Meet Preview: 2023 Cobb County Championships

Phillips running a US #1 time in the 100m dash

2023 Cobb County Championships Meet Preview

by Coach Gambrell

Cobb County is the one of the top counties in the state of Georgia when it comes to track and field. As a coach in Cobb County, I will admit, I am slightly biased but as the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. And if we swap pudding for trophies then we could say that the proof is in the trophies. In just the past 2 years, Cobb County teams have brought home 11 trophies from the state track meet. This is by far the most by any county with Fulton County next with 5 trophies and Gwinnett third with 3 trophies. With this being said, most coaches know that the County meet performance, whether good or bad, does not predict state meet performance. For example, in 2021, the Walton girls took 2nd at the County meet but then ended up winning the state championship later that season. While the County meet is not a true predictor of state meet results, a solid team showing at the Cobb County meet, usually means a team has potential to make some noise at the state meet. Last year, the Hillgrove girls finished 2nd at the state meet and the Marietta boys finished 1st at the state meet after both teams captured the Cobb County Championship earlier in the season. So, while this weekend will not be a complete accurate look at the end of the season, it will give us some insight into what we can expect to see come that second weekend in May!

Field Events

Pole Vault

The girls pole vault features 4 girls seeded above 10-0. The top 2 seeds are separated by only 1 inch. Julia Acker of Pope comes in as the top seed at 11-1 with Aurora Parlotto of Walker coming in seeded at 11-0, heights that both of these athletes have cleared this season. Behind these two are Cassidy Woodham of Kennesaw Mountain seeded at a 10-9 PR and 10-2 seasons best and Bella Hilleary of Harrison seeded at a 10-1 PR and 10-0 seasons best. The top 2 spots look to be a battle between Julia and Aurora but with the unpredictable nature of the pole vault, expect Cassidy and Bella to be putting the pressure on and ready to pick up the top spot should the top 2 stumble. 

When I look at the boys pole vault entries, all I can say is wow! The top 8 boys are all entered at 13-0 or better and they have all cleared those marks this season! The battle for the top spot will surely require a vault over 14-0 with the winner having the potential to break the 15-0 barrier for the first time. Connor McLain of Walton is the top seed at 14-8. Very close behind him are Will Fredrick of Marietta at 14-7, Tyler Cash of Allatoona at 14-6 and Shea Thiewes of North Cobb at 14-3. Connor and Will battled it out last year at the state meet finishing 5th and 6th respectively. Connor has to be the slight favorite though having cleared 14-11.5 this past indoor season. Tyler Cash was a 14-0 vaulter last year and finished 3rd at the 6A state meet and with a PR this season of 14-6, he is right in the mix to take the county championship back to Allatoona. 

Triple Jump

The girls triple jump features a mix of new athletes to the mix who have PR'ed this season and other athletes who will be in the mix but have not had their best jump this season. Maleah Tidwell of Campbell comes in as the top seed at 38-7. Tidwell has not jumped yet this season, but she was the 4A state champion last year while attending West Laurens HS. It is hard to know where she is at right now but her success last season puts her right in the mix to win on Saturday. Jailyn Ware of Harrison comes in with the longest jump this season at 37-0. Her next closest jump is only 30-2.5 but if Jailyn can jump to her potential this weekend, she will bring home some major points for the Hoyas. Other athletes who will factor in to the mix up top will be Megan Blanks of McEachern and the trio from Marietta of Kennedy Colbert, Alonje Hamilton and Laila-Hope Williams. Megan comes in to the meet with the 3rd best mark this season at 35-4. Of the Marietta trio, Kennedy has the best PR of 37-2 but has only jumped 35-3 this season whereas her teammate Alonje has jumped her PR of 35-11 this season which is the 3rd best mark by any athlete this season. 

The boys triple jump competition has 3 boys with the potential to break the 45-0 mark. The clear favorite has to be Marqavious Saboor of Kell. He has the best jump this season of 46-4, which almost a foot and a half further than the next competitor. The next best jump this season is by Tre'Vaughn Calhoun of Wheeler who has jumped 45-0 this season, which is also his PR. An athlete looking to get back to his old performances will be Acari Alexander of McEachern. Acari has only jumped 43-9 this season but has a PR of 45-8 from last year where he also qualified for the 7A state meet. 


The girls discus competition will be a race to see if any athlete can catch Zoie Johnson of Osborne. The 2022 6A runner up has thrown 131-0 this season which bests the field by over 12 feet. Looking to catch her will be Haleigh Cephus of McEachern, Madeline Campbell of Pope and Alayna Abrams of Marietta. All 3 of these athletes come into the meet with PR's over 100-0 that they have thrown this season. 

