2024 GHSA 1A Boys And Girls State Track & Field Meet Preview

Ella Gibbs will probably be a big point scorer this weekend in Rome

Wow. I can't believe it's already the state meet week. The regular season kind of comes in a few different phases and all of them seem like a whirlwind in different ways. We start off with the indoor season which already has plenty of question marks as you never know who is going all in on indoor and who is saving it for outdoor. So each elite performance seems like a fun surprise. Then we move on to the regular outdoor season where you never know what you're gonna get in terms of weather but it seems like everybody is just competing all of the time. Results are pouring in and elite performances are found all over the place. But then championship season brings with it a whole new vibe as teams try to get as many athletes as they possibly can through the rounds and to the state meet. Region and Sectionals always have their casualties as this sport is built on multiple rounds of qualification, and managing those rounds is a part of it at all levels. It's not who can run the fastest, jump the highest, or throw/jump the farthest in one effort, championship season is about managing those rounds and being able to perform consistently so that you can show the best of yourself at the state meet.

After the meets last weekend, the 1A Virtual meets are updated to reflect the sectional results. So now that we know who all is competing at the GHSA 1A Division 1 and GHSA 1A Division 2 State Championships, let's focus on what we're going to see at these meets. Don't forget to check the meet hub all week as it gets updater through the end of the weekend with our full coverage!

State Meet Hub

Boys 1A Division 1 Team Race

Well this one looks like a two horse race for the championship. Darlington and Athens Christian appear to be significantly ahead of everybody else in the chase for the team title. Both teams appear to have plenty of athletes at the meet and are spread out over a variety of events. Trying to predict who is the best bet here is probably pointless. In some ways Darlington looks to be the slight favorite based on sectional results, but then based on season PR it looks like Athens is slightly stronger. I've seen meets like this before and it'll just come down to whoever is more rested, healthier, or ultimately gutsier over the course of 3 days. Both teams figure to score large amounts of points in the distance, jumps, sprints, and relays. So with that much overlap, there's not telling what will happen. 

As for the other two podium spots? That's also fairly wide open. There are up to 8 different teams who could stake a claim at one of those trophies. So it'll ultimately come down to who performs the best when it matters most. There's no true favorite here. This will probably come down to the two of the following: Barrow Arts, Jasper County, Lamar County, Mount Vernon, Commerce Whitefield, and Paideia. 

Boys 1A Division 1 Top Athletes to Watch

In the sprints look for Josiah Cotterell and Jacob Carruthers to be the stars of the show. Cotterrell is more of a 100/200 guy and Caruthers is 200/400 guy, but the meet in the middle and that could have some big team point implications when they do. 

For distance Haris Flynn is the big name as he pursues double gold in the 1600 and 800. But the 3200 is opened up and sees Andrew Rothwell as the overall favorite

In the hurdles Dejon Obermuller will battle Zayden Cook for the win in the 110 while Tayshawn Reeves is favored to win the 300. 

For the field Nasir Johnson in the throws, Jacob Carruthers in the High jump, and Dakhovin Winn in the triple jump are the best bets to put up some elite marks.

In the relays Darlington is looking strong to bring home at least a title or two, which is why they're one of the favorites overall. But keep an eye on Commerce in the 4x2 and 4x1 while Temple might be the favorite in the 4x1.

Girls 1A Division 1 Team Race

This team battle is interesting. There is a favorite when you look at sectional qualifiers as Oglethorpe County had the best weekend for sure. They also won the team title in 2021 and 2022 so they know how to get the job done. But they're definitely not a lock to win this thing. Bleckley County could certainly give them a run along with Athens Christian and Mount Pisgah. Oglethorpe is certainly more balanced which can definitely help as they have points potentially coming in all of the disciplines with jumps and relays being their strongest. But Bleckley might have the best overall athlete in the meet with Ella Gibbs potentially doing the distance quadruple again this year. And when you're talking about scoring big points at the state track meet, it definitely helps to have the best overall athlete. It should be a fun team battle between the two of them, but don't count out Athens or Pisgah either. Athens also has big point potential on the distance side of things while having a more balanced attack than Bleckley and Pisgah is stronger in the sprints and jumps.

Odds are those will be your trophy winners, but it's also possible that a few other schools make a run at either the podium or even the win. Claxton, Mount Vernon, Whitefield, and Lamar County are all in the mix for a podium spot too. Claxton has big field event points in the throws and jumps while Vernon is big in jumps and relays, Whitefield has distance, and Lamar has sprints. 

