Jakayla Campbell winning the 100m hurdles at Archer earlier this year. She's the favorite to win again on Saturday
GA Spring Break Showdown Meet Preview
The GA Spring Break Showdown has grown to be one of the more competitive meets of the season. Many teams are coming off their county championships and are looking for one more meet before they send their athletes off to spring break. The weather looks to be a little windy on Saturday but the competition will be fierce nonetheless.
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The girls long jump features 3 athletes seeded over 18-0. Lexi Kurtz of Marist is the slight favorite with a jump this season of 18-3.75. Right behind her is the Cherokee County champion, Gabrielle Crane of Etowah who has jumped 18-1.75 this season. Georgia Tech commit, Kelsey Chambers of Westminster has a PR of 18-9.25 which ranks her 2nd among the athletes entered but has only jumped 17-9.5 this season. With her PR a foot further than her season's best, the potential is definitely there for her to mix it up on the podium and potentially find herself on the top of the podium Saturday.
The boys long jump looks like it is a competition for 2nd place. Justin Walker of Campbell comes in to the meet fresh off his Cobb County Championship victory where he jumped 24-0, which is almost a foot and a half further than the next closest competitor. County championships tend to bring out the best in athletes so we will have to wait and see if Walker can hit the same form on Saturday. If he should falter. Korbin Brown of Kennesaw Mountain and Lee Niles of Brookwood will be looking to grab the top spot. Both athletes have jumped over 22-0 this season. Brown was runner up to Walker this past weekend at Cobb County Championships. Niles has not jumped over 22-0 this season so he will look to regain his previous form heading in to post season.
The girls high jump competition will have 6 girls entered at 5-0 or higher with the top 2 seeds being entered at 5-4 . The Westminster duo of Janine Horst and Kelsey Chambers are both entered at 5-4 but have only cleared 5-2 this season. Raeya Townsend of Kennesaw Mountain, Abel Starks of AIS, Landyn Williams of Mill Creek and Genae Horst of Westminster all have PRs of 5-0 and have cleared either 4-10 or 5-0 this season. In an event that can be somewhat unpredictable, I can see any combination of these athletes finishing on the podium Saturday.
In the boys long jump, we will see a matchup of the Cobb County Champion vs Fulton County Champion vs Atlanta Public Schools Champion vs. Gwinnett County Runner Up. Korbin Brown of Kennesaw Mountain is the top seed at 6-6 and is the Cobb County Champion. Right behind him is Jaylen Nelson of Roswell who is the Fulton County Champion and has cleared 6-5 this season. 1 inch behind Nelson is Allan Smith of North Atlanta who is coming fresh off his victory at the Atlanta Public Schools Championships. Gwinnet County Runner Up Elijah Milner will be looking to keep Gwinnet County in the mix having cleared 6-2 this season. In total, there are 8 athletes entered at 6-2 or higher and another 3 entered at 6-0. The podium spots look to be between Brown, Nelson and Smith but after that, it is a toss-up for the remaining points.
The girls shot put will feature the Cobb County Champion vs. the Cherokee County Champion vs. the Forsyth County Champion. Cobb County Champion Zoie Johnson of Osborne leads the field with a mark of 39-10 and close behind her is Cherokee County Champion Kyndal McKinney of Woodstock at 39-8. Forsyth County Champion Karlie Kandul is a couple feet behind them at 37-2. Looking to break up the champion trio will be Tia Roberson of Mays who has a mark of 39-7.25 from a couple weeks ago.
The boys shot put has a clear favorite in Phillips Moore of Westminster. Moore has the top mark in the state at 59-10.25 which ranks him 19th in the nation. This mark puts him over 6 feet ahead of the next closest competitor. That competitor is Max Herman of Marietta who has a PR this season of 53-5 and is coming off a runner up finish this past weekend at the Cobb County Championships. The final competitor entered over 50-0 is Patrick Gardner of Cedartown who has a mark this season of 53-3. After these 3 athletes, the next closest entry is 48-11. It looks like these 3 will battle it out for podium spots but we will have to wait until Saturday to see what the finish order will be.
In the girls triple jump, it looks like it is Maleah Tidwell's competition to lose. The Cobb County Champion from Campbell is coming in to the meet fresh off a 39-5 mark which led her to victory. The next closest athlete this season is over a foot behind Tidwell at 38-4.25 and that is Adrianna Pelham of Mill Creek. I expect these to athletes to be battling it out for the top spot as they are the only athletes this season to clear the 38-0 barrier.
In the boys triple jump, JZ Achindu of Marist comes in as the top seed at 46-5. Right behind him, and has to be considered a co-favorite is Luke Stradley of Etowah who is seeded 1 inch behind Achindu at 46-4. Achindu is coming off a victory at the Metro Championships while Stradley is coming fresh off a victory at the Cherokee County Championships. These 2 athletes are the only athletes in the field who have jumped over 46-0 this season with the next closest competitors almost a foot behind.