The boys discus competition looks to be two big hitters in Tahir Hines of Allatoona and Max Herman of Marietta. Tahir has to have the advantage as he has thrown 166-0 already this season and has a PR of 176-10. Max comes into the meet with a PR of 169-2 but has only thrown 149-4 this season due to limited outdoor competitions. He recently won the national championship in the hammer throw at both Nike Indoor Nationals and Adidas Indoor Nationals. We will have to wait and see how sharp he is in the discus this weekend. An athlete who cannot be counted out is Omer Inman of Walton. He finished 5th last year at the 7A state meet and has a PR this season of 149-4, which is the same distance that Max has thrown this year. 

High Jump

The girls high jump competition has the potential to be one of the most wide-open competitions of the meet. There is not clear favorite and the virtual meet shows 9 girls who have cleared either 5-0 or 4-10 this season. However, not all of these girls are entered as of the writing of this preview. Girls who have cleared 5-0 this season include teammates Audrey Ward and Brooklyn Bolden of North Cobb, Ebun Odelowo of Campbell, Gabriel Boboye of Lassiter, Raeya Townsend of Kennesaw Mountain and Sarah Eubank of Walton. Of these athletes, only Raeya and Brooklyn are entered as of writing the preview. Athletes who have cleared 4-10 include Halle Carden of North Cobb Christian, Jamison Ware of Campbell and Laila Thomas of Allatoona. Of these athletes, only Jamison is entered. Many factors go in to meet entries. Athletes could be injured or coaches could be holding athletes out to have them compete at the JV County Championships after Spring Break. 

The boys high jump competition is the exact opposite of the girls in that we have all of the top athletes entered in the event. 6 athletes have cleared 6-2 this season and they are all entered in the meet along with 4 more boys who have cleared 6-0 and are all entered. We could see a 1-2 sweep by the Kennesaw Mountain teammates Korbin Brown and Godsfavor Adenuga. They have cleared 6-6 and 6-4 respectively which rank them as the top 2 jumpers in the county this year. Behind them we will have 4 boys who have all cleared 6-2 this season and will be looking break up the Kennesaw Mountain sweep. Those athletes are Ife Ezegbo of Hillgrove, Jabaar Abdul-Malik of Harrison, Jacob Salters of Kell and Jalen Hilliard of McEachern. 

Long Jump

The girls long jump looks to be pretty competitive with no one athlete singling themselves out as the clear favorite. The top returner is Morgan Gordon of Hillgrove. She has jumped 17-8.5 this outdoor season but even more impressive is her 18-5 jump from the indoor season. If Morgan can eclipse the 18-0 mark on Saturday, she will be hard to beat. Gabby Key of Pope has jumped 17-7.5 this season and will look to improve upon her 5th place finish at last year's county championships. Girls having also eclipsed the 17-0 barrier this season are Kye Giddens of McEachern, Christina Joseph of Hillgrove and Akhaila Makenna of Marietta. 

In the boys long jump, there are 3 boys who have PR's over 23-0 but only 1 athlete has jumped over 23-0 this season and that is Justin Walker of Campbell. Justin comes in as the favorite after jumping 23-6 earlier this season. Isaiah Sanders and Will Fredrick of Marietta both have PR's of 23-5 and 23-0 but have not jumped that far this season. If they can find their form this weekend, I expect them to make big jumps to challenge for the championship. Korbin Brown of Kennesaw Mountain comes in with the 2nd best jump this season at 22-10.5 and cannot be counted out. All it takes is one jump and if Korbin can pop a good one and put the pressure on the rest of the field, he could see himself at the top of the podium this weekend.

Shot Put

Zoie Johnson of Osborne will look to complete the sweep in the girls throwing events. The shot put will not be as easy as the discus. Zoie comes in as the slight favorite with a put of 38-6.5 this season and a PR of 39-10. Looking to prevent Zoie from the throwing sweep will be Keeva Tracey of Walton and Alayna Abrams of Marietta. Keeva has a mark of 38-0.5 this season with Alayna close behind at 37-9. The next athlete is over a foot behind the third seed so it looks to be a battle between these three athletes for the top three spots. 

The boys shot put will be an upperclassman battle between 4 boys who are either juniors or seniors and have all thrown marks over 50-0 this season. Josh Barker comes in as the top seed with a put of 52-5 which he achieved earlier this season. Very close behind him at 52-0 is Tahir Hines of Allatoona. Tahir will be looking to complete the sweep of the throwing events as he is a top contender is both the discus and the shot put. The battle for the top spot looks to be between these two athletes as they are the only athletes in the field to have marks over 52-0. However, looking to finish high up on the podium and secure big team points will be Loa Ugokwe of Walton and Max Herman of Marietta. While neither has eclipsed the 52-0 barrier, they have both thrown 51-10 and 51-4.5. 

