Schley County Lady Wildcats capture track & field region championship and Wildcats finish third at GHSA Region 5A-Public Championships
Published 5:00 pm Friday, April 29, 2022
ALBANY – It was another successful region track & field meet for the both the Schley County (SCHS) Lady Wildcats and Wildcats. The Lady Wildcats captured the Region 5A-Public Championship with 156 points and the Schley County boys finished in third place with 112.50 points at the GHSA Region 5A-Public Meet on Thursday, April 28 at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany.
The Lady Wildcats blew away the competition with 156 points as Manchester, the region runners-up, finished with 99 points. As for the SCHS boys, they finished in third place with 112.50 points, which was 43 points behind region runners-up Chattahoochee County (155.50). Marion County won the boys’ region championship with 198 points. As a result of their performances, both the SCHS boys’ and girls’ teams will advance to the GHSA Class A-Public Sectional Meet to be held on Saturday, May 7 at Banks County High School in Commerce, GA.
“I am very happy for our athletes. Our girls were able to win region for the second consecutive year and the third time in five years,” SCHS Head Boys Coach Scott Burgess said. “We did not have a very big team, so many of our girls stepped into bigger roles and competed in multiple events for the team. Our boys put forth great effort as well as they finished third. Unfortunately, we had several key players injured and unable to compete and we were unable to keep our streak going from the previous five years on the boys’ side. I would like to thank Coach Kinney, Coach Aldridge, Coach Denby and Coach Earle for all of their hard work throughout the season.”
SCHS Girls Head Coach Beth Kinney was equally as proud of how her team showed out at the region meet. “I am very proud of our girls. They have worked hard all season to improve their distances and/or times,” Kinney said. “Several girls were asked to step up and try an event they had never done before and they excepted the challenge without hesitation. I could not be prouder or happier for them. Now, we will continue training in order to compete at sectionals next Saturday.”
In the Girls High Jump event, Daneria Thornton took home the gold for the Lady Wildcats by clearing a height of 4-04.00. Thornton’s teammates, sisters Peyton Goodin and Berkley Goodin, finished third and fourth respectively in the event to claim spots in next Saturday’s sectional meet. Peyton Goodin cleared a height of 4-02.00 for third place and Berkley Goodin cleared a height of 4-00.00 for fourth. The top four finishers in each event qualify for the sectional meet.
In addition to her individual region championship in the high jump, Thornton finished as the region runner-up in the Girls 100-Meter Hurdles. Thornton finished in second place in a time of 18.99. Karma Singleton of Manchester won the event in a time of 17.83.
In the Girls 1600-Meter Run, Cheyenne Hardison claimed a spot in the sectional meet for the Lady Wildcats by finishing in fourth place in a time of 7:55.24. Hardison finished behind third place finisher Jacklyn Chen of Furlow Charter (7:40.33). Chen’s FC teammate, Maria Kilheffer, won the 1600 with a time of 6:24.24.
In the Girls 3200-Meter Run, both FC and SCHS athletes qualified for the sectional meet. Kilheffer won the event in a time of 14:49.54 and Chen finished right behind her as the region runner-up in a time of 16:55.26. Hardison qualified for the sectional meet in this event as well, finishing in third place with a time of 19:54.79. Her SCHS teammate, Kaleigh Johnson, also qualified by finishing in fourth place in a time of 21:40.26. Abby Kirkland of SCHS barely missed qualifying for sectionals in this event, as she finished in fifth place in a time of 22:21.32.
In the Girls 4×200-Meter Relay event, the Lady Wildcats’ team of McKenzie Solomon, Layla Williams, Peyton Goodin, Berkley Goodin, Emily Wilder, Passamon Junrat, Malia Harden and Maelyn Anthony finished in third place in a time of 2:04.64, good enough to qualify the team for sectionals. All of the girls on the SCHS 4×200 Relay Team, along with Kaleigh Johnson and Cheyenne Hardison, also qualified for sectionals in the 4×400-Meter Relay as SCHS finished in fourth place.
The Lady Wildcats also finished as the region runners-up in the Girls 4×800-Meter Relay event in a time of 14:48.43. Anthony, Johnson, Hardison, Harden, Wilder, Junrat, Williams and Abby Kirkland were all part of that team.
