crown after a valiant effort by Vidalia.
Vidalia's 64 points weren't quite enough to bring home their second ever boys' track & field state championship, but they exceeded expectations, nonetheless. Interestingly, Vidalia did not score any points in the pure running events, but they accumulated many across the hurdles, relays, and jumps. Camron Glasper jumped 6' 4" in the high jump, and Hunter Manning won the pole vault by the slimmest of margins over Rashaud Burden on tiebreaks. Jahlyn Madison won third place in both hurdle events, Brandon Beasley achieved fourth in both the triple and long jumps, and Vidalia's short relays did the rest. They still had a shot going into the 4x400, but they needed to outscore Pace by at least three points and only managed to get seventh in that relay.
Model managed to get third place, just ahead of Oglethorpe County, largely on the strength of Simon Schabort's incredible triple crown in the distance events (more on that below), winning the 800 (1:56.30), 1600 (4:12.65), and 3200 (9:04.03), all against very good competition. Oglethorpe County had quite a good meet to score 48.5 points, led by Michael Fleming in the 110 hurdles and triple jump and by KB Bonds in the throws. Putnam County, Swainsboro, and Washington County all finished within 2 points of each other in the battle for fifth, and Towers rounded out the top eight with 27 points.
Performance of the meet
Simon Schabort, Model: 9:04.03 in 3200m
Before 2021, the distance triple crown was not possible as the state meet only allowed runners to compete in two individual running events, and Schabort was possibly the first athlete in GA history to pull it off this weekend. After running in the 4x800, the 800 prelims, the 1600, and the 800 finals, Schabort had one final challenge to complete the sweep: the 3200, which shaped up to be a battle between himself and Edward Blaha, the two-time XC state champion and top Georgia finisher at RunningLane this past year, who owned a PR of 9:09.45 in this event. Schabort went out with Blaha's quick pace and kicked past him in the last lap to finish with a time of 9:04.03, and he was able beat Blaha by one second in a classic race to clinch the distance triple.