Running Events

100/110 hurdles

The girls 100 hurdles will be a battle of the under 15s. There are 3 girls who have broken 15.0 seconds this season. Jasmine Robinson of North Cobb leads the field at 14.49 and is only a freshman! She is not entered in the meet at the writing of this article so we will have to wait and see if she runs once entries close. Behind her is Diaman Lee of McEachern who has run 14.74 this season and Da'Nya Satterfield of Kennesaw Mountain who has run right under 15.0 at 14.97. No other athlete in the field has run within .30 seconds of these 3 so I expect there to be a gap back to 4th place.

Just like the girls short hurdles, the boys 110 hurdles looks to also be a battle of the under 15s. Daniel James of McEachern and Jorden Reddick of Marietta are the only 2 athletes who have broken 15.0 seconds. Daniel has the slight edge at 14.72 compared to Jorden's 14.94. Should either of these 2 falter, Brian Townsend of Hillgrove will be looking to strike with a PR and season's best of 15.07.


In the girls 100, Ryan Davis appears to be the class of the field. She comes into the race with a season's best 11.61 which is her non wind aided PR. This ranks her GA #1 and US #12. Taking 2nd at last years county meet, she will be looking to make the jump one place higher to the top of the podium. The only other girl in the field who has broken 12.0 seconds this season and has a chance to challenge Ryan up front is Keira Beaumont of North Cobb. Keira has run a PR this season of 11.73. 

If there is one event that has the potential to produce something special, it just might be the boys 100. Dwight Phillips of Pebblebrook comes in as the clear top seed after running a US #1 time of 10.29 last weekend at Westlake, which was also his season opener. This time also ranks him tied with Christian Coleman for 4th all-time on the state performer list. Being his second consecutive weekend racing, could he be a little sharper and ready to go under 10.20? We will have to wait and see but this is a race you will not want to miss. The all-time state record is 10.18 set by Ryan Clark of Banneker back in 2015. The race for second looks to be close with 6 other boys having broken the 11.0 barrier this season. Keyawn Spencer will look to complete the 1-2 Pebblebrook sweep as he is the second seed at 10.78.


On paper, the girls 1600 looks to be a race for 2nd place. Mary Nesmith of Marietta comes in as the top seed at 5:00 which is 13 seconds faster than the next closest competitor. Can the freshman pull off the victory in her first county meet? We will have to wait until Saturday to find out. Ella Bailey is having a great senior season after stumbling a bit as a junior. The Georgia Tech commit has run 5:13 this season and will look to break 5:10 for the first time Saturday. It would take a big PR to challenge for the win but I expect Ella to be up front early. Nora Hart of Marietta and Daniela Delgado are the only other athletes entered who have broken 5:20 this season, running 5:16 and 5:18 respectively. Daniela ran 5:09 last season so I would not be surprised to see her go to the front of the race and get out quick, looking for a new PR. 

The boys 1600 is going to be a close race. Based on times run this season, there are 5 boys all within 3.55 seconds of each other. In a distance race, this means it is anyone's race. Clint Huggins of Harrison might be considered the slight favorite with the fastest time run in the field at 4:24.93. The freshman from Harrison will be looking to establish himself as one of the top runners in the county in his first year eligible for the Varsity meet. Jared Fortenberry has the fastest PR of the field at 4:15.06 and is the defending county champ. While he has not run that this season, he will be looking to defend his county title on Saturday. Behind these two are Sterling Seiler of Harrison with a seasons best of 4:28 and a PR of 4:26. The Harrison senior has a lot of big race experience which can go a long way to calming his nerves and helping him on Saturday. Carter Spohn of Pope has the third fastest PR in the field at 4:25 but has only run 4:28 this season. He finished 4th at last year's county meet so he will be looking to improve upon that finish in his last county meet.


This is the Cobb County Championships. That means that if you cannot break 1:00 for the 400, you are probably not making the finals... and this year is no different. There are 9 athletes entered under 1:00. Freshman Jasmine Robinson of North Cobb comes in as the slight favorite after running 56.35 earlier this season. Right behind her is Yasmine Martin of South Cobb who has run 56.45. 2 other girls who will be looking to push for the top spot and have broke 58.0 seconds this season are Morgan Pruitt of Walton at 57.43 and Danielle Isom of Marietta at 57.76. Danielle was the county runner up last year with Morgan taking 4th. Both of these seniors will be looking to match or improve upon these finishes on Saturday.

The favorite in the boys 400 has to be Devin Clark of Marietta. He is the 2022 Cobb County Champion and as a senior he will be looking to defend his title and go out on top. He has already run 48.16 this season. He has a PR of 47.31 and is the only athlete in the field to have ever broken 48.0 seconds. The next closest entry is almost second behind at 49.31 in Aveion Hayes of Campbell. These two athletes are the class of the field and the only athletes under 50.0 seconds this season. After these two, there are a slew of athletes in the 50-51 second range.

