Behind the Region 7-AA sweep by Rockmart’s track and field teams, the Pepperell boys and girls were the top teams out of Floyd County, and the teams now turn their focus to the Class AA sectional meet at Bremen next Saturday.
The Dragons had a strong showing taking second place, while the Lady Dragons finished fourth.
Both teams sent several athletes to the sectional meet, which precedes the GHSA Class AA state championships, which will take place May 9-11 at Berry College’s Valhalla Stadium.
For the Dragons, the team has some expected athletes move on, but head coach Joe Stokowski saw some good things out of his younger competitors as well.
“We’ve got a lot of veteran kids that our going back to sectionals, and a lot of kids that have had success before at state, so this is old hat for them,” Stokowski said. “But it’s exciting because I have some younger kids who will have a new experience.”
Newcomers to the sectional event will be Tray Robinson, Tom Vincent and Christian Weatherby. Robinson finished fourth in the 100-meter dash, Vincent took third in both the 800 and 1600 runs, and Weatherby took first in the 3200 run with a time of 10:55.77 and finished fourth in the 1600.
“Tray went out there and took care of business,” Stokowski said. “Tray was injured last season, and he’s one of the fastest guys we’ve ever had here. It’ll be fun to see those guys compete. It’s my job to get them ready, and it’s their job to go out there and take care of business. I was proud of our top-level guys, but I was really proud of our next-level guys for competing on the big stage like that.”
Pepperell also saw first-place finishes from Chris Morein the 400-meter dash with a time of 52.88, Camron Miles in the long jump with a distance of 21 feet, 6 1/2 inches, and Dylan Bailiff in the shot put with a throw of 45-10.
Miles also took second in the 110 and 300 hurdles, Bailiff came in second in the discus, and Chris Barner took second in the shot put.
Other first-place finishers were Rockmart’s Cooper Chandler in the 800 run with a time of 2:07.88 and the 1600 run with a time of 4:56.50. Rockmart’s Zoryan Hendricks took first in the 110 hurdles, the 300 hurdles, and the triple jump.
Model’s Joseph Wallace finished first in the pole vault with a vault of 11 feet, and Coosa’s Sean Brown took home first in the discus with a throw of 142-4.
On the girls’ side, Pepperell’s Hanzlee Dowdy had a strong showing in the 300 hurdles taking first with a time of 49.02.
“She’s gone from hopefully making sectionals to dead set on making state, so that’s been an exciting transformation to watch,” Stokowski said.
Armuchee’s girls came in fifth just behind the Lady Dragons, sending four athletes to sectionals.
Kayla Hutcherson was the top performer for the Lady Indians taking first in the 3200 run with a time of 12:41.39. She also finished third in the 1600 run. Madison Smith took second in the 800 run, Grace Stanley qualified in the 800 and 1600 runs, and Mary Kate Wheeler took second in the discus and fourth in the shot put.
Model’s two defending state champs Megan Kent and Ellie Getchell took first in their events with Kent winning the high jump with a jump of 5-4, and Getchell winning the pole vault with a vault of 11-1. Model’s Laura Kate Cole finished first in the 800 run with a time of 2:34.52.
Rockmart’s girls had four first-place finishers as Alexis Teems won the 100 dash in 13.18, Keyarah Berry won the 200 dash in 26.85, Tashuntee Jackson won the long jump with a distance of 16-7, and Jie Holmes won the triple jump with a distance of 33 feet, 3 1/2 inches.
Coosa’s Lainey Simms took home first in the 100 hurdles with a time of 17.66, and Chattooga’s Caroline Hodges and Faith Ann Foster also came in first in their events.
Hodges won the discus with a throw of 96-11, and Foster finished first in the 400 dash with a time of 1:02.58.