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Wildcats and Lady Wildcats capture track and field region titles

ALBANY – Both the Schley County High School boys and girls track and field teams went down to Albany and captured their respective region championships in a dominating fashion on Wednesday, April 28 at Hugh Mills Stadium.

The Lady Wildcats won their region title going away by finishing with a total of 162 points, 53 points ahead of region runner-up Marion County. On the boys’ side, the Wildcats were even more dominant. They won the boys’ region championship with a total of 216 points, with region runner-up Marion County finishing with 121.

“It’s always a great feeling to see the kids’ reactions when they call out the final score and they find out that they won Region,” SCHS Head Coach Scott Burgess said.

“For the boys, this is the fourth time in a row that we have won and the third time that these seniors have won, being that they weren’t able to participate their junior year due to the season being cancelled due to COVID-19. This is the second time that the girls’ senior class has won Region as they won it their Ninth Grade year. We were able to get several kids to make the top four in their event and qualify for Sectionals next weekend at Mitchell County. Hopefully, these athletes will be able to have good days next Saturday and make the top eight in their event, which would qualify them for State,” Burgess continued.

The Schley County Girls Track and Field Team celebrates on the podium after winning the region championship at the Region 5A-Public Meet.
Photo by Sheila DeVane

In girls’ action, SCHS senior Dasani Minter qualified for Sectionals in several events, but won the Girls Triple Jump event. Minter was able to beat out her teammate, Daneria Thornton, by jumping a distance of 29-05.00. Thornton finished in second place by jumping a distance of 27-04.00. Minter finished third in the 100 Meter Dash (12.76), second in the 200 Meter Dash (27.51) and second in the Girls Long Jump event (15-09.50). In that event, Thornton returned the favor by beating out Minter for the title by jumping a distance of 16-04.50.

While she was pleased with advancing to Sectionals in several events, Minter feels that there is more improvement for her to make as the state meet approaches. “I’m not where I want to be at this point,” Minter said. “I want to get better each and every day and to keep working hard.”

Schley County’s Dasani Minter is seen here competing in the Girls Long Jump event. Minter finished in second place in the Long Jump, but won the Triple Jump and finished in the top four in the 100 Meter and 200 Meter Dash.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Being that only the top four finishers in each event advance to Sectionals, not all of the SCHS athletes qualified, but they still turned in strong finishes in the various disciplines. In the Girls 1600 Meter Run, Hannah Scoggins finished in sixth place with a time of 7:19.98. Scoggins teammates, Maelyn Anthony and Cheyenne Hardison, finished in seventh and eighth place respectively. Anthony finished the race in a time of 7:56.43 and Hardison finished right behind her in a time of 8:09.27.

Maya Wynn of Furlow Charter won the 1600 Meter Run in a time of 6:07.58. Wynn feels that she is peaking at the right time as the state meet approaches and that speed work is making a difference. “Our coaches had us start doing more work with speed drills and latters and that has definitely helped in the past couple of weeks,” Wynn said. In addition to winning the 1600, Wynn also won the region championship in the Girls 3200 Meter Run, finishing in a time of 13:29.30. In that event, both Scoggins and Anthony were able to qualify for Sectionals. Scoggins finished in third place in a time of 16:52.74, while Anthony finished in fourth place in a time of 21:54.37. Mary Deloach of SCHS finished the event in fifth place in a time of 23:04.01.

Schley County’s Maddie Walker competes in one of the relay events. Walker was part of the 4×400 Meter Relay team that finished in fourth place and was part of the 4×100 Meter Relay team that also finished in fourth place.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

In the Girls 100 Meter Hurdles, Daneria Thornton, who won the long jump event, finished in second place for the Lady Wildcats in a time of 18:11. Thornton’s teammate, Chloe Green, finished in ninth place in a time of 26:35.

In the Girls 4×100 Meter Relay event, the Lady Wildcats finished in fourth place in a time of 59.56. The team was made up of Mary Thomas Smith, Perri DeVane, Layla Williams, Maddie Walker, Rene Rix, Berkley Goodin, Daneria Thornton and Natalie Navarro.

Schley County’s Daneria Thornton won the Girls Long Jump event by jumping a distance of 16-04.50.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The Lady Wildcats also finished in fourth place in the Girls 4×400 Meter Relay event and they did it in a time of 5:20.87. That team was made up of Berkley Goodin, Maddie Walker, Layla Williams, Mary Thomas Smith, Cheyenne Hardison, Natalie Navarro, Maelyn Anthony and Hannah Scoggins.

Though they finished fourth in both the 4×100 and 4×400 Relay events, the Lady Wildcats were able to conjure up enough energy to finish as the region runners-up in the 4×800 Meter Relay event, doing it in a time of 13:58.13. That team was made up of Hannah Scoggins, Maely Anthony, Cheyenne Hardison, Mary Deloach, Natalie Navarro, Diana Wills, Sarah Barnhill and Maddie Walker.

