Georgia Outdoor Track & Field Weekend Preview Feb 17

Cooper Timberman won at Marietta two years ago, can he win again this year?

The 2024 Georgia outdoor track and field season more or less kicks off this weekend. And there are plenty of meets to keep an eye on here. Georgia MileSplit will have coverage at three meets this weekend. Here's my weekly rundown of what to look for over the weekend.

Marietta Distance

The Marietta Distance Carnival is in it's 11th year this year which makes me feel very old. Time flies, folks. And there should be plenty of distance kids flying around the track this weekend too as this meet always produces some great competition and top results. In the boys 1600, you've got Conner Proffitt and Cooper Timberman who are both coming off strong seasons and will look to start of the year with a win. Both have been sub 4:20 already, but should also receive a challenge from Ben Winn and Noah Peters who both already have run 4:23 this season. The boys 3200 will also see the season debut of Jameson Pifer who was electrifying on the track last year as a freshman and could end up having the best sophomore track season ever by a Georgia runner if he keeps it up. He should be challenged by Winn and Drake Davis. The boys 800 has 6 guys in it that have already been under 2:00 in their careers. But it's definitely hard to run a PR in your 800m debut in February. Expect this one to be more of a tactical affair as they look to just shake some rust off. Zach Patell is the clear favorite by PR, but any of them could win it. In the girls 1600, look for Mary Nesmith to defend her home track. But she's not the only girl whose been sub 5 as Claire Petersen will also be running her debut. I expect Sophie D'Elena to also challenge for the win in this one and I'd put the winning time somewhere around 5:10. In the 3200 Maddie Jones, Anna Blaich, and Isabel Yonas are well clear of the field based on PRS. Jones and Blaich will be doubling back from the 1600 so it could be an opportunity for Yonas to come through with a win. And in the 800 we have a similar story to the boys. Nesmith and D'Elena are doubling back, but Cortney Adams will be fresh and could be trying for the upset. Expect this one to come down to the final 50m or so. 

Tiger Creek Classic

Another strong early season meet will take place at Archer high school with the Tiger Creek Classic. Woodward Academy is a strong team on both the boys and girls side and will have plenty of top talent at this meet. One of the more intriguing stories for this one is Kenyah Conner will be stepping up from her normal 400/800m distances and trying to go for a PR in the 1600. I'll be interested to see if she can come close to the 5:00 barrier, but she probably won't have much help in an attempt like that. Chelsea Williams leads entries in the 100 and 200 while Sydney Glee leads entries in the 100/300 hurdles. Glee will have tough competition from Jocelyn Baze in both races though. Madison Gardner is the top 400 runner at this meet and could make it a Woodward sweep of any distance 1 lap or less. In the throws Kijana Callwood is the top Discus seed while Christianne Akintayo is another stud in the shot put and will look to defend her home turf in both throwing events. On the boys side Elijah Thomas is probably the top athlete and will look to do well in the 400. Dylan Elder will try to break 11 in the 100, and Aaron Jones will look to put up a strong opening time in the 110 hurdles. But the race of the day will probably be the 300m hurdles as Jones and Navan McCoy have both been sub 39 and should put on quite a show. In the field Jake Taylor is the top thrower and will look to open his season with two wins. 

Hillgrove All Comers

The Hillgrove all comers has some sprint star power. In the 100 there are 3 boys who have been sub 11 before as Jonathan Owusu, Blake Williams, and Maliq Washington will face off to open the season. Owusu and Williams will double back in the 200 as the only runners in the field who have broke 22 before. Williams is also the top see in the 100m hurdles so it's possible he only faces off with Owusu in one of his races, trying for a triple at the first meet of the season would be incredibly impressive though. Alex Henry is the star of the field events for this meet with his discus throw already over 160 and shot put over 55. What will he open up with? for the girls Claire Shelton is set to make her season debut. She was sub 5 in her debut last year so don't be surprised to see her do something similar. Yolanda Brooks and Georgy Helmers should have a close race in the girls 800. But Destiny Jenkins might be the star of the meet for the girls and could come away with victories in the 100 and 200. 

Other meets on tap include Allatoona All comers where East Paulding's impressive 200m squad will kick of their season led by Keshawn Watkins while Carrollton's duo of Noah Martinson and Hagan Russell will have a friendly duel in the 1600 and/or 3200. Tahir Hines will also open up his season in the throws. At the Chapel hill all comers we will see the season debut of Nicholas Crosswhite in the High Jump and Long jump while Alisa Gordon will get her season started in the Long Jump and triple jump. And finally the Jean Charles Panther Classic will be headlined by the debut of Maurice Gleaton (and the other stud sprinters at Langston Hughes). I don't expect a PR in February, but it'll be interesting to see what he opens up with and be able to go back and compare to last year. Malachi Yehudah will also debut in the high jump.