Nadia Lee from Dutchtown will look to defend his 5A 110m hurdles title this year
This week we're going to preview the upcoming track and field seasons for each GHSA Classification. We've got the boys and girls projected team scores and season previews below for class 5A.
Boys Team Scores
|1||Dutchtown High School||73.5||10||4||18||0||13||28|
|2||Decatur High School||72.5||10||3||0||41||18||0|
|3||Heritage High School||48.5||0||10||2||4||24||8|
|8||Jones County High School||33.5||0||17||0||0||16||0|
|9||Statesboro High School||23.5||0||15||0||0||8||0|
|10||Chattahoochee High School||20||0||0||0||20||0||0|
|12||Chapel Hill High School||19.5||2||4||0||6||6||1|
|14||Jefferson High School||17||8||8||0||1||0||0|
Sprints - Without a doubt, the 5A Championships boys 100 meter race is going to the wire. The top three returners by time are Kamron Mikell (10.50), Zion Ragins (10.53), and Quacy Virgo (10.67). Mikell and Ragins are both juniors and are both top ten overall returners in the state. While Mikell placed third in the 6A state finals, Ragins is the defending 5A state champion. Ragins is going to have new faces to compete against and defending the state title will be even more difficult, in what might be one of the deepest 100 meter fields in the state. In the 200 meter, Michael Simmons leads the field with a 21.32 and he is the defending 5A state champion. Taye Seymore has the second best returning time with a 21.56 followed by Ragins and Mikell who both have personal bests of 21.69. Virgo is the 5th best returner with a 21.78. We will see if the Middle Tennessee State commit can follow in the footsteps of his former Heritage High School teammate, Rashun Fountain, who had a major jump from his junior year and was able to secure his spot as one of the all time best Georgia athletes in the 200 meter. Sammy Brown of Jefferson High School is another name to keep an eye on in the short sprints (10.70 and 21.82). As for the 400 meter, once again, Simmons leads the field with his impressive 47.80 from Wingfoot Night of Champions. He is currently the 5th overall best 400 meter returner in the state. He will face competition from Ian Hoge (48.84), Daiquan White (49.59), and teammate Jaden Dix (49.60) who are the only other sub 50 second returners in the classification.
Hurdles - Dutchtown's Nasia Lee is entering this track season as "The Man" in the Georgia 110 meter hurdle scene. Lee is the #1 overall returner with his 13.79 finish from Wingfoot Night of Champions where he finished second to Georgia legend, Malik Mixon. As if that was not impressive enough, Lee is also the defending 5A state champion in the 110 meter hurdles. While Lee has prove himself to be one of the best in the 110 hurdle game, he ranks second in his class and seventh overall in returning 300 hurdle times with a 39.79. Jadon Thomason of Calhoun ran 39.01 in the 5A state championship prelims as a sophomore. Thomas has a fast 110 meter hurdle teammate as well. Dustin Kerns ran 14.98 last season. The only other sub 15 second returner in 5A is Caesare Giles who also ran 14.98. Definitely worth mentioning Dominick Lawshea who ran 39.80 last season.
Distance - The Decatur boys told me during the cross country season that even though they ran some strong races in cross country, the state of Georgia really needed to watch out for them in track. The Distance Dawgs have a point as they lead all three distance events based on returning times. Starting off with the 800 meter, we have Jake Westing leading the field with a 1:56.47. Even though Jake would consider himself to be a more middle distance oriented athlete, he had a strong cross country season that included a second overall finish in the 5A State Championship on the difficult Carrollton course. Jake will have to use his speed and endurance to win the state championship in the 800, and he will not be alone. Other names to look out for include Jeremiah Alibey (1:56.87), Jabari Bempah (1:57.67), and Devin Tabourn (1:57.92). Also, watch out for Jake's teammate, Ben Markham. Markham has had a good indoor campaign. He was more of a 200/400 specialist last season. He recently ran a 1:57.01. His previous personal best was a 2:06.63. Moving on to the 1600 meter and 3200 meter races, William "Billy" Carlton leads both of those races with a very impressive 4:12.89 and 9:20.85. While Carlton has the best times on paper, Diego Santiago, is absolutely going to be brining the fight. Santiago has personal bests of 4:21.22 and 9:32.57. He is the third best returner in the 1600 and second best in the 3200. He ran an excellent cross country season which included a 15:05.75 personal best and was the 5A State Championship individual champion. Based on his cross country times, we should definitely see improvements in his track times. Jake Westing is definitely a contender in the 1600 with the second best returning time at 4:18.63. Chamblee duo William Elder (4:22.47 and 9:33.53) and Matthew Coates (4:28.48 and 9:35.55) as well as Santiago's teammate, Chris Connolly (4:23.11) are among other names to watch out for. Keep an eye on some of the Clarke Central runners who had some runners finish in the podium at the state cross country championship, and almost upset Decatur.
