2024 GHSA 3A Boys And Girls State Track & Field Meet Preview

Marianna Wright could find herself far ahead of everybody again at state this weekend

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 this weekend, the 3A Virtual meets are updated to reflect the sectional results. So now that we know who all is competing at the GHSA 3A 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 Team Race

Well that got interesting. But not in a dramatic way. When I ran the virtual meet off of region results it was looking like a close one. But now that we've got our state qualifiers after sectionals, there is a clear favorite in Sandy Creek. And they're one of the biggest favorites of the entire weekend. They've got firepower and depth in everything except throws and look as close to unbeatable as you can look while the defending champions pursue the 5th team title in school history. It's quite a remarkable story considering they won their first boys team title only 17 years ago. If anybody is going to catch Sandy Creek, it'll be Monroe Area. Monroe Area is having the kind of season most schools dream of, but it's just so hard when you run into a juggernaut like Sandy Creek. Monroe Area has big points coming in throws, sprints, and hurdles and should be problematic for anybody else who wanted a top two spot. After that it gets a little complicated. Monroe Comprehensive (can we please not put both Monroe's in the same classification again?) and Wesleyan looked the best after sectionals for the final two podium spots, but based on season PR Oconee County and Savannah Christian look like the favorites for the podium. And on top of that Lumpkin Co., Hart County, Carver Columbus, and Dougherty could also make a run at the podium. It really is jumbled after the top two so your guess is as good as mine in terms of who the favorites for the final two trophies are.

Boys Top Athletes to Watch

In the sprints you've got two stars with C.J. Wilburn favored to take the 100 and Jamari McIvory favored to take the 400 and they meet in the middle with the 200. This is becoming a trend at this point. Neither Wilburn nor McIvory are heavy favorites though and could definitely get beaten in their events. Jayden Skelton, Dallas Dickerson, Jesse Magly, Zavion Green, and Usir Bey are all in position to play spoiler to the favorites.

In the distance events Wyatt Windham has a chance to be the star. If he can pull of the triple, that would be pretty epic. He's the favorite in the 1600 and 800, but his first event will be his biggest challenge as he faces off against Aaron Brodrick. He will face Brodrick and Wood Moore in the 1600 as well, where any of them could come away with the win and it might just come down to whoever has the best kick. In the 800 Windham is a solid favorite if he's not too tired from that much racing, but if he is look for Patterson Graham to challenge.

In the hurdles is where Sandy Creek really gets to shine as Dalen Penson, Kyshon Kenney, and Jude Adderley are all good enough to win a state title. They could do enough with just these three athletes to put the meet away without much effort in other events. Leterance Fleming might be the only one capable of stopping the Sandy Creek parade.

In the field, the high jump could be the event of the meet with 9 guys all over 6-4 led by Shiv Patel in 6-7. That one will come down to misses for crucial team points. Chinedum Ike leads the way in the triple with his 50 foot PR and is tied for the lead in the long jump with his 23-10 to match Xayden Hunt. Owen Anderson and Luke Samples will duke it out in the pole vault while Rickey Robbins is going to have some big throws.

In the relays Carver, Sandy Creek, and Monroe look strong in multiple relay teams across the 4x1, 4x2, and 4x4. But the 4x8 is that weird race where you sometimes don't really know who has what exactly until you get to the state meet. Hart County is technically the favorite, but I have a feeling we haven't yet seen the best that Oconee County has to offer in that event and they might be saving it all for the big dance.

Girls Team Race

This...is an interesting team battle. The slight favorite appears to be Wesleyan, but they're getting so many points from distance that you're not sure how it's going to all shake out. they have potential for more, but with some much riding on their distance squad, you just don't know how they'll be able to pull through. Monroe on the other has a much more balanced squad and their relays could do damage. It'll be interesting to watch as they really don't meet much at all, so they'll maybe have a little back and forth battle as they each try to put up points in different events throughout the weekend. Hebron, Carver Atlanta, and Sandy Creek appear to be the other main schools battling for the final two podium spots after the two favorites. Carver is sprints heavy, but Hebron and Sandy Creek have a more balanced squad.

Girls Top Athletes to Watch

Tarrianna Jackson and Bobbi Olive look set to duke it out for the sprints crown in both the 100 and the 200. But let's not count out Jadyn Singleton who actually owns the fastest 100m PR but appeared to be slightly off at sectionals. Itavia McCord on the other hand showed up and had a big day at sectionals and could be riding that hot streak into the state meet. In the 400, Jurdyn Johnson is the favorite with Lily Macrina in pursuit. 

The distance events are where Wesleyan take over as they're favored to win all of them with Anne McSweeney and Weezie Moore in the 800. Then they've also go Julie Anne Bush, Moore, and McSweeney in the 1600. And finally they have Moore, Murphy, and Bush in the 3200. The only really threat to their distance dominance comes from an unlikely place in the 800 with Marianna Wright running the event right after she does the 300m hurdles. Wright is good enough, but can she handle it right after her best event? We will see.

In the 100 hurdles Makayla Clark will battle Ricoria Winchester and Brooke Jordan for a state title while Wright will most likely dominate the 300m hurdles. I don't know if we will see her run another state record this year as this time she follows it up with the 800 right after it, but she's definitely good enough to do something special.

In the field, the girls high jump is also incredibly deep and has a very talented field. 5 girls over 5-4 and 13 over 5 feet is pretty impressive. But with Marley Derringer at 5-10 and Piper Brown at 5-8, there likely won't be drama for the top two spots. The pole vault also has two studs at the top with Amelia Johnson and Noelle Hambrick both over 12 feet. The throws are also kind of crowded but seem to be led by Yvonne Pearl Minutello and Saniya Heard.

The relays will be fun too with Monroe looking amazing in the 4x2 and 4x4, but letting Sandy Creek and Carver duke it out in the 4x1. Wesleyan is the obvious favorite in the 4x8, but don't count out somebody like Dawson County for that one either.