2024 GHSA 5A Boys and Girls State Track & Field Meet Recap

Chapel hill showed up big time at the state meet

GHSA 5A State Meet Recap

Girls: Lithia Springs wins very tight team race

This one was expected to be one of the closest team races last weekend. And it definitely lived up to the billing. Only 6 points separated the top 3 teams. And the battle for the final trophy was thrilling too. In the end, Lithia Springs prevailed, and they scored almost all of their points on Saturday, which means everybody was likely watching them climb up the live results standings hoping they would come up short. They didn't, as they won by just two points over a very strong Harris Co, who had the lead going into the 4x400. But Lithia showed up when it mattered most and put together a great race in an impressive time of 3:51, 6 seconds faster than what they would end up needing to secure the team title. The MVP for Lithia has to be Taylor Daniels. After she placed 4th in the 100 hurdles, she came back and scored the upset win in the 300 hurdles by 0.008 seconds over Carrington Stevens. What a clutch moment for the senior who gave her team just enough to pull of the win with that lean. Destiny Jenkins also played a major role in the team success after she took 2nd in the 100 and came back and won the 200. Emanni Roberts also did just enough by placing 6th in the triple jump and then the rest was on the relay effort. They were runner up in both the 4x100 and the 4x200, but brought the biggest trophy home thanks to their very strong 4x400 relay team. You love seeing a team score some big points in multiple relays like that, it means it was a true team effort.

Harris Co was also very good this weekend. The biggest chunk of their points came from Effie Ward who won the 1600 and 3200 while finishing runner up in the 800 and helping the 4x800 take 2nd place too. A huge effort from her this weekend is why they get the runner up trophy. Hannah Huff also threw up 8 points in the shot put and discus while Savannah Sparks was able to tie her PR to take 2nd in the high jump. Maynard Jackson got their points in a variety of events. Their best athlete was Jakayla Arnold who won the discus by 2 inches and then placed 2nd in the shot put. They also had Kaseiana Meriweather place 3rd in the 200 and 5th in the 100, Grace Danser place 5th in the 3200 and 7th in the 1600, and Sydney Cent place 6th in the pole vault. And rounding out the podium was Decatur who was able to hold off Greater Atlanta Christian by 3 points. Decatur was led by Sophie D'Elena who won the 800 and was 2nd in the 1600 while Olivia Sawyer was 3rd in the 800 and 5th in the 1600. Decatur also won the 4x800 and placed 6th in the 4x100 and 7th in both the 4x200 and 4x400, scoring in all four relays with a great team effort.

Skylar Cunningham had a big meet as well by winning the 100 and placing 2nd in the 200. Kaya Booker just barely held off Jada Buggs in the 400, and Sanam Rangaraj was runner up in the 3200 while placing 3rd in the 1600. Laila Stowe was able to nudge past India Thorpe and Ava Amey in the 100 hurdles in a race that saw four girls dip under 15. Greater Atlanta won the 4x100 over Lithia, while Heritage took home the crown in the 4x200 and 4x400. Lilah Versluis was able to get a state title in the high jump while also medaling in both the long jump and triple jump. Ava Kitchings had a monster long jump to take the win over a very strong Mary Rozier. Nijah Lewis just barely held off Jada Stanford by a single inch in the triple jump. Ella Kulniszewski got hte job done in the pole vault as Layla Keadle was runner up. And Teah Gales was able to out throw discus champion Arnold for the win in the shot put.

Boys:  Chapel Hill explodes at the right time

Well, I definitely was off in this prediction, though I did mention Chapel Hill as a contender. Still, you gotta love watching a team put it all together at the big dance and prove me wrong. Chapel Hill was on a mission and showed up and got the job done on the biggest stage. Cairo Hayes must have been the inspiration for the panthers at this meet. Because when you show up at state and PR by a foot in the pole vault, after already getting a 1 foot PR at the region meet, you deserve some recognition! Hayes was runner up and Kyden Mays was also runner up in the high jump and Jaylon Allen was 7th in the long jump to get them some big points in the field event portion of the meet. They also got some important distance points on day 1 as Finn Herlihy was 5th in the 3200. Then Solomon Johnson ran a PR to take 5th in the 1600 the next day and closed out his meet with a PR in the 800 to take 6th on Saturday. Stephan Mitchell did his part in the 100 and 200 by placing 5th and Rashad Wright was 8th in the 400. But where they really showed up as a team was in the relays. They far exceeded their expectations in these events. Not that they struggled to qualify for state, but they were clearly not showing their hand in qualifying as they came to state and won the 4x1 and 4x2 while placing 2nd in the 4x4 while they already had the team title wrapped up. What an impressive performance when the chips were down. 

Heritage was still a strong 2nd place. Their jumpers showed up big time as Everist Ononye got a PR for 4th in the high jump while Dion Dean went 3-5 in the horizontal jumps and Olivier Jean placed 4th in both. They also got 8 important points from Freddy Baehre in the 800 and scored in 3 relays placing 2nd in the 4x1, 3rd in the 4x4, and 7th in the 4x2. The battle for the final two trophies was incredibly close as only 9 points separated 3rd and 7th. It was a game of inches for sure but Tucker and Jefferson went home with the hardware in 3rd and 4th over a very close HV Jenkins, Maynard Jackson, and Chattahoochee. Ian Hodge was a big player for them as he won the high jump and got 4th in the 400 while Hasaan Sykes was 2nd in the long jump. But their craziest story came in the Discus as John Pacely, who was 3rd in the shot put, tied with the longest mark in the discus and ended up winning because his 2nd best mark was better (a lesson to all throwers to take all of their throws no matter what). Jefferson was led by Michael Roberts placing 3rd in the triple jump while Adam Henley and Ethan Cosmano went 4-6 in the pole vault. Aiden Jackson and Brian Senter got important points in the throws while Brock Brush was 4th in the 3200 and 2nd in the 1600. Jefferson took 5th in the 4x100 as well. 

Coray Stafford held off Corey Budgett and Gabriel Daniels for the win in the 100 while Daniels came back and won the 200 over Isaiah Nombre. Jaden Dix beat out Altaveon Grant in the 400 and Ben Markham pulled away from everybody in the 800. Chris Connolly and Jacob Pullen split the distance events as Connolly won the 1600 and took 2nd in the 3200 and Pullen won the 3200 and took 3rd in the 1600. Jadon Thomason broke 14 in the 110 hurdles, beating out a very talented Kajuan Davis. then Thomason came back and won the 300 hurdles over Billy Johnson. Eastside won the 4x400 and MLK took home the 4x800, just barely edging out Cartersville. Jayvian McDowell won the long jump and Muhammad Shareef beat out Devon Williams in the triple jump. Hayden Badendyck took home the win in the pole vault. Alex Henry dominated the shot put and Cameron Moore is the one who just barely missed the win in the discus.