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BA seals 5 more state titles
BA Track
Bulloch Academy's Sally Marie Futch lets the discus fly at the GISA track championships Friday in Albany. Futch won the state title in the event.

ALBANY – Bulloch Academy won five more individual state championships in Day Two of the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) state track and field championships at Hugh Mills Stadium Friday.

Junior Sally Marie Futch captured both the Class AA titles in the girls’ discus and shot put, sophomore Taylor Collins won the girls’ high jump and senior Kelcie Jacobs took the girls’ 800-meter run while senior Paul Son captured the state championship in the boys’ discus.

But, more importantly, Bulloch girls’ team grabbed a comfortable lead in the Class AA team standings after the conclusion of the field events and two of the running events.

In the 21-team girls’ division, the Bulloch girls have amassed an astounding 100 points for the lead. Brentwood School from Sandersville is second with 50 points and Arlington Christian from Fairburn is third with 40.

In the 21-team boys’ division, the Bulloch boys have netted 39.5 points and sit within striking distance of the leaders. Brentwood is first with 55 points and Tiftarea Academy from Chula is second with 45 points.

Rain fell on Hugh Mills Stadium from 1:30 p.m. until around 3 p.m. The meet was suspended at 2:35 p.m., approximately halfway through the field events, until conditions improved. Around 3:20 p.m., the events continued, thanks in part to the hard work of the stadium’s ground crew.

Bulloch’s girls started off the day with 15 points, which came from the first and fourth-place finishes of Jacobs and sophomore Emily Morgan in the 800m run

“I’ve never won the 800m at state before,” said Jacobs, who claimed the state championship in the 1600m run Thursday. “It feels great. I’m happy that I’ve come out and done my best because I won’t ever have another chance at it.”

Jacobs expected a down-to-the-wire finish but she won by 50 meters.

“I expected the Harvester Christian girl (Becca Whittle) to start pulling away but she kept the same pace,” she said. “I felt good going into the final lap so I pushed it for time. I started sprinting at the 200m mark, hoping she couldn’t keep up. I never expected that I would break away at the end like I did.”

The senior won with a 2:26.93 while Morgan clocked a 2:35.88. Jacobs will go for her third individual state championship today when she competes in the 3200m run.

Collins, in the high jump, bested 15 other competitors in the day’s first field event to win for the third straight year.

“Wow, three in a row,” said the tall blonde. “I felt good going in. As soon as it was over, though, I breathed a deep sigh of relief. Getting in the weight room has helped me a lot. I’ve been working on my legs, doing squats and lunges. Getting stronger really helps.”

Collins, who won with at the height of 5-0, said her goal is to win the event for the remaining two years of her high-school career.

“We (she and freshman teammate Anna Newton) jumped well today,” said Collins. “As a team, we got a lot of respect and earned a lot of points by finishing one and two.”

Newton tied for the state runner-up spot in the event, clearing 4-10.

Futch came into the discus, the event she has dominated for the past two years, head and shoulders above the field but was second in the qualifying for the shot.

In the discus, she threw 116-3 for the win, which was her third in as many years, but was not at all happy with her performance.

“I kept slipping in the circle,” she said. “I won but I didn’t throw as well as I wanted to. It does feel good to be a three-time state champion.”  

But she was all smiles after her upset victory in the shot.

“You don’t know how ecstatic and crazy I am right now,” she said, grinning from ear to ear. “I fell and scratched on my first try and I went over to the side and cried. All the emotion from last year came up inside of me (Futch scratched on three straight throws in 2009). I did not want to let my team down like I did last year. On my second throw, I was concentrating on not falling. It turned out to be my best throw (35-5 ½).” 

Son, who came into the boys’ discus event with the top throw, hurled the disc 127-11 for his second straight state championship. His performance caps a magic two-week ride for the young man. Last week, he was one-half of the Class AA state champion boys’ doubles tennis team. The week before, he signed a college scholarship to play basketball with Georgia College and State University. 

Bulloch had two state runners-up; senior Kaylee Dennard in the girls’ pole vault (7-0) and Newton in the girls’ high jump (4-10).Third-place finishes were turned in by senior Heaven Hinton in the girls’ discus (94-4) and senior David Sawyer in the boys’ high jump (5-6).

Other Lady Gators who scored points were: Hinton in the shot (fourth), junior Rachel Gilbert in the long jump (fourth), freshman Merrill Nelson in the pole vault (fourth) and eighth grader Hendley Kimbrell in the long jump (sixth).

Other Bulloch boys who scored points were: junior Blaine Lovett in the pole vault (fourth), senior Xavier Tolliver in the 800m run (fourth) and in the high jump (seventh), Son in the shot put (fifth), junior Ellis Lane in the long jump (fifth) and in the triple jump (eighth) and eighth grader Daniel Hendrix in the pole vault (eighth).

The final event of the day was the 4x400m relay qualifying heats. Three of four Gators squads qualified for today’s event. The BA girls’ #1 foursome of Hinton, Newton, Jacobs and Gilbert turned in a 4:14.05 while the #2 quartet of Collins, Mary Margaret Reeves, Morgan and Kimbrell had a 4:24. The boys’ team of Lane, Sawyer, Tolliver and junior Lestonz Lewis qualified with a 3:42.95.