November 27, 2020

Five Heard track athletes bound for Albany

(Calhoun, GA) — After strong performances at the state sectionals in Calhoun Saturday, five Heard County track athletes are headed for Albany later this week to contend at the GHSA Class AA State Track and Field Championships where they will compete with the best of the best from around the state.

Senior Austin Miller was the only male to advance but did so in a big way by winning the sectional high jump competition and advancing in two other events as well. Miller cleared 6-06.00 Saturday and will be one of the favorites in the high jump event Thursday morning when athletes from Classes A-Public, AA, and AAA descend upon the state meet this week.

Miller’s stiffest competition will come from Torenio Davis of Bleckley County who also cleared the same mark at the other sectional held in Fitzgerald Saturday. Miller finished in fourth place in the Long Jump with a leap of 22-00.50 and he scored an eighth place finish in the 100 Meter Dash.

Only those finishing in the top eight of each event at sectionals qualified for the state meet.

In the female competitions it was once again freshman Tori Caldwell with an impressive showing in two different events. Caldwell grabbed a fourth place finish in the Pole Vault with a mark of 7-06.00 and a seventh place finish in the High Jump at 4-10.00.

Caldwell was one of seven athletes to clear the same mark and was just two inches off the sectional bests turned in by Jesse Burkhalter of Pepperell and Raven Ross of Social Circle.

Advancing to the state meet as a freshman is an outstanding accomplishment meaning Caldwell could be a favorite to earn a state title during her upperclassmen years. Junior Catherine Newell also captured a fifth place finish in the Pole Vault hitting the same 7-06.00 mark as Caldwell.

Senior Dekaii Ogletree advanced to Albany with a strong third place finish in the Triple Jump. Ogletree jumped a total distance of 33-07.25 and is a strong candidate to be on the platform during awards time this week.

In long distance running, junior Holly Moreland again shined as she advanced to state in two events, the 1600 Meter and the 3200 Meter. Moreland finished eighth in the 1600 with a time of 6:07.61 and seventh in the 3200 with a time of 13:49.67.

Freshman Lily Langley and senior Ashton James narrowly missed qualifying with ninth place finishes in their respective events.

Other competitors in Calhoun for the Braves included Hollis Alsobrook, Matthew Arnold, and Katlyn Henderson.

Coach Cory Shelnutt was happy for his kids that are going to state.

“Ultimately, today was a huge success — qualifying five this year in nine events after only qualifying one last year is big for us,” said Shelnutt after the sectionals Saturday.

“We brought 10 and we wish we could’ve qualified them all but we have some young ones that will be back. You do feel so bad for the seniors that just missed out especially Ashton James. Ashton is one of our hardest workers and for her to miss out by just a couple of hundredths of a second is tough for her but she will be a first alternate for the event.”

Shelnutt think Miller has a solid shot to bring home a state title and believes several others have chances to podium by finishing in the top eight.

The state meet takes place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday May 11-13 at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany. For meet schedules and event times click here.


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