Jumps and Pole Vault - Future decathlete in the making, Dylan Faulkner is the defending 5A state champion in the high jump with a 6-10 jump. While Faulkner's best event is the high jump, he is very competitive in other events as well including pole vault where he is the 5A leader and defending state champion with that event with a personal best of 15-0. Jordan Frank is the defending 5A runner-up in pole vault and he has a personal best of 14-6. The long jump appears to have some significant team point implications as Davarri Barthell of Dutchtown is the current leader with 23-6.75 jump. Kenric Lanier of Decatur High School is the second best returner at 22-5. Triple Jump has even returning bests with Evan Garrett and Jaiden Terry both having personal bests of 44-2.5. Chamblee's Nathan Jovanovic is not far off at 44-1.
Throws - Emorrie Foskey of Winder Barrow High School is the defending 6A runner-up in shot put where he had a personal best of 52-5. That mark will make him the #1 returner in 5A has his school changed classifications. Dutchdown's Lamone Hill Jr. is not far off of Foskey with a 52-1 personal best. Speaking of Dutchtown, Christian Dixon, is the #1 returner in discus with a personal best of 161-3. He placed 4th in last year's 5A State Championship with a 159-4 mark. Following him is Foskey at 159-2 and Vic Burley of Warner Robbins at 158-1.
Team Projections - The main teams to watch out for are going to be Decatur, Dutchtown, and Calhoun. If Decatur runs to their full potential in the distance events, it is going to be very difficult for any team in the state to catch up to them. They also have added depth in the jumps with Kenric Lanier and return three of four members of their 4x200 team that placed third overall in 5A last year. Dutchtown and Calhoun are in similar situations, in which they are strongest in the hurdle events and field events. Should be a very interesting team battle and we will see who wins it all.
Girls Team Scores
|1||Maynard H. Jackson High School||82.5||0||8||10||26||18||20|
|2||Decatur High School||45.11||32||0||0||0||13||0|
|4||Greater Atlanta Christian||35||12||20||0||0||3||0|
|5||Eagle's Landing High School||34||0||6||14||9||5||0|
|8||Chattahoochee High School||31||0||14||7||0||10||0|
|10||Arabia Mountain HS||29||0||13||0||3||13||0|
|13||Northview High School||24||1||0||5||18||0||0|
|15||Union Grove HS||22||0||0||0||6||7||9|
Sprints - Nia Wilson was the best sprinter in 3A last season, and now she looks to be the best sprinter in 5A. Last season, the Purdue University commit was able to peak perfectly and won state championships in both the 100 meter and 200 meter with personal records of 11.66 and 24.03. Both of those marks make her the #1 returner in 5A and a top five overall returner. Interestingly, Wilson will have to face off against the defending runner-up and bronze medalist from last year's 5A State Championship 100 meter final. Destiny Jenkins (12.05) and Mary Rozier (12.11) both set personal bests in the final. In the 200 meter, the next fastest times after Wilson are Jordyn Parker (24.12) and Kaseiana Meriweather (24.89). Parker is the defending 5A State Champion in the 200 meter. This 200 meter race should be one of the more epic sprint races in the state! Parker is also very talented at the 400 meter and has a personal best of 56.25 and she placed third in last year's state championship. Joining along side Parker in what should be a very competitive race is Madison Gardner (54.93) and Gabrielle Dandridge (55.69). Gardner has the #2 overall returning 400 meter time in the state. Her most impressive win last year was at Wingfoot Night of Champions where she set her personal best. She is also the defending 5A state champion. Gardner is a very consistent athlete and ran sub 55 an impressive four times last season.
