Hot Day on the Track in Albany as 5 Champions Emerge


Athens Christian Pours It On Saturday for their 3rd Straight A Title

The ACS girls have never been known for their sprint speed, but as Mary Echols held the lead down the stretch in the 4x100m, the bell began tolling for Wesleyan and Chattahoochee County. The Lady Eagles amassed a whopping 73 points in 7 events led by Echols who ended her HS career scoring 30 points by doubling in the 100h ( ) and 300h while anchoring both relay squads to victory also. Her next stop is Liberty College. ACS clinched the title as Destiny Jenkins ended a fine running career at ACS by pounding everyone in the 800m race in 2:17 while senior teamate Bryanne Acker placed 6th. Senior Natasha Braughton pr'd in the 400m placing 5th in 59.65. ACS then in trademark fashion excelled in both hurdles events with Echols triumphing was also a breakout race by Madison Mitchell as she pr'd big in 16.59 to seize 2nd place after consistently doing so in practice according to hurdles Coach Mike Fowler. ACS actually held the 1,2 positions going into the last lap of the 4x400 as Echols ran her final anchor leg smoking the field ending in swift 4:00.69 (for class A) and the Lady Eagles added a 4th place finish in 4:11. Coach Tim Cummings will have a challenge in 2013 as this was a senior laden squad. "I just can’t say enough about these seniors, they’re incredible  You come in and score 16 times in 12 events, you've got a great shot at winning, It was just a good old-fashioned throwdown. Everybody ran the best they’ve ever run.”

Wesleyan scored enough points in the distance events and the Field to hold on comfortably to 2nd with 64 points. Landyn Duley had the sole scoring opportunity for the Lady Wolves and came through placing 2nd in the 100m in 12.43 after winning the TJ Friday leaping out to 36-03.50. Wesleyan's efforts on the Field were sparked by 18 big points in the HJ as Katie Frerking cleared 5-06.50 for the win and Hannah Hoskin was 2nd after clearing 5-02. Thrower Holli Wilkins added 9 points, and the PV duo of Alexandra Juneau (3rd) and India Welton (4th) were also key contributors. Caroline Reed ran well garnering 4th place finishes in the 1600/3200.

Chattahoochee County had their best finish at State in recent history scratching their way to 3rd overall scoring 40 points led by senior Jasmine Steed excelling in both horizontal jumps seizing  victory in the LJ soaring to 17-07, placing 2nd in the TJ (35-10.50), and 5th in the 200m for 22 individual points plus bolstering Chatt Co's 4x100 relay squads to 3rd in 50.34. Also pitching in were Karaysha White placing 5th in the LJ, Shanila Chapman 5th in the TJ and Latrese Hubbard 7th in the Discus.

Darlington accomplished exactly what they wanted to placing 4th overall for the Final team spot on the Podium led by the efforts of Paige Banks taking 4th in the 200 and 400m, Emily Swafford placing 5th in the 100h, their 4x400 relay squad racing hard down the stretch pulling out a runnerup finish in 4:09.16 Terar Stewart picked up 6 points in the throws and distance ace Ansley McDurmon added 7 points in the distance events.

Having some outstanding efforts for golds were Athens Academy's Torie Owers as she set a new state meet record in the Shot at 46-08.50 and repeated in the Discus also with a huge winning toss of 149-06. Mt.Zion Carrollton's Hannah Wood repeated as she swept the 100m (12.20)  and 200m (25.62) Galloway's Maddie Felts had an outstanding meet winning the 400m in 56.96, placed 3rd in the 800m (2:21.33) and 4th in the TJ. Sarah Gehling of Pinecrest won the PV on misses clearing 10-06 besting Laura Sewell of Bremen. Morgan McClure of OLM had a pair of 2nds in the 400m (57.31) and 800m (2:20.13)


Walton Outlasts MLK down the Stretch with a more Balanced Attack

Saturday 5A Finals was coming down to which team had more scoring opportunities and maybe, who wanted it more...Walton began Finals with 12 points thanks in large part to the distance efforts of Alexa Womack in the 3200 (4th in 11:00) and 5th in the 1600 (5:03) MLK was a sleeping giant everyone was well aware of having zero points,  but putting themselves in postion during Friday prelims to explode. MLK came out hot winning the 4x100 relay (46.30), with Walton all over them down the stretch (46.68) as it appeared Jada Martin had eased up a little early the final 30 meters with Tayla Carter flying down the stretch after her. Alpharetta also raced well placing 3rd behind fleet anchor Keturah Williams

Felecia Brown of MLK showed her talent and speed in the 400 meters blowing by 2 runners ahead of her the final 30 meters for the win in 53.90. It looked as if she was running 100m speed those last few meters...Grayson's super frosh Aliyah Abrams was one her victims, though she had an excellent race placing 2nd in 54.08.  Walton's Tayla Carter then set the Track on fire enroute to a meet best 10.63 in the 100m padding Walton's lead just a bit. Williams of Alpharetta took 2nd keeping their title hopes a reality clocking a 11.77 just nipping Jasmine Abrams of Grayson in 11.78. Martin of MLK added 5 points for the Lady Lions placing 4th. Sydney Griffin then gave Walton a decent lead at 40 points blowing away the field in the 100h in 13.93. Shanel Burr of North Cobb just outleaned Khadija Stuckey at the line for 2nd in 14.13.

