The Gordon Lee High School track team will need a big bus for state sectionals on May 8. They might even need two.
The Lady Trojans will be sending 14 athletes to the Class A sectionals that Saturday, while the 15 different Trojans will also be headed to Banks County High School in Commerce to see who will qualify for the state finals.
Those state sectionals spots were secured with fourth-place individual finishes on Wednesday at the Region 6-A Public School meet, held at Gordon Central High School.
Gordon Lee's girls, hoping to make it two state team titles in a row after their win in 2019 (no state meet was held last spring), dominated the region meet with nine event wins and 11 runner-up finishes to end up with a whopping 252 points, nearly outscoring the other five teams in the field combined. Armuchee (110) was second, followed by Drew Charter (69), Atlanta Classical Academy (ACA) (48), Mt. Zion (38) and Bowdon (8).
Kaylee Brown, already the school record holder in the pole vault and the high jump, added the school's long jump record to her impressive resume as she took first with a leap of 16-feet, 7.5-inches. Brown also took first in the pole vault (9-0) and the high jump (5-2).
Arilyn Lee picked up wins in the shot put (34-4.5) and discus (105-7), while Addison Sturdivant swept the 100 hurdles (15.71) and the 300 hurdles (48.33). Emma Phillips collected a win in the triple jump (31-3.5), while Brown, Sturdivant, Ansley Dendy and Maclain Chrnalogar earned 10 points for a win in the 4x400 (4:40.12).
Runner-up finishes were scored by Sturdivant in the high jump, Madolynn Loyd in the shot put (27-0.5) and discus (82-11), Dendy in the pole vault (8-0), Abbey Dunfee in the long jump (15-0.5) and the 100 (13.68), Haley Hartman in the 800 (2:55.43) and the 3200 (13:32.15), Riley Shirley in the 300 hurdles (53.36), the 4x100 relay team of Shirley, Dendy, Chrnalogar and Dunfee (55.26) and the 4x800 relay team (13:16.19, names not provided).
Shirley placed third in the triple jump (29-4) and the 100 hurdles (18.48). Hartman was third in the 1600 (6:17.45). Makenzie Stoker was third in the high jump (4-4). Makenna Evans earned third place in the discus (74-0), while Cora Fehr was third in both the 800 (2:58.52) and the 3200 (15:10.30).
Earning state sectional spots for fourth place were Phillips in the 400 (1:14.42), Dunfee in the 200 (28.79) and M.K. Roberts in the 800 (2:59.56).
Roberts added a fifth-place finish for the Lady Trojans in the 1600 (6:46.60) and Chrnalogar was fifth in the 100 (14.05). Fehr placed sixth in the 1600 (6:55.49), while seventh-place points were earned by Phillips in the 200 (30.49) and Ava Ruth Crutchfield in the shot put (18-5.75). The remaining points came on eighth-place finishes by Crutchfield in the 200 (31.48) and Tara Looney in the 100 (14.54).
As for the Gordon Lee boys, collecting individual region championships on Wednesday were Conner Whitman in the pole vault (11-0), Penn Askew in the 300 hurdles (45.75) and Justin Cruise in the shot put (39-10).
Levi Helton was second in the pole vault (9-0). Brady Jacobs was second in the long jump (18-7.5). Christian Howard was second in the high jump (5-8) and Carson Carpenter was second in the 3200 (12:07.88), while the 4x400 relay team (Askew, Kameron Oliver, Jackson Ellis and Braxton Turnipseed, 3:51.75) and the 4x800 relay team (Helton, Ellis, Jackson Biggs and Walker Johnson, 10:36.12) also finished second.
The remaining state sectional berths were grabbed by a third-place showing from Carter Pullen in the 3200 (12:45.59) and fourth-place finishes from Hunter Stephens in the triple jump (34-8), Sam Wells in the shot put (34-9.25) and Kaysen Geer in the 3200 (14:44.49).
Three Gordon Lee athletes placed fifth: Pullen in the 1600 (5:36.87), Jacobs in the 100 (11.98) and Ryan Eldridge in the 200 (25.05). Earning sixth-place points were Stephens in the high jump (5-0), Reece Eldridge in the shot put (29-8), Turnipseed in the 400 (57.68), Johnston in the 800 (2:35.12) and Carpenter in the 1600 (5:38.26). Two final seventh-place finishes went to Reece Eldridge in the discus (78-8) and Johnston in the 1600 (5:39.49).
However, the Trojans would have to settle for the runner-up spot in the team standings. Gordon Lee held a one-point lead over Drew Charter going into the final event, the 4x400. But the Eagles would win the event and pick up 10 points, while the Trojans received eight for a runner-up finish, giving Drew Charter (135) the region title by one point.
Gordon Lee (134) was second, while the rest of the field was filled out by Armuchee (99), Mt. Zion (96), B.E.S.T. Academy (73), Bowdon (30), and ACA (5).