The first day of the 2019 GHSA Class 1A Public School state track meet has finished in Albany and the Gordon Lee Lady Trojans find themselves atop the team standings.
With all six field events and the 1600-meter run having been completed, Gordon Lee is in first place with 51 points on the strength of three individual event wins. Marion County is second with 30 points, followed by Telfair County (22) and Pelham (21.5).
It was a big day for Kaylee Brown. The sophomore won an individual state title in the high jump as she cleared 5-foot-4. She also set a new Gordon Lee girls record with a height of 10-9 in the pole vault, good for a second career individual state title in that event and her third career individual state title overall.
Brown also won the pole vault at state last year and set what was then a Gordon Lee record at 10-7. She also finished at 5-2 in the high jump at state a year ago, but was forced to settle for second on the tiebreaker.
To no one's surprise, the other first-place victory came from junior standout Gracie O'Neal, who blistered the field in the 1600 by over 30 seconds and set a new school mark at 5:16 as she won her third consecutive state title in the 1600.
She won the event as a freshman with a school-record time of 5:20 and tied that mark when she won as a sophomore last year. O'Neal now has four individual state track titles overall as she also won the 800 as a sophomore.
Madison Mayberry also competed in the 1600 on Thursday and finished 14th with a time of 6:47, but she placed fourth in the pole vault earlier in the day (8-6) to score points for the Lady Trojans. Asia Underwood took fourth in the triple jump (34-1), while Arilyn Lee was fourth in the discus (105-4) and seventh in the shot put (33-1). Addison Sturdivant was fifth in the high jump for Gordon Lee (4-10), while Kelsey Lee tied for ninth in the long jump (15-2.5).
Gordon Lee still has athletes set to run in seven different events on Friday.
Brown will compete in the 400, while Kelsey Lee will test herself in the 100. Sturdivant and Taylor Hunley will both take on the state's best in the 100 hurdles and in the 300 hurdles, while the Lady Trojans have teams competing in both the 4x100 relay and the 4x400 relay. All of those races will have preliminary heats on Friday as runners will try to qualify for Saturday's finals, which are worth points in the team standings.
O'Neal and Mayberry will also compete in the finals of the 3200 on Friday. O'Neal is the top overall seed by nearly two full minutes, while Mayberry is seeded sixth in the 15-runner field.
Class 1A Public School Boys
Only one event, the 3200, has been completed on the boys' side, but it was another record-setting performance for a Gordon Lee athlete as sophomore distance runner Jake Lee not only took down a Trojans' record that had stood since 1983 (10:18.96), he also beat out Commerce's Demarco Hernandez at the line by a razor-thin .06 seconds to claim the state title.
Gordon Lee's 10 points trails only Commerce, who had runners finish second and fifth in the event to collect 12 points. Terrell County is third with six points, while Hancock Central is fourth with five points.
Senior Jasper Wilson qualified for the finals in the 200 by clocking in at 2:10.41 in his preliminary race on Thursday. However, Gordon Lee athletes failed to qualify for Saturday finals in the 100, the 200, the 110 hurdles, the 300 hurdles, the 4x100 and the 4x400.
Class 3A Girls
The Class 3A meets are also taking place at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany where Ringgold's Morgan Allen finished second for the Lady Tigers in the high jump on Thursday. She was one of just two jumpers to clear 5-2, but Jefferson's JoJo Smith claimed the state title on the tiebreaker. Allen earned eight points, which has Ringgold tied for 11th place in the team standings.
Class 3A Boys
Ringgold senior Jared Dunn will race in the finals of the 110 hurdles on Saturday after making it through qualifying with a time of 15.22. However, Dunn's time of 41.61 in the 300 hurdles left him shy of qualifying for the finals in that event.
LFO senior Erik Martinez also missed out on the finals of the 800 as his preliminary time of 2:02.50 fell just short.
Class 4A Girls
Heritage junior Zauren Burton also made the podium in Albany as she cleared 5-0 to place eighth in the high jump. Ridgeland freshman Annabel Hill jumped 4-8 to place 15th in that same event, while Heritage senior Madelyn Thompson finished 15th in the long jump at 16-3.25.
Class 4A Boys
Heritage senior Damian Weekly clocked in at 41.04 in the 300 hurdles, but failed to qualify for Saturday's final.