Peachtree Ridge was managing to stay in contact for a Podium run sparked by Sonikqua Walters as she placed 3rd in the 400m at 54.34, and ran a gutsy race in the 800m holding off Brookwood's Quandra Shanks down the stretch for the win in 2:13.56. Natalie Borders of Alpharetta kept the Lady Raiders in contention placing 3rd adding 6 points. Team leader Autumn Burnette added big points in both hurdles events placing 5th in the 100h (14.30) and 2nd in the 300h at 42.75.

Points were absolutely huge for Walton in the 200m as Tayla Carter raced to 2nd with MLK's Felecia Brown taking the Gold in 23.78 to give them 37 points with only 1 scoring opportunity left in the 4x400. Grayson picked up 11 points in the 200m thanks to Jasmine and Aliyah Abrams 3rd and 4th place finishes respectively. Coach Gower's  Walton squad was now breathing easier and sitting pretty with 48 points with only Alpharetta still having a glimmer of hope with 39 points...and Brookwood done at 39.

It came down to a blazing race in the final event of the day with the MLK girls taking a narrow win still racing hard at 3:47.69 as Brown coasted down the stretch with a McEachern squad hungry for a gold medal closing fast for 2nd in 3:48.30. Grayson ended a fine meet for themselves placing 3rd in 3:49.49. Peachtree Ridge placed 8th but it was good enough to give them a tie for 4th overall with friendly rival Brookwood at 39 points. Alpharetta placed 6th in the event placing them in 3rd place overall.

Some other outstanding performances not mentioned in the team battles were Amber Bryant-Brock of McEachern as she won the 300h in a time of 41.95 pacing the Indians to a 7th place overall team finish. Storm Phillips of the Dosta' Cats won the LJ in 18-02.50, Tift County's Katelyn Utely won the PV clearing 11-00 winning on misses, Alexandria Johnson of Mountain View won the HJ on misses at 5-04, DoVon Johnson of Kennesaw Mountain won the TJ stretching out to 38-05.25, and in the Throws Jade Stokes of Windsor Forest heaved the steel ball 44-04.50 for the win and Sarah Mitchell of Centennial slung the discus 136-07 for a margin of victory of 10'. 

Coach Travis Gower of Walton added, "I could not be happier for the Walton Lady Raiders. This group of seniors have been working for this for 4 years and have built Walton into a sprint power to match its distance prowess. This is a great way for these girls to go out.  Tayla, Sydney, Cleo, Michaela, Alexa, Katie and Lia all did a great job this season and should be very proud of what they accomplished. This is Walton's first state title in track and field to go with 12 for xc."


Greater Atlanta Christian Blows By the Field on Saturday 

Anyone who is familiar with AA Track and Field may recall the teams GAC has produced in recent history: strong Field Events (especially PV) Hurdlers, Distance aces come to mind.  I casually spoke with Coach Brad Kinser Friday under the Timers tent he agreed it was unusual for GAC that all their cards in this meet were purely Sprints unlike any team he'd coached before. I joked they were going to explode on Friday, and reminding me of my dad (the late Coach Tommy Taylor of Cairo) he praised all the other contenders and their talent...afterwards Coach Kinser praised his new champions, "I knew we had good sprinters but you have to perform on the day it counts and our girls really came through.  We had great leadership out of our 1 senior Brittany Arnold and of course Maileka Slayton winning 4 events was huge.  To set two state records in the relays was kind of icing on the cake of a great year.  To give you some perspective----we had 3 girls break our 100 meter and 200 meter school records and it they were both good records"

Going into Finals, Westminster was a monster in the Field and distance events amassing 36 points with a solid, balanced attack. Blessed Trinity was hanging tough in 2nd with 29 and still had Bailey Willett left in the 400/800m. Sonoraville excelled out on the Field with 28. North Oconee had 27 points and SE Bulloch wasn't through just yet with 21 points and a speedy Decatur squad with plenty of scoring chances at 14. GAC had exactly .25 of a point on the board much like MLK in 5A....