Sequoyah senior Keira Hight leads the girls pole vault by almost a foot with a PR of 12-4 which helped her secure a victory at the Cherokee County Championships this past weekend. Looking to chase Hight to new heights, and PRs will be Madison Townsend of Westminster who comes in with a PR of 11-6, Ansley Cho of Marist with a PR of 11-0 and Megan Fergusson of Lambert with a PR of 11-0. These 4 athletes are the only athletes entered who have cleared 11-0 this season so I expect it to be these 4 battling it out for a podium finish Saturday.
The boys pole vault is headlined by home team favorite Will Fredrick of Marietta. Fredrick won the Cobb County Championships this past weekend with a PR of 16-0. He is currently the top vaulter in the state and tied for 16th nationally. Looking to find his 2022 form will be Zane Gibson of Etowah. Zane has a PR of 15-6 but has only cleared 14-6 this outdoor season after clearing 15-9 during indoors. Etowah is in 6A now but these two battled it out last year at the 7A state meet with Gibson getting the best of Fredrick.
Zoie Johnson of Osborne is also the favorite in the discus and will look to add a gold medal in the discus to a gold medal she could potentially claim in the shot put. She comes in as the top seed by almost 20 feet at 136-6 which she threw this past weekend to win the Cobb County Championships. Looking to grab a podium spot will be Cherokee County Champion Kyndal McKinney of Woodstock who comes in with a PR of 118-1 and Haleigh Cephus of McEachern who has a seasons best of 115-11 and finished runner up to Johnson this past weekend. These 3 athletes are the only athletes in the field to have thrown over 115-0 and are 6+ feet further than the next closest competitors.
In the boys discus, the clear favorite has to be Phillips Moore of Westminster who is also the clear favorite in the shot put. Moore has a PR of 164-2 and recently finished 3rd at the FSU Relays. Chasing him will be Max Herman of Marietta. Herman has a PR of 164-2 but he has only thrown 149-4 this season. He did compete in the weight throw during indoor season so he will look to improve upon his seasons best as he rounds in to form for discus post season.
The girls 100m hurdles will feature 6 athletes with PRs under 15.0 seconds but only 3 of those athletes have broken 15.0 seconds this season. Fulton County runner up Jakayla Campbell of Banneker is the slight favorite with a PR and seasons best of 14.38 this past weekend. 2022 3A state champion Grace Smith of Westminster comes in with a PR of 14.43. She opened her hurdle season this past weekend at the FSU Relays where she ran 14.87. I expect she will be sharper this weekend and will look to push Campbell for the top spot. Da'Nya Satterfield is a big podium threat after finishing runner up this past weekend at the Cobb County Championships.
In the boys 110m hurdles, we could see a 1-2 sweep by teammates Jeremiah Carroll and Bontavius Weems of Mays, which would be a replay of the APS Championships this past weekend where they went 1-2. They come in with the top seed at 14.63w and 14.94. Grayson Willis of Fannin County will look to grab the final podium spot. He is entered at 14.99 and is the only other athlete entered under 15.0 seconds
Grace Smith of Westminster is the clear favorite in the girls 100 meter dash. She comes in as the only athlete to have broken the 12.0 second barrier with a PR of 11.78. Behind her and looking to challenge for the win will be Ne'Yonnah Davis of South Gwinnett and Amina Jabbie of Lambert. These two athletes come in to the meet with PRs of 12.05 and 12.06 but they have not ran those times this season. The next fastest athlete entered based on seasons bests is Zino Edet of Etowah at 12.14.
The boys 100 meter dash features 4 boys have run under 10.90 this season. Carl Murray of North Atlanta comes in as the top seed after winning the APS Championships this past weekend in 10.64. Chasing him will be Harlem Diamond of Cedartown who won the Polk County Championships in 10.71. Malachi Kadle of Midtown and Tywan Royal of Norcross will be looking to grab a final podium spot after running 10.87 and 10.88 respectively this season.
The girls 1600 is shaping up to be a who's who of distance athletes from the metro area and might be the most competitive 1600 we have seen so far this season. 7 girls are seeded under 5:10 with the top 2 seeds under 5:00. Palmer Walstad of Westminster and Hannah Schemmel of St. Pius lead the field seeded at 4:55 and 4:56 respectively. While they have not run those times yet this season, Walstad has run 5:03 this season and Schemmel is coming off of a 11:01 3200 performance this past weekend at the Metro Championships where she finished 2nd. Looking to make it a private school sweep will be Ruby Little of Marist. Ruby has run 5:08 and 11:01 this season so I expect her to be up front and battling for a podium finish the whole way. My favorite to break up the private school sweep is Jewel Wells. The Mill Creek sophomore is having quite the track season. After a 21st place finish at the state cross country meet, Jewel has built on that momentum establishing herself as one of the top runners in the entire state. She comes into the meet with PRs of 5:13 and 11:11 that she ran this past weekend at the Gwinnett County championships. Her 11:11 led her to be the Gwinnett County Champion!