Hurdles - The only girl who has broken the 15 second mark in the 100m hurdles is Banneker's Jakayla Campbell who went 14.49 last season. 300 hurdles I currently led by Danayja Harper who was a runner-up in last years state championship with an impressive personal best of 43.10. Last year's 6A 4th place finisher, Celeania Rollerson, will help amp up the competition. She has a personal best of 43.72 from her state championship prelims.
Distance - "The Freshman Phenom" now "Super Sophomore," Oluwatosin Awoleye of Creekside, returns to 5A competition with the #1 800 meter time at 2:12.98. She will be eyeing to win her first state championship as she was awfully close in last year's final. 0.08 seconds close. Joining Awoleye is 3A bronze medalist, Morgan Collins (2:14.56). Lottie Chappell of North Springs is also a contender at 2:16.38. Chappell is actually the defending 5A champion in the 1600 meter race. She won her state championship by a considerable margin and also got a victory in the "Wingfoot Mile" in 4:59.88. She is the #4 overall returner in the state at that event. Following Chappell in 5A is Jamie Marlowe who ran 5:03.17. Now, we cannot forget the 5A cross country champions, "Distance Dawgs" Decatur High School. Gabriella Malerba won the 5A cross country championship, and has personal best in the 1600 and 3200 of 5:05.62 and 11:11.10. Teammate, Anna Blaich, has a personal best of 11:10.01. She is the fastest 5A 3200 returner. Freshman, Grace Danser, who was a runner-up in the 5A cross country championship will contend for a state championship in the distance events as well.
Jumps and Pole Vault - Statestboro's Azziza Flowers has the best 5A high jump personal best at 5-6. She placed 4th in the 6A state championship final. In the hunt to contend for that state title is Julia Versluis (5-4) and Dee McNair (5-3). Versluis has been competing this indoor season and recently tied her personal best. Moving on to the horizontal jumps, Mary Rozier is the favorite in the long jump. Rozier placed 4th in last year's state championship final. She did jump a wind aided 19-1.25 at a post-season event. Most recently, she jumped 18-10 at an indoor event. Naomi Johnson is the favorite in the triple jump with a returning mark of 36-9.5. Layla Keadle who won last year's 5A pole vault state championship returns. She has a personal best of 12-2.25 from Wingfoot Night of Champions. She recently placed second at the Georgia Indoor Pole Vault State Championships in 11-8.
Throws - Nyla Wilson of Eagle's Landing High School leads discus with a personal best of 124-5 from last year's 5A state championship. She has been competing well this indoor season where she set a new personal best of 42-10.75 in the weight throw. Kayley Bednarek (122-6) is her closest competitor at the moment, and the only other girl who has broken the 120 mark. Bednarek is the 5A leader in shot-put where she went 38-7.5 to placed fourth in last year's state championship. Following her is Jamyiah Walker who went 38-2 last season. Maynard H. Jackson will look to get some key team points from Jakayla Arnold who has a personal best of 37-8.5.
Team Projections - If you have made it this far into this in-depth analysis of the 5A season than you have earned yourself a state championship. Anyhow, the girls team that appears to be the strongest is Maynard H. Jackson. Meriweather and Arnold will look to contribute in their respective events. They also return members from their 4x100 and 4x200 meter relay teams which both won their state championship finals last season. Decatur is also in the hunt with their talented distance squad. Watch out for North Springs, Greater Atlanta Christian, Banneker, and Eagle's Landing. It will be an excellent competition in Columbus! We are excited to see you all there.