Girls Track & Field Championships set for Albany

This year’s state meet will showcase the state’s best track and field stars from across Georgia. Powerhouse programs and up and comers face up to see who will claim the podium and hang a banner at their respective school.

In Class AAAAAA, Westlake has been the team to beat the past three years, three-peating as state champs. This year the Lions will be pushed to the brink by a bevy of top contenders but veterans such as senior Jenee Nichols and sophomore Kennedy Simon hope to keep distance between themselves and the field. Nichols has been a steady performer all year long. At Sectionals she scored a third-place finish in the 100 meter dash (12.05) and first-place in the 200 meter dash (24.47). Simon took fourth in the 300 meter hurdles (45.52), second in the 400 meter dash (54.87) and first in the long jump with a 18-03.00. The Lions as a team grabbed second in the 4×100 meter relay (47.17) and first in the 4×400 meter relay at 3:50.36, making them one of the favorites heading into the state meet.

A pair of freshmen could steal the show in the 100 meter hurdles as Walton relies on Tia Jones (13.40) and Elasia Campbell (14.98). Jones placed first and Campbell fifth in their Sectional meet.

Class AAAAA has been a revolving door for champions not seeing a repeat winner since 2006-08 when Collins Hill raced past the competition. Last year’s champion North Springs will ride senior Bria Dean and sophomore Jayda Drake-Howard in multiple events to rack up the points. In the 300 meter hurdles, the duo finished one and two with Drake-Howard running a 42.93 and Dean a 45.28. Dean dominated in the long jump, posting a first-place 19-07.00 to best Breeanna Mahone of Shaw’s 19-04.25 and third-place finisher Alexis Farley of Starr’s Mill (19-03.75).

Warner Robins posted the fastest time out of both Sectional meets with a 3:48.83 in the 4×400 meter relay while Chapel Hill enters state as the favorite in the 4×100 meter relay after a 46.55 time.

Marist attempts to continue its reign of dominance over Class AAAA with Josie Wirtz leading the way. Wirtz will play a big role in deciding whether the War Eagles make it four-straight state titles or not. She has owned the 1,600 meter run and the 3,200 meter run, posting bests of 5:07.98 and 11:10.56 this season in her respective events. Wirtz also blazed the field with a 2:19.45 finish in the 800 meter run.

Monroe will make a push for the podium with their speed merchants in the 4×100 meter relay and the 4×400 relay. The Tornadoes smoked their competition at Sectionals, taking first with times of 46.39 in the 4×100 and 3:44.05 in the 4×400, finishing a full 13 seconds ahead of second-place Fayette County (3:57.67).

Jackson-Atlanta looks like the team to beat in Class AAA as the Jaguars are in hunt of repeating. Sophomore China Waldorf (15.70) and freshman Ryah Jackson (15.73) blew the doors off the competition in the sectionals for a first and second-place finish. Taryn O’Neal provides the Jags with speed in the 400 meter dash, slipping by Calhoun’s Sydnie Parker for first-place, edging her 58.55 to 58.59.

Cedar Grove’s Amani Taylor tossed the discus 129-00.00 for first-place. The closest to catching Taylor’s mark in the Sectionals was Ivey Ginn of Franklin County who threw a 111-07.00.

Lovett and Greater Atlanta Christian will jockey for the podium in Class AA. Both Region 6 powers filled the top five in a plethora of events with Wesleyan looming close behind. Washington-Wilkes remains a threat to play spoiler in the relay events. The Tigers finished first in the 4×100 meter relay (47.61) and third in the 4×400 relay (4:09.92).

Our Lady of Mercy and Georgia Military enter as the defending champs in Class A-Private and A-Public. Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy had a strong showing at Sectionals and seem like the biggest threat to dethroning the Bobcats. Georgia Military posted a 4:08.15 in the 4×400 meter relay, good for first-place at Sectionals. Telfair County freshman Brandy Mackey has chance to establish a name for herself in the long jump, 100 meter dash and 200 meter dash.


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