May 21, 2019

Brave athletes bound for State Sectionals this Saturday

The 2019 Region 5-AA runner-up Lady Braves Track and Field Team (Photo: Penny Hood)

(Franklin, GA) — A plethora of Heard County High School track athletes are bound for the state sectionals following the Region 5-AA Track Finals in Franklin.

As a team, the Lady Braves finished in second place in Region 5-AA with 123 points finishing only behind region champion Bremen. The Braves also scored a runner-up finish to the Blue Devils.

All top four finishers in each event at region will advance to next Saturday’s State Sectional Meet at Bremen High School which will feature athletes from Regions 5-8.

Leading the way for the Braves were Region 5-AA Champions Tray Dunson and Zaylin Wood. Dunson, a three sport athlete who also played football and basketball for Heard High, finished as the champion of two sprinting events — the 100 Meter Dash (10.97) and the 200 Meter Dash (22.33).

Senior Tray Dunson (Photo: Penny Hood)

After a preliminary heat in the 100 with a time of 11.19 Dunson bolted past the competition in the finals finishing with a time of 10.97 — a modern day school record.

Dunson also eclipsed his top time in the 200 winning the finals with a time of 22.33.

Additionally, Dunson qualified for sectionals as part of the second place finishing 4×100 team with teammates Ashton Bonner, Micaiah Austin, and Tae Gray.

Zaylin Wood also established a new school record in the Shot Put with his throw of 57-02 to claim his Region 5-AA crown.

Wood will be a heavy favorite to win a state title after winning the Class A title last year. His throw of 57-02 is about five full feet more than last year’s Class AA State Champion.

Bailey Scarborough and Jartavious Thronton also qualified for sectionals in multiple events. Scarborough finished in second place in the Pole Vault and second place in the 800 Meter Run while Thornton took third place in the 300 Meter Hurdles and fourth place in the 110 Meter Hurdles. Scarborough’s time in the 800 also established a new school record at 2:15.68.

Two Braves qualified in the Discus Throw — Mack Smith who took third and Jaidan Cameron who placed fourth. Sophomore Tae Gray set a new PR in the 100 Meter at 11.22 finishing in third place.

In girl’s events while there were no Region Champions for the Lady Braves, there were several girls who qualified in multiple events.

Junior Tori Caldwell will be representing at sectionals in three events including one she had not competed in before the region meet. Caldwell ran the 3200 Meter for the first time this year to try and help gain some team points and remarkably finished second in the grueling race with a time of 15:14.64. She also advanced in her normal events with a third place finish in the Pole Vault and a fourth place finish in the High Jump.

Senior Zaylin Wood (Photo: Penny Hood)

Sophomore Beth Taylor will be a strong contender at sectionals in both throwing events. She took second in the Shot Put and third in the Discus Throw.

Miranda Harbin and Sophia Long each qualified in three events. Harbin placed third in the Long Jump and in the 300 Meter Hurdles. Long finished third in the Triple Jump and fourth in the Pole Vault.

Harbin and Long also advanced as part of the third place 4×100 team along with Hermonie Garza and Camille Gaskins and Long was also on the 4×400 fourth place team with Alyssa Brown, Gaskins, and Brianna Hill.

Third place finishers in other events included Kimberly Loutzenheiser in the 800 Meter and Beth Moreland in the 1600 Meter Run.

Fourth place qualifiers were Avery Barnes in the 3200 Meter and Rachel Butler in the 300 Meter Hurdles.

Head track coach Cory Shelnutt was pleased with each of his team’s strong second place finishes at region.

“Our region is tougher than it has ever been hands down — that was a spectacular pointing girls and boys team from Bremen,” said Shelnutt after the meet. “But I’m nothing but proud of what my boys and girls were able to accomplish at region. We left some points out there on day one but on day two we over-performed.”

Shelnutt was especially pleased by some of the individual efforts from his athletes and relay teams.

“These kids really showed up on day two. From Micaiah Austin pulling a hamstring and nearly diving to pass the baton to both girls 4×400 teams running faster than they ever have by at least 15 seconds. The A-team set a new school record and even our B-team breaking the old school record,” said Shelnutt.”Tae Gray’s new PR in the 100 M was an outstanding time for a sophomore. Also can’t say enough about Tori Caldwell stepping up to run the 3200 when the team needed her.”

The top four finishers in each event at this Saturday’s Bremen Sectionals will advance to the GHSA Class AA State Championships May 9-11 at Berry College in Rome. Regions 1-4 will compete at sectionals in Fitzgerald, GA this Saturday.

The 2019 Region 5-AA Runner-Up Braves Track Team (Photo: Penny Hood)

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