Furlow Charter’s Maya Wynn won both the 3200 and 1600 Meter events at the Region 5A-Public Meet in Albany.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

In the Girls Pole Vault competition, Perri DeVane took home the region championship for the Lady Wildcats and reset her own school record in the process. DeVane was able to clear the bar at a height of 8-08.00. Her teammate, Layla Williams, finished second in the event, clearing the bar at 5-00.00.

Schley County’s Perri DeVane poses with her first place plaque after winning the Girls Pole Vault competition at the Region 5A-Public Meet.
Photo by Sheila DeVane

In the Girls Shot Put competition, Liberty Justice won the event for the Wildcats by making a distance throw of 33-03.50. “I think I’m the best I could be right now,” Justice said. She went on to say that the coaches have really helped her out with her technique and form, which has really made a difference from earlier in the season till now. Berkley Goodin was able to qualify for Sectionals in the Shot Put event by finishing in third place with a distance throw of 27-06.00. Goodin’s teammate, Taniya Holt, finished in seventh place with a distance throw of 25-05.00.

Schley County senior David Williams won the Boys 1600 Meter event and finished in second in both the 800 and 3200 Meter events at the region meet.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Goodin also qualified for the Sectional Meet in the Discus competition by winning the region title in that event and setting a new PR (personal best) for herself in the process. Goodin made a throw of 98-03 to win the event and her teammates, Rene Rix and Sarah Barnhill, came in second and third respectively. Rix made a distance throw of 90-10 and Barnhill was able to reach a distance of 83-03.

Schley County’s Dustin Howard tries to fend off Edwin Gonzalez of Furlow Charter in the Boys 1600 Meter Run. Gonzalez eventually overtook Howard for fourth place in that event, finishing in a time of 5:18.52. Howard finished in fifth place about six seconds behind Gonzalez (5:26.14).
Photo by Ken Gustafson

In boys’ action, several Wildcats either won events or finished in the top four to qualify for Sectionals. In the 1600 Meter Run, David Williams won the event in a time of 4:59.53 and barely beat out his teammate, Aaron Pinckard, who finished as the event runner-up in a time of 5:02.69. Dustin Howard very nearly finished in the top four, but had to settle for fifth place with a time of 5:26.14. Howard was beaten out for fourth by Furlow Charter’s Edwin Gonzalez, who finished the event in a time of 5:18.52. Both Williams and Pinckard finished in second and third respectively in the Boys 800 Meter Run. Williams finished that event in a time of 2:13.43 and Pinckard finished right behind him in a time of 2:14.71.

Schley County’s Dasani Minter (right) competes in the Girls 100 Meter Dash at the Region 5-A Public Meet. In addition to winning the Triple Jump and finishing second in the Long Jump, Minter finished in third place in this event and finished in second place in the Girls 200 Meter Dash.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

“Today, I was focused more on coming in first than overall time,” Williams said. “I would say that I am ready for State.” As far as Pinckard is concerned, he feels that he is where he wants to be at this point of the season and is primed for the upcoming sectional and state meets. “I’m feeling good, feeling fast….just ready to race now,” Pinckard said.

In the Boys 400 Meter Run, Schley County’s John Lightner qualified for Sectionals in that event by finishing in second place with a time of 56.86. Lightner didn’t miss making the top four by much in the 800 Meter Run as he finished in seventh place in a time of 2:34.44, which was 11 seconds behind fourth place finisher Warren Williams of Chattahoochee County (2:23.35).

Edwin Gonzalez of Furlow Charter competes in the Boys 1600 Meter Run. Gonzalez finished in fourth place in the event and qualified for the Sectional Meet.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

In the Boys 3200 Meter Run, Pinckard was able to return the favor against David Williams as he beat him out for the region title. Pinckard finished the event in a time of 11:41.06, while Williams was the region runner-up with a time of 11:44.22.

Dustin Howard almost qualified for sectionals in this event, but had to settle for fifth place (11:56.46).

In the Boys 110 Meter Hurdles, three more Wildcats qualified for Sectionals. Clinton Jackson won the event in a time of 16:19, setting a new PR. His SCHS teammates, Malachi Banks and Matthew Nguyen, finished in third and fourth place respectively and secured their spots in the Sectional Meet. Banks finished in a time of 21.12 and Nguyen finished right behind him in a time of 21.35. Jackson also qualified for Sectionals in the 300 Meter Hurdles, finishing in second place in a time of 48.62. Banks finished in fifth place in the event in a time of 51.76 and Nguyen finished right behind him in sixth in a time of 54.19.

