The Gordon Lee Lady Trojans will head to Albany next weekend with a chance to defend their Class A Public School state track championship after qualifying athletes in 13 different events at a state sectional meet at Banks County High School on Saturday.
Gordon Lee picked up wins in six of those 13 events with those six victories coming on the strength of multiple victories by three different athletes.
Kaylee Brown cleared 5-foot-2 to win the high jump and topped out at 10-feet to win the pole vault. Arilyn Lee swept the shot put (33-8) and the discus (107-0), while Addison Sturdivant won both of the hurdle events, taking the 100 (15.54) and the 300 (47.04).
In addition, Brown was fourth in the long jump (16-2) and Sturdivant placed fifth in the high jump (4-8). That duo joined Ansley Dendy and Maclain Chrnalogar to place third in the 4x400 (4:38.35).
Madolynn Loyd made it a 1-2 finish for Gordon Lee in the discus as she took runner-up honors (92-4) and Dendy was third in the pole vault (8-0).
Haley Hartman, along with Dendy, Cora Fehr and Makenna Evans, finished third in the 4x800 (12:55.78). Hartman placed fifth in the 1600 (6:08.02) and later took sixth in the 800 (2:53.03), while M.K. Roberts was seventh in the 800 (2:55.12).
The other state qualifiers for Gordon Lee included Fehr, who placed seventh in the 3200 (15:15.78), Riley Shirley, who placed seventh in the 100 hurdles (18.21), and Emma Phillips, who was eighth in the triple jump (31-9).
Gordon Lee will send two athletes to state in the boys' pole vault after a second-place finish by Conner Whitman (12-0) and a fourth-place showing from Levi Helton (9-6).
Brady Jacobs was seventh in the long jump (19-9), while Helton, Jackson Biggs, Walker Johnston and Jackson Ellis placed eighth in the 4x800 (9:45.68).
A little further south at North Oconee High School, Heritage and Ridgeland athletes tested themselves at state sectionals and it was another big day for the Ridgeland throwers.
Logan Montgomery swept both events, winning the shot put (57-3) and the discus (168-4) by wide margins, while in the girls' meet, Mecca Spears (34-8.5) and Cordasia Watkins (34-6.5) placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the shot put.
Gavin Chandler was third in the 3200 (9:50.54) for the Heritage boys, while he joined Collin Black, Griffin Black and Will Waldrop to qualify seventh in the 4x800 (8:39.44). Jonathan Washburn is also headed to the state finals in the shot put after he finished eighth (41-11.5).
On the girls' side, Ridgeland's Annabel Hill tied for third in the high jump (4-8), while Heritage's Caroline Hamilton cleared the same height, but placed fifth in the jump-off tiebreaker.
Also headed to the state finals is Lady Generals' hurdle specialist Gracie Murray, who was fifth in the 300 (48.93) and seventh in the 100 (16.75).
At Atlanta's historic Lakewood Stadium, LaFayette, LFO and Ringgold sent several athletes to the competition, but only one made it through to the state finals, and that athlete did so in style as Ringgold's Gabe Elmore crossed the tape in 15.95 to win the boys' 110 hurdles.
In addition to the Class A Public School state finals, Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany will also play host to Classes AAA and AAAA. The three-day state meet will begin this Thursday.