The Lady Wildcats swept the podium in the Girls Pole Vault event. Emily Wilder emerged as the region champion by clearing a height of seven feet. Her teammate, Layla Williams, finished as the region runner-up (6-05.00) and Peyton Goodin finished in third place by clearing a height of five feet, six inches.
Thornton, who won the High Jump and finished as the region runner-up in the 100-Meter Hurdles, also qualified for sectionals in the Girls Long Jump event. Thornton finished in third place by jumping a distance of 15-03.75. Thornton also won the Girls Triple Jump as she jumped a distance of 31-06.00, edging out Manchester’s Jada Bell, who finished as the region runner-up (31-03.50).
The Lady Wildcats claimed another region title in the Girls Shot Put event when Liberty Justice threw the metal ball a distance of 32-08.00. “A lot of practice goes into it. Your family helping you out…throwing in the yard and stuff like that,” Justice said. In spite of her success, Justice, who is the defending GHSA Class A-Public State Girls Shot Put Champion, is not satisfied and knows that she still has work to do to defend her state title. “I’ve got to work a little bit more on strength and explosiveness, but I’ll get there,” She said. Justice’s teammate, Berkley Goodin, barely missed qualifying for the sectional meet in the event, finishing in fifth place with a distance toss of 29-05.00. However, Goodin made up for it by winning the Discus event as she made a distance throw of 95-10. Her SCHS teammate, Sarah Barnhill, also qualified for the sectional meet as she finished in fourth place with a distance throw of 84-04.
In boys’ action, Dustin Howard of SCHS edged out Edwin Gonzalez of Furlow Charter for fourth place in the Boys 1600-Meter Run to book his ticket to the sectional meet. Howard finished the event in a time of 5:22.19, while Gonzalez finished in fifth place with a time of 5:37.06. Howard’s teammate, Ethan Bliss, finished the 1600 in sixth place in a time of 5:40.56.
Howard also qualified for sectionals in the Boys 3200-Meter Run by finishing in third place in a time of 12:37.14. Gonzalez, who just missed out on qualifying for the sectional meet in the 1600, earned a berth for the FC Falcons by finishing fourth in the 3200 (12:56.38). Ethan Bliss of SCHS finished in fifth place in the 3200 with a time of 13:36.44.
In the Boys 110-Meter Hurdles, Tyrese Cook of SCHS punched his ticket to sectionals, finishing in fourth place in a time of 18.68. Cook also became the region runner-up in the 300-Meter Hurdles as he clinched second place in a time of 43.64. Cook will be joined at the sectional meet by his teammate, Kyler Walton, who finished in fourth place in the 300-Meter Hurdles with a time of 48.32.
The SCHS 4×200-Meter Relay Team of Ethan Sellers, Bryce Blalock, Sidney Blackwell, Javier Lopez, Malachi Banks, Ashton Latimer, Wyatt Halstead and Higen Colquitt qualified for sectionals in the event by finishing in fourth place in a time of 2:03.00. Many of those SCHS athletes also qualified for the sectional meet in the Boys 4×800-Meter Run as the Wildcats earned fourth place in the event with a time of 11:26.78.
In the Boys High Jump event, Kendall Sims of SCHS clinched fourth place by jumping a height of 5-04.00. His two teammates, Conner Rhyne and Tyrese Cook, finished in fifth and sixth place respectively as both cleared a height of 5-02.00.
As was the case with the SCHS girls, so it was with the boys in the Pole Vault event. The Wildcats swept the podium as Levi Johnson won the event by clearing a height of 12-06.00. His teammates, Ethan Sellers and Brody Barnes, finished second and third respectively by clearing a height of 9-06.00. “I felt pretty good about my performance. Maybe I can get a bit higher in sectionals, but we’ll see,” Johnson said.
In the Boys Shot Put event, Zayden Walker of SCHS finished as the region runner-up with a distance throw of 45-03.00. His teammate, Wyatt Halstead, finished in sixth place (37-02.00) and Sidney Blackwell finished the event in 10th with a throw of 33-08.00.
Halstead did much better in the Discus event as he finished in third place with a distance throw of 118-02.50 to book a spot in next Saturday’s sectional meet. Halstead’s two teammates, Sidney Blackwell and Quentin Edwards, finished fifth and sixth respectively with throws of 107-10 and 106-01.50.