Schley County’s Logan Elliot (behind) tries to come from behind in the Boys 400 Meter Dash. Elliot finished in fourth place in the event in a time of 58.13.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

In addition to his success in the running events, Jackson also won both the Long Jump and Triple Jump events. In the Long Jump, he set a new PR for himself by jumping a distance of 21-04.00. In the Triple Jump, Jackson was able to reach a distance of 40-05.00. His teammate, Logan Elliot, almost qualified for sectionals in that event, but had to settle for fifth place, jumping a distance of 36-07.00.

Three more Wildcats qualified for Sectionals in the Shot Put event. Wade Cox was the region runner-up by throwing a distance of 40-00.00 (40 feet). His teammates, Josh Brown and Zavian Solomon, finished in third and fourth place respectively. Brown made a distance throw of 39-07.25 and Solomon was able to throw the heavy metal ball a distance of 39-00.00 to secure his spot in Sectionals.

Schley County’s Mary Thomas Smith hands the baton to Perri DeVane in the Girls 4×100 Meter Relay event. The Lady Wildcats finished in fourth place in the event with a time of 59.56.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Both Brown and Sidney Blackwell were able to qualify for Sectionals in the Discus event. Brown finished as the region runner-up with a distance throw of 104-09 and Blackwell finished right behind him with a throw of 101-10.25.

In the Pole Vault event, the Wildcats were able to sweep the top three spots for Sectionals. Levi Johnson won the event by clearing the bar at a height of 11-06.00 (11 feet, six inches). His two teammates, Matthew Nguyen and Logan Elliot, finished in second and third place respectively. Nguyen cleared a height of 7-00.00 and Elliot was able to clear the bar at a height of 5-00.00.

Clinton Jackson of Schley County stands at the top of the podium after winning the Boys Long Jump event. Jackson also won the 110 Meter Hurdles event and finished second in the 300 Meter Hurdles.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

In the Boys 4×800 Meter Relay event, the Wildcats were able to take home the region title. The team made up of Eli Bacon, John Lightner, David Williams, Aaron Pinckard, Dustin Howard, Logan Elliot, Levi Johnson and Josh Brown won the event in a time of 9:13.42.

The Wildcats were also able to qualify for Sectionals by finishing in second place in the 4×400 Meter Relay, doing it in a time of 4:09.64. That team was made up of Eli Bacon, John Lightner, Matthew Nguyen, Logan Elliot, Josh Brown, Malachi Banks, Levi Johnson and Demarkis Clark. The Wildcats also qualified for Sectionals in the 4×100 Meter Relay event, finishing in fourth place in a time of 56.04. That team was made up of Josh Brown, Eli Bacon, Bryce Blaylock, Wade Cox, Matthew Nguyen, Sidney Blackwell, Colquitt Higen and Levi Johnson.

Daneria Thornton of Schley County competes in the Girls Long Jump. Thornton. Thornton won the event by jumping 16-04.50.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

While the Furlow Charter girls and boys teams finished eighth and sixth respectively, they also had some of their athletes qualify for Sectionals and turn in strong performances.

In addition to Maya Wynn winning the Girls 1600 and 3200 Meter events, FC’s Edwin Gonzalez finished in fourth place in the Boys 1600 Meter Run with a time of 5:18.52. Gonzalez also qualified for Sectionals in the Boys 3200 Meter Run, finishing in fourth place in a time of 11:54.21.

Schley County senior distance runner Aaron Pinckard tries to come from behind. Pinckard won the 3200 Meter event, finished in second place in the 1600 and finished in third in the 800 for the Wildcats.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Gonzalez’s teammates, David Lane and Jordan Brown, finished in sixth and seventh place respectively in the Boys Shot Put event. Lane had a distance throw of 35-00.50 and Brown was right behind him with a distance throw of 34-01.56. Their FC teammate, Cody Arizmendi, finished in 12th place in the event with a distance throw of 29-02.35.

Liberty Justice of Schley County stands a top the podium after winning the Girls Shot Put at the Region 5A-Public Meet.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Brown qualified for Sectionals in the Discus event by finishing in fourth place with a distance throw of 95-02.50. Both Lane and Arizmendi finished in seventh and ninth place respectively, making distance throws of 87-03.25 and 83-07.

The Sectional Meet is scheduled for Saturday, May 8 at 10:30 a.m. at Mitchell County High School in Camilla, GA. The top eight athletes in each event will qualify for the GHSA Class A-Public State Meet in Albany at Hugh Mills Stadium Thursday through Saturday, May 13-15. Stay tuned to the Americus Times-Recorder for all the coverage.

David Lane of Furlow Charter competes in the Boys Shot Put event at the Region 5A-Public Meet in Albany. Lane finished in sixth place with a distance throw of 35-00.50.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

For more information on the Region 5A-Public Meet and all the results, go to this web address: https://ga.milesplit.com/meets/407571-ghsa-region-5-a-championships-2021/results/739185/raw#.YIyNGR17lro.