Six team titles awarded in Albany

Walter Pinion

For the first time ever, a school has swept not just the track and field titles, but also the cross country state championships in one season. Marist accomplished this feat by winning the girls championship Saturday in Albany.


Also for the first time, six team titles were awarded in Albany at the GHSA girls track and field championship meet. Our Lady of Mercy and Marion County won the Class A-Private and Class A-Public titles, respectively. Westminster won the Class AA crown while Cedar Grove claimed the AAA title. Marist beat out Redan to win the AAAA prize while Westlake and Dunwoody took the top two classifications.


Cedar Grove and Westlake were paced by a pair of outstanding runners as Christian Pryor earned 24.50 points for the Class AAA champions and SheKara Martin won 24.5 points for the AAAAAA champs. Pryor won the 400- and 800-meter runs while Martin took home individual honors in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Martin’s 200-meter dash performance actually set a new state meet record, earning her the Bob Fowler Award.


Leah Banks of Our Lady of Mercy tied with Kell’s Kendell Williams with the most individual points across all events with 31. Banks’ 31 points included a win in the 200-meter dash and helped Our Lady of Mercy (68.5 team points) hold off Athens Christian (54 points). Athens Christian had won the last three Class A titles.


Marion County beat out Gordon Lee 84-61.50 for the Class A-Public title.

In Class AA, Westminster slipped past GAC 72-70 to wrestle the AA title from the defending champions. The team title came down to the final event, the 4×400-meter relay. GAC won the event, but Westminster, needing at least an eighth-place finish to win the title outright, picked up two points by finishing in seventh place. Sahara Fletcher won the 800-meter run to give Westminster a strong lead with three events remaining.


Pryor and her sister Kayla helped Cedar Grove to the team title as Kayla Pryor added a win in the 300-meter hurdles to go with her sister’s two victories. Cedar Grove also won the 4×400 relay as both Pryor sisters ran on the winning team. Daimer Gordon finished second in the discus and fourth in the shot put event while Danielle Mitchell placed second in the long jump. It was Cedar Grove’s first title since 1995.


Defending Class AAAA champ Redan had an outside shot of catching eventual champion Marist in the final standings, but Redan’s charge was too little, too late. With a win in the 1600-meter run, Morgan Ilse helped Marist carry a 10.5 point lead into the final session of competition. Redan received standout performances from Crystal Gray and Shequilla McClain, but it would not be enough to catch Marist.


Alex Cameron’s victories in the 1600- and 3200-meter runs helped put Dunwoody into a position to move into first place in AAAAA before the 4×100 relay team did just enough to seize the lead. Lauren Jackson would win the 400- and 800-meter runs to add some cushion to the lead, and the 4×400 relay team would ice the victory with a win in the final event of the day. Kell finished second in the team standings as Williams won the high jump and long jump and set a new record in the 100-meter hurdles.


In Class AAAAAA, Westlake easily beat out Mill Creek for the team title. It is Westlake’s first title since 2009. Malayshia George of Mill Creek did manage to set a state record in the 400-meter dash and Tift County’s Katelyn Utley set a record in the pole vault event.


East Laurens won the wheelchair team title.


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