Girls 1A Division 1 Top Athletes to Watch

Makayla Watts and Savannah Simmons will do battle in the short sprints with big team points on the line while Alexis Smith is the favorite in the 400 as she will try to hold off Jada Hyman and Sydnie Henderson. Henderson has definitely been here before and knows how to perform on this stage. 

The aforementioned Gibbs is the distance star of this meet. And it's definitely impressive how much she has live up to the hype on the high school level. Not only has she won multiple state titles, she's also one of the fastest 3200 runners in state history, and she's only a sophomore. She will look to complete the sweep of the distance events this year, and I assume will also be on the team's 4x800m relay effort too. Her biggest challengers appear to be Ansley Moore in the 1600 and 800 and Ruby Gordon in the 1600 and 3200. Moore and Gordon are two elite runners too and will not go down without a fight.

In the hurdles, Kennedy Reynolds is a clear favorite for the sweep this year, but look for Ma'kaya Ellis and Naomi Hackett to challenge her. 

In the field the elite marks will probably come from Denim Goddard in the triple jump, Adair Carlin in the pole vault, Kenzie Henderson in the high jump, and Jayda Jordan in the throws. 

Boys 1A Division 2 Team Race

This team battle is very hard to predict. I could see it going in a wide variety of ways. There is a slight on paper favorite with Mitchell County who has a very balanced attack across all events. But with no true superstar that could mean they win by a good margin or miss the podium completely. Warren County on the other hand is scoring big points in the sprints and relays and that could prove to be deadly in the end. Greene County has a lot of points coming in the throws and relays while Furlow Charter could put up big points on the distance side. Atlanta Classical is another school that will rely heavily on distance points. And finally, you can never overlook Georgia Military who will also be very strong with distance and relays. Odds are those school all steal points from each other and let it come down to Warren and Mitchell, but you never know how it'll shake out, and Georgia Military has certainly been here before.

Boys 1A Division 2 Top Athletes to Watch

The 200m will be the most crowded of the sprinting events as the 400 favorite Antav Richardson steps down to race two of the 100 guys in Jeremy Bell and Javiah Powell. The 100m favorite is Noah Merriweather. But he finished 16th in his sectional after having the best PR so hopefully nothing too bad happened to him in that race and he's ready to go come state.

On the distance side Julian Council will attempt the distance triple as he has the fastest PR in all 3 events and that could be huge for team implications if he's successful. He's a heavy favorite in the 1600 and 3200, but in the 800 he could be challenged by Charlie Osborne and Quintez Aldred

In the hurdles Jordan Coney and Da'lan Fields are the favorites. But Jaris Moye could challenge in both events while Jaedyn Terry could challenge in the 300m hurdles.

In the field the top marks could come from Jakobe Mobley in the high jump and MJ Quarterman in the Long Jump and Triple Jump.

For relays expect Warren County to do some damage as well as Georgia military prep.

Girls 1A Division 2 Team Race

This is yet another tight team battle that could see any one of 5-6 teams on the top podium step. Charlton county is just barely the on paper favorite, but when it's this close you just have no idea what will happen when all of the chips are down. Charlton is fairly balanced with points coming from multiple events, but their strongest event appears to be the distance events. Georgia Military also has distance and sprints and will be very close. Atlanta Classical is almost all distance, but they have the strongest distance group and could do some serious damage. Montgomery County is more focused on jumps and hurdles for their points and Randolph-Clay has big points coming in the field events with throws and jumps that will likely see them with the day 1 lead as others chase them. Portal appears to be the last team in the mix for the win as they have points coming in multiple events. If any of those ladies step up to a new level, you could see them take it all. Should be an exciting team battle!

Girls 1A Division 2 Top Athletes to Watch

Kiara Green is the short sprint star of this meet while Sasha Joseph is the clear favorite in the 400.

Flora Tyler will attempt the distance triple on the girls side and is the heavy favorite in the 1600 and 3200 but could be challenged in the 800 if she's on tired legs this weekend, especially if she also does the 4x800. If she is then look for Maria Knapp to take home the 800 title. 

Marley Bell is a clear favorite in both hurdle events. The four event superstar has been here before and will be looking to put up 40 points for her team as they pursue the team championship. 

In the field events Bell is also the top athlete in the high jump, but could be challenged by Taylor Knox in the triple jump while Jayna Kearson will be a strong competitor in the Discus