300 hurdles

Like the 100 hurdles, Jasmine Robinson of North Cobb is the fastest athlete in the county this season in the 300 hurdles at 45.76 however she is not entered in the meet at the writing of this article. This leaves the top seed to be Akhalia Makenna of Marietta. Akhalia finished 3rd at last year's county meet and will look to improve upon that finish and grab some valuable team points. Grace Whalen of Lassiter is entered as the second fastest seed with a PR of 46.72. She has only ran 47.50 this season but will look to grab a new season's best and PR this weekend. Kayla Johnbull of Walton and Madison Morse of Hillgrove have run 47.36 and 47.48 respectively this season and will look to challenge for a top 3 finish.

The top seed and the top returner from last year's meet is Brian Townsend of Hillgrove. Brian finished 3rd last year and will look to end his high school career as a county champion. He enters the meet with the fastest seed time at 41.29 seconds. There are 3 other athletes entered under 42.0 seconds. They are Brian Williams of Pebblebrook, Michael Carroll of Campbell and David Buntin of Wheeler. Brian and Michael has both been under 42.0 seconds this season with Brian a distant 42.98. 


Awoleye Oluwatosin of South Cobb comes into the meet as the clear favorite at 2:12.22. This is 6 seconds faster than anyone else in the field. The South Cobb sophomore is the 2022 5A state champion in the 800 for Creekside, where she attended last year. Behind Awoleye there are only 2 other girls who have ever broken 2:20. They are Kate Curtis of Harrison and Mary Nesmith of Marietta. After these 3, the next closest athletes entered have only run 2:24 this season. I expect these 3 to make up the podium with about 4-6 girls behind them fighting for a spot in the finals and some valuable team points.

Looking at the boys 800, 2 things stand out to me. First, the clear favorite is Youssef Ashour of Lassiter who has the fastest time in the field of 1:57.92. Close behind him is Carter Spohn of Pope who has a PR of 1:59.19. These are the only 2 athletes in the field who have broken 2:00 this season. The second thing that stands out to me is the possibility of 3 Harrison boys making the finals. Harrison has 3 boys entered all at 2:01. Grayson Swingley, Seth Thompson and Bryce Brownlee will be looking to break 2:00 for the first time and garner big team points for the Hoyas.


The girls 200 will be an interesting race as we have 6 girls entered under 25.0 seconds but only 2 have broken that barrier this season. The top seed has to be Ryan Davis of Hillgrove. She comes in with a PR of 23.70 seconds that she ran earlier this season which puts her #1 in GA and #3 in the US. Her PR also puts her over 1 second ahead of the next closest finisher, which in a 200, is an eternity. Keira Beaumont of North Cobb comes in as a solid #2 seed at 24.81. Behind her, looking to pick up big team points for the Hawks are Hillgrove teammates Amare Garrett and Christina Joseph who have run 25.05 and 25.12 respectively this season. 

In the boys 200, there are 2 athletes who have run under 22.0 seconds this season and will look to battle it out for a county title this weekend. Justin Walker of Campbell and Keyawn Spencer of Pebblebrook come into the meet running 21.71 and 21.73 this season. With times this close, it is a toss up as to who will come out on top. Behind these two, there are 6-8 boys who have run low 22s and will be battling it out for a spot in the finals on Monday.


Like the girls 1600, the girls 3200 looks to be a race for 2nd. Mary Nesmith of Marietta comes in as the fastest seed at 10:57 which she ran this past weekend at Mountain View. The Walton duo of Ella Bailey and Daniela Delgado come in as the 2nd and 3rd seed having run 11:08 and 11:21 already this season. Looking to get in the mix and fight for a podium finish will be Kristal McQueen of Marietta, Gaby Osornio of Hillgrove and Nora Hart of Marietta who have all run under 11:30 either this year or last. One athlete who cannot be counted out is Reese Terza of Hillgrove. Reese finished 4th at the 7A state meet last year in a PR of 11:06. While she has not run this time this season, the potential for a top finish is still there.

The boys 3200 does not look as deep as it has been in past years but we should still have a solid race come Monday evening. Joseph Minecci of Walton has to come in as a favorite as he has run the fastest time of the season of all the athletes entered of 9:34. Close behind him is Sterling Sellier of Harrison at 9:38. No other boy in the field has broken 9:50 this season. I think part of this is due to the lack of competitive 3200s thus far so while it looks like it is a two man race up front, I expect there to be a large pack the first mile that then starts to string out the second mile. Other athletes who have to be factored in to the mix are Benny Brenneman of Pope and Jared Fortenberry of Marietta. Benny has a PR of 9:33 and finished 4th at last year's county meet. Jared has a PR of 9:14 and is the defending champion in this event but he has not raced it yet this season.