The Lady Spartans were poised for the attack beginning their drive for a title by easily winning the 4x100m relay in 47.31 with SE Sulloch adding 8 points taking 2nd in 48.78 and defending champ Decatur beginning their run placing 4th in 49.14. Bailey Willett of BT was just too strong in the 400m as she powered to a gold in 57.50, however Kayin Mujahid of GAC placed 3rd spurring GAC up to 16 points beginning a run of the ages going 1-2 in the 100m led by the speedy Maileka Slayton who coasted in the prelims and out of lane 2 in the finals won easily in 12.21 followed by teamate Brittany Arnold for 2nd in 12.41 adding 18 points moving into title contention very quickly. Breanna Gates though of SE Bulloch placed 3rd adding 6 big points (35) for the Lady Yellow Jackets.

Jalisha Knight of Toombs County doubled in the Hurdles blowing the field away winning the 100h in 14.16  and 44.11 in the 300h. Alaina Cook of Decatur placed 3rd in the 100h

Westminster struck for the final time in the 800m as Sahara Fletcher (2:14) dominated the race from the starting gun and held off a very game Willett of Blessed Trinity (2:17) finishing 2nd. Emily Alcorn of Westminster placed 4th effectively ending the Lady Cats scoring ops though good enough for 4th place overall. GAC struck again in the 200 meters for 15 points as Slayton completed a double in the short sprints clocking a 24.56 and Palmer a 25.72. Once again, Gates of SE Bulloch came up big placing 3rd in 25.60.

Decatur had one last chance to rack up some big points in the 300h as Rasheed placed 2nd in 45.32 and Lexi Shields took 6th in 46.86 scoring 11 points.Going into the 4x400 relay it was GAC's title barring a DQ or DNF and they came through in fine fashion winning easily in 3:51.46 besting a game Decatur squad in 3:53.31 grabbing 3rd overall in the team standings. Blessed Trinity ran a great race placing 4th in 4:07 propelling the balanced Lady Titans to a 2nd place overall team finish.

Some other outstanding performances in AA were Therell's Jamesha Ford as she was 2nd in the 400m (58.80) and 3rd in the 800m (2:27). Haley Reynolds of Gordon Central doubled in the Throws  with winning marks of 41-03 and 131-11. Carrie Cheeks of Sonoraville won the HJ at 5-02 on misses, Sydney Rodkey of North Oconee set a new AA record in the PV at 12:01, Bria McCallister of Fitzgerald was awesome in the horizontal jumps winning the LJ (17-08.50) and 3rd in the TJ (37-03) Ashleigh Rasheed of Decatur also won the TJ bounding to 38-11.50,  Fitzgerald's Bria McCallister scored 17 points for her team. She won the Long Jump, finished 3rd in the Triple and 8th in the High. Fitzgerald scored 22.25 points with 3 girls.


Redan Hurdlers and Sprinters overtake and runaway from SW DeKalb

Redan pulled off another example of beginning Finals with no points and blitzed by 36 AAAA schools ending the day by placing 2nd in the 4x400 relay scoring 58 points for a 17 point margin of victory over defending champ SW DeKalb. Redan struck quickly in a closely contested 4x100 winning in 47.90 just edging new GHSA school New Manchester (47.98) and Rockdale County (47.99) Asha Stegall of Warner Robins ran a flawless race in winning the 400 meters in 55.81 but Redan made the most out of their scoring chance as Crystal Gray hustled to a second place finish in 56.37.

Briana Vaughn of Union Grove sped by her fellow competitors to the gold in 11.77 (Vaughn also won the 200m in similar fashion clocking another great time of 24.33. No other contending teams made a move towards the top in the first 3 events except for Rockdale County as their 3rd in the 4x100 and Rachel Cuffy's 4th in the 100m propelled them up to 31 points 3 behind leader SW DeKalb, as they managed just 4 points with their 3 scoring ops...

Redan then exploded starting with the 100h scoring 16 points finisging 2nd and 3rd behind Kell's Kendell Williams fine 13.49. (Williams' 13.39 electrified the crowd in Friday prelims) India Hammond seized 2nd in 14.46 and Nikkia Jefferson hurdled to 3rd in 14.72 good enough to overtake Rockdale and tie SW DeKalb at 34 points.

In the 800m run freshman Tatiyana Caffey of Miller Grove held off a  hard charging Tatyana Hodnett of Tr-Cities for a narrow victory in 2:17.24. Greciana Cooper did her best for SW DK placing 3rd in 2:18.96 putting the Lady panthers very briefly back in the lead.

Dunwoody's Erica Banks placed 2nd behind Union Groves' Vaughn in the 200 meters in 24.64 and Rockdale's Rachel Cuffy placed 3rd adding to their team tally pushing them back ahead of Redan. However, the floodgates were then opened again for Redan as Jefferson and Hammond exchanged finishing positions and moved up a spot scoring 18 points sealing the 4A title for the Lady Raiders out of Stone Mountain. Jefferson clocked the winning time in 43.44 with Hammond a few steps behind on 44.06. Dunwoody made the most of the final event winning in 3:49.32 propelling them past Rockdale (37) into 3rd place at 38 points. Redan's cruised to 2nd in the 4x400 in 3:53.10 putting the icing on the cake.

