Sumter County T&F athletes Eriel Aldridge and Caleb Josey-Durham claim spots in state meet
Published 3:19 pm Monday, May 9, 2022
NORCROSS, GA – Sumter County High School (SCHS) track and field athletes Eriel Aldridge and Caleb Josey-Durham qualified for the upcoming GHSA Class AAA State Meet by virtue of their performances at the Class AAA Sectional B Meet held on Saturday, May 7, at Greater Atlanta Christian School (GAC) in Norcross, GA.
Aldridge finished in third place in the Girls Shot Put event with a distance throw of 37-3.75, while Josey-Durham finished seventh in the Boys Long Jump event (21-1) and fifth in the Boys Triple Jump event (41-10.50), thus qualifying for state in both events. The top eight athletes in each event qualified for the state meet. Both Aldridge and Josey-Durham will be competing in their respective events in the GHSA Class AAA State Meet at Carrollton High School in Carrollton, GA on Saturday, May 13.
For Aldridge, it was a huge challenge competing against athletes that were throwing the metal ball a lot further than her.
“Going into it, I saw other people throw, like, 40 feet and I wasn’t near it. That was, like, a disadvantage. You can’t doing nothing but throw,” Aldridge said. In spite of her concern, Aldridge’s performance was good enough for third place and a berth in next Saturday’s state meet in Carrollton. Autumn Clark of GAC finished as the runner-up in the event (39-7) and her teammate, Alana Thomas, won the event with a distance throw of 39-8.50.
While Aldridge was the only SCHS female athlete to qualify for the state meet, SCHS Girls Head Coach Shanicka Dyson was extremely pleased with her squad’s effort at the sectional meet and throughout the season.
“I’m very proud of the girls for this entire season. They did extremely well,” Dyson said. “It took a lot of girls coming off the pandemic to make it here out of region, to make it to sectionals and it’s very exciting to know that Eriel (Aldridge) has made it to state. That’s something that we had been banking on. She had been the leader the entire season and so we were really hoping that she could keep that lead the entire season. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it in Discus, but she made it in Shot Put. We’re both very happy that she made it in Shot Put. She’s going into state as the third top thrower, so I’m looking to see what she can do before we get to state.”
The Lady Panthers’ 4×100-meter relay team did not finish far off from the cut line, as they finished 12th in a time of 51.55. White County finished in 11th place in a time of 51.47, followed by Rockmart (50.83) and Lumpkin County (50.76). The Panthers’ Region 2-AAA opponent Central (Macon) qualified for state by finishing in eighth place in a time of 50.33.
Neither the Panthers nor the Lady Panthers were able to qualify for state in any of the running events, but the Panthers came close in the 4×400-Meter Relay event as they finished in 10th place in a time of 3:36.19. West Hall finished ahead of the Panthers in ninth with a time of 3:35.95 and their Region 2-AAA rivals, the Crisp County Cougars, qualified for state by finishing in eighth with a time of 3:34.93.
It was an unseasonably cool day with mostly overcast skies in Norcross on the north side of Atlanta and the temperature was about 15 degrees cooler than it was in Americus. According to SCHS Boys Head Coach Leonard Holsey, his squad had to adjust to cooler weather than what they are use to this time of year in Southwest Georgia.
“Overall, I think our performance was great. However, the weather played a factor in it because of the cool weather,” Holsey said. “We must realize that we must adjust to the weather and we have to train to the weather. Also, our bodies have to adjust and we have to know how to adjust, but overall, I think we could have done a little bit better, but I think the weather might have played a little factor in it also.”
In the Boys 110-Meter Hurdles, Latravis Angry finished in 14th place for SCHS in a time of 16.68 and Mason Butts finished in 12th place in the Boys 200-Meter Dash in a time of 23.22. Kavon Lewis finished in 14th place in the Boys 300-Meter Hurdles event (44.27) and the Panthers’ 4×800-meter relay team finished in 10th place in the event in a time of 9:17.00.
In the Boys High Jump event, Jaquan Bowens of SCHS tried his best to make it to the state meet. Bowens was able to clear five feet, 10 inches, but could not clear the height of six feet and finished in 11th place.
For a complete list of the results of the sectional meet, got to this link: https://ga.milesplit.com/meets/481477-3a-sectional-b-regions-2567-2022/results/814812?type=raw#.YnlLXcYpBg0.