The boys 1600 is one of the more competitive events of the meet. There are 11 boys seeded un 4:25 with the top 5 seeds under 4:20. The favorite has to be Joe Sapone of Holy Innocents. The UNC commit has already run 4:09 this season but with no competition. With an 800 PR of 1:52.69, if the field lets him go early, Sapone will be hard to catch. Andrew Balogh of Etowah is someone who might be able to match the speed of Sapone. He has an 800 PR of 1:54 and ran 4:15 this past weekend at the Cherokee County Championships where he finished 2nd. North Atlanta senior, Sumner Kirsch, is another athlete who will look to mix it up at the front heading in to the final lap. He has run 1:55 and 4:19 this season and has an overall PR of 4:17.30 which shows he has the ability to grab a podium spot. One athlete who is on the outside looking in is Jared Fortenberry. He has a PR of 4:15 but he has not run that yet this season. However, he is coming off of a Cobb County Championships where he won the 1600 and the 3200 and anchored his teams 4x800 to a gold medal. He will be looking to use this momentum heading into the weekend to defend his home track.
The girls 400m dash has 2 girls who have broken 58 seconds this season. Kaylin Jackson of Banneker is the slight favorite after running 56.86 at the Archer Invitational earlier this season. Behind her is Camille Williams of North Atlanta who ran 57.29 this past weekend to win the APS Championships. My favorite to upset the whole field is Oluwatosin Awoleye of South Cobb. She has run 58.12 this season but her more impressive performance came this weekend in the 800 where she ran 2:07.84 to win the Cobb County Championships. This time ranks her #2 in the nation and is the 4th in the all time list for the state.
William Gituku of Wesminster is the favorite in the boys 400. He has run 48.26 this season and is only 1 of 2 boys entered who have gone under 50.0 seconds. The other boy under 50.0 seconds is Christopher Coleman of South Gwinnett who ran 49.61 this past weekend at the Gwinnett County Championships to finish 4th. Sidney Reynolds of North Atlanta looks to grab the final podium spot. He has a PR of 48.54 but has only run 50.09 in his one race this season.
In the girls 800, Sophie D'Elena of Decatur comes in with the fastest seed time at 2:15.65 which she ran a few weeks ago. She has sub 1:00 400 speed and 5:05 1600 strength so she will be hard to beat on Saturday. Looking to double back from the 400 and claim a victory in the 800 is Kaylin Jackson of Banneker. Due to the size of the meet, there should be enough rest time. With Jackson's 56.86 speed in the 400, we will have to wait and see if she has the strength to hold on the last 150m. Macy Felton of Brookwood comes in to the meet with a PR of 2:17. She has run 2:19 this season along with a 5:06 1600m PR. She is only entered in the 800 this weekend so with fresh legs, she will be looking for a lifetime PR and the win.
In the boys 800, there is no clear favorite. I see this being a battle between Andrew Balogh of Etowah, Willem Mandel of Westminster and Conner Robbins of Archer. All come in with PRs under 1:55. Balogh has only run 1:57 this season but with a 1:53 PR, he can never be counted out. Mandel and Robbins have both run 1:54 so they seem to be a little sharper than Balogh. Either way I expect it to be these three pushing near the front heading in to the second lap.
The girls 200m podium looks to be a battle between Grace Smith of Westminster, Yasmine Martin of South Cobb and Janai Jones of Brookwood. All 3 girls have broken 25.0 this season. Smith leads the field with a PR of 24.43 that she ran at the beginning of the season. Yasmine Martin come into the meet fresh off a PR of 24.56 at the Cobb County Championships and Janai Jones ran 24.62w this past weekend to finish 4th at the Gwinnett County Championships. After these 3 athletes, we have a slew of girls in the 25.0-26.0 second range that will be looking to sneak under 25.0 for the first time and grab a podium spot.
The boys 200 could be swept by the Campbell duo of Justin Walker and Aveion Hayes. Walker comes in as the top seed at 21.12 which he ran this past weekend to win the Cobb County Championships. Hayes has a PR of 21.58 but has only run 22.44 in his only 200 of the season. He finished 2nd in the 400 this past weekend at the Cobb County Championships and will be looking to carry this momentum into Saturday and dip under the 22.0 second barrier once again. Looking to break up the 1-2 Campbell sweep is Carl Murray or North Atlanta. He has run 21.59 this season to go along with 10.64 in the 100. He is not only a favorite to break up the sweep but could find himself at the top of the podium as well.
Palmer Walstad of Westminster leads the field as the favorite and the only girl entered who has broken 11:00. Anna Blaich of Decatur, Lottie Chappell of North Springs and Kate Selover of Marist look to lead the charge for a podium spot and a win as they have all run between 11:10 and 11:20. The next closest athlete is entered at 11:36 so I expect this to be a 4 girl race early on.
Joe Sapone of Holy Innocents will look to double back in the 3200 and add to a potential gold medal from the 1600. He has run 9:03 already this season and will look to break the 9:00 barrier for the first time. Looking to follow Sapone to a fast time will be Joseph Jacquot of Westminster, Dru Moore of Etowah, Ben Bergey of South Forsyth and Tommy Latham of Marist. All of these athlete have either run 4:22 or faster in the 1600 and/or under 9:20 for the 3200 already this season. I expect this race to be fast and the pack to stay together for a while. If the weather cooperates on Saturday, then we could see more than 1 sub 9:00 performance.