Out on the Field Friday as mentioned in Friday's recap, Kendell Williams was the star AAAA. Williams scored 30 individual points total and along with her record setting 13.39 100h prelim time she cleared 5-08 for the HJ win and an amazing 20-08.50 for a new 4A record.Holly Ebbetts of Lee County wom the PV on misses at 11-06 (a new 4A record) along with runnerup Anna Dunn of Creekview. Keyasia Tibbs of Tri-Cities won the TJ gold bounding out to 39-07, Kenya Wheeler of SW DeKalb won their sole gold medal by winning the Shot in 41-01.50 and Kree Clark of Rockdale won the Discus in 140-10.

Business as Usual for the Lady Tornadoes Racking up a 4th Consecutive Title

Monroe Area began Finals with a 13 point lead thanks to Mimeux Land's 26 individual point barrage with wins in the LJ at 19-04.75, HJ in 5-08 and a 3rd place effort in the TJ at 40-00.50. Alexandria Childs also assisted in the throws scoring 11 points highlighted by a 2nd place 131-10 in the Discus. Columbus was sitting in 2nd place with 26 points thanks to Megan Clark's new all-class state meet mark in the PV at 12-02 and Kristina Delpecshe's win the 1600 in 5:12.38. Eagle's Landing was also lurking with some points available on Saturday due to Gabby Roth's win in the 3200 in 11:30.09, 4th in the 1600 and Hannah Billups 3rd in the HJ at 5-04. Woodward, Westover and Allatoona were logjammed at 20. Sandy Creek though had alot of points available out on the track for Saturday...

Sandy Creek got off to a quick start by winning the 4x100 easily in 47.46 beginning their trip up the leaderboard. Monroe Alb. seemed to struggle a bit early placing 4th, with North Springs seizing 2nd and Washington County 3rd. 4 podium contenders had athletes in the 400m dash with Eastside's Dallas Worthy taking the gold in 55.92 followed by North Springs' Diaja Oliver while Chakerah Fletcher of Monroe Albany placed 3rd basically slamming shut any chance for contenders to catch the Lady Tornadoes. Devonna Hill kept Eagle's Landing in the hunt with a 4th place finish.

I had seen Monroe Area's Javianne Oliver at Region 8aaa and she left no doubts as to who the fastest girl in AAA is this season as no vould touch here from out of the blocks and pulled away during both the 100 and 200m races clocking impressive times of 11.64 and 24.08! Maia Booker of West Hall placed 2nd, Dominique Nock of Spalding was 3rd and Victoria Parker of Sandy Creek added 5 big team points.

Ashley Ivey of Washington County flew over the hurdles in the 100h at 14.02 for an impressive win, followed by Anasterasia Terrell of Howard in 14.10 and again Sandy Creek added to their team chances with Ariel Truitt placing 3rd in 14.26.

The 800 meters was dominated from start to finish coming as no surprise to those who have followed her this season by Eagle's Landing's Shantia Wilson as she created huge separation on lap 1 and maintained it throughout winning easily in 2:13.00 (strangely enough on both FAT systems used) bolstering the Lady Golden Eagles chances of a nice podium spot.  Kayla Pryor of Cedar Grove hung tough with faster closing speed in 2:14.63 followed by Delpecshe of Columbus in 2:14.81.

To the chagrin and bewilderment of those I was surrounded by on the infield Dalton's Susan Meinders ran a very shocking race winning the 300h refusing to allow anyone to close on her the final 50 meters clocking a time of 44.21 besting event/hometown favorite  Chakerah Fletcher of Monroe-Alb. (44.38) and Cedar Grove's Kayla Pryor (44.45) Megan Clark of Columbus added big points for her squad placing 4th and ending her brief but shining GHSA career.

The 4x400 at this juncture was for school pride with Sandy Creek having the most to gain and acsend to the 2nd level of the Podium. Monroe Area with no pressure on their shoulders rode the energy of the hometown crowd and surged to the gold placing 1st 3:51.36 narrowly edging a determined Arabia Mountain Lady Rams squad in 3:52.05. Sandy Creek ran well enough to garner 6th place pushing them exactly 1 point past region rival Eagle's Landing at 39...

Some giant performances out on the Field for golds other than Land were Megan Clark's 12-02 clearance in the Pole Vault setting a new all-classes state meet mark!  Ashley Ivey of Washington County took home her first gold Friday in the TJ setting a new all-classes mark in the TJ at 40-07.50 as well as fellow hurdler Anasterasia Terrell at 40-04.50. And Woodward's Avava Story dominated both Throws events winning the Shot in 42-04.50 and Discus in 134-06.