Friday Night Lights in Albany! Till A Storm Blew In...
The weather had been fairly pleasant after 4pm down at Hugh Mills Stadium, mostly cloudy with a slight breeze, until the distance races began at 7:45....From the west the skies darkened as the rain clouds moved in.
1A 1600- This was basically a 2 Girl race as Destiny Jenkins of ACS and Erikca Ramsey of Wesleyan began to separate from a small broken chase pack after 500 meters. the pace was rather pedestrian at 2:40 at the 800 mark with both girls a few strides apart until Jenkins decided to pick it up with 600 meters left and slowly stretched her lead to nearly 25 meters and cruised in to defend her 2010 1600 title in 5:05.55. Ramsey hung tough, making up a bit of ground on the homestretch for a well deserved 2nd place effort in 5:13. Bryan County's Tiffany Howard ran the race of her life for 1200 meters having a firm hold on 3rd throughout until Bryanne Acker from ACS began to press her on lap 4 using her 800 speed down the stretch to take 3rd in 5:31. Howard finished in 4th at 5:34. This was a huge event for ACS as they scored 16 points. Grace Tinkey was declared a DNS and did not compete for FPD.
2A 1600- I had a hunch this race was going to go to the athlete with the most strength and speed on the final lap, and it played out to that effect. One would have to think that after Sahara Fletcher's injury in the region 6-AA meet that teamate Mary Zack H'Doubler and Lovett's race tested Frosh Hailey Branch would be the pre-race favorites, but that's why we actually run the races because surprises can happen..... Zack H'Doubler, Branch, Olivia Pigg of North Oconee and Madalyn Walters of Dawson County had a nice 4 person race going on for 2.5 laps with each leading during parts of the race. Pigg and Zack H'Doubler separated from Waters and Branch a good 10-15 meters nearly a stride within each other at the bell lap. Olivia though, (Coach Jeff Pigg's daughter) began to turn it on down the backstretch and stretched her lead to 15 meters for her 1st state title in 5:17.35. Madalyn Walters though never gave up in this and placed 2nd in 5:21.75 just edging Mary in 3rd clocking a 5:22.07, and Branch from Lovett was 4th in 5:27.
3A 1600- As the tree tops began to swirl atop the hill in a vacuum and circular fashion, I knew a storm was going to be on top of Hugh Mills within minutes and warned the pickers who took my sage wisdom as a joke...Well, Kristina DePesche of Columbus and Westover's Ericka Taylor ran like they they wanted to get off that Track asap taking the race out early, creating separation from the chase pack making it a duel.....deja vu'...just like back in Carrollton at the Cross Country Championships. With 300 meters left though Kristiana found a gear she had not used yet, kicked it into overdrive running like a 400 specialist never looking back for the 3A 1600 title in 5:10.71. Taylor hung tough looking like a knee might be bothering her a bit, but held on for 2nd in 5:18.76. Devon Dabney of St.Pius and 2010 3A 800 meter Champ Jenna Wesley of Spalding almost got Taylor near the line with Dabney 3rd in 5:19.58 and Wesley placing 4th in 5:19.87!!
4A 3200- Tonite was going to be Lakeside-Evans' Anna Bowles last dance as a HS athlete and she was gunning to double after winning the 1600 title Thurdsay evening. But, a game Allie Schaich of Lambert made it no picnic as they exchanged the lead a few times until the rain came. They both Split the 1600 around a scary 5:20ish and as the crowd and athletes screamed and headed for cover, Bowles seemed to get a second breath from the cool wind and sideways rain and began to drive increasing her lead oblivious to the lightning and thunder on laps 7 &8 that had grown very close. Anna closed the books on a stellar HS career crossing the line in 10:44.98 followed by Scaich in 10:59. Katie Townsend of Lakeside-Evans added big points placing 3rd in 11:18 ending a great HS career. Meghan Wetterhall of Lakeside-DeKalb took 4th in 11:32 follwed by MollY Schenck of Pope in 11:34.
5A 3200- Dylan Hassett of Alpharetta easily won the 5A girls 3200 with the BEST performance All-Classes in 10:43.36 after the storm cooled the track area a bit. Hasset took it out HARD (5:13-5:15, hard to tell from where I was) and runs 10:43. Impressive that everyone in the field knew she was going to do that, she did it anyway, and still ran away with it. Through 400 in :73, 800 in 2:30'ish. Marcie Merriman of Lassiter took a surprising runnerup spot in 11:00, followed by Caroline Kissell of Brookwood (who picked up 6 big points for the Lady Broncs) in 11:12 and Lauren Kelley of Peachtree Ridge who placed 4th in 11:17.