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Bulloch Academy shines in Region 2-AAA track meet

    Paced by a young core group at Bulloch Academy, the Gators had a solid performance at the Region 2-AAA meet Wednesday.
    The girls’ track and field team finished tied for second place, despite an injury to the team’s key sprinter, while the boys’ team finished in first place with a score of 185.
    BA’s girls’ track team and Pinewood Christian Academy finished with 156 points. It was close competition throughout.
    “We went into the 4-by-400 tied with Pinewood and I pulled my girls aside and told them, ‘we need to finish here and here, and we did it,” said BA track coach Barbara Conner. “It went about as well as it could. We had some kids hit personal best yesterday, and you can’t fuss about that.”
    Lacy Robins pulled a hamstring, possibly hindering the team’s chances at a top spot, but the Lady Gators pulled together at the right time.
    Ava Miller finished first and second in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles, respectively. Miller had her best time in the 100-meter, finishing with a 17.01 time.
    Koree Jacobs picked up points, placing fourth in both the 800-meter and 3,200-meter run. Mattie Wynn Hendrix finished second in the 3,200-meter run.
    “Hindsight is 20-20. You can always say if so-and-so just would have jumped this or so-and-so would have finished here. But then you look back at it and you notice where some girls beat other girls you didn’t expect,” Conner said.
    In the high jump, Lady Gators’ Sarah Evans and Brianna Rushing had an impressive performance. Rushing, more known for her sprints, decided to try the high jump under the encouragement of coach Conner.
    Not only did Rushing jump past Conner’s expectations, but she qualified for state with a jump of 4-10.
    Sarah Evans also qualified with a jump of 4-11 and finished second overall.
    In the long jump, Hannah Potter finished in second place while Meghan Sikes qualified with her fourth-place finish. Potter also qualified in the triple jump with a distance of 30-8 ¾.
    The Lady Gators also sent a shot-putter to the state competition. Regan Ellis qualified with her third-place finish.
    For the boys’ track team, Seth Brant paced the Gators and scored 29 overall points. Only three athletes at the Region 2-AAA meet scored more points than Brant.
    Brant took home a first-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles while teammate Seth Conner wasn’t far behind in third place with a time of 18.06. Brant also took home a first-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles.
    Kyle Samuels finished in third place with a time of 5:16.00 in the 1,600-meter run.  He also finished third in the 3,200-meter run. Davis Childs placed second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 54.21 and finished second in the 200-meter dash. In the 100-meter dash Jarvis Williams and Jack Fortune finished second and third, respectively. Williams also placed fourth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.46.
    “Overall, I thought we did what we were supposed to do,” said BA coach Ronnie Hodges. “What we have done all year, we get it done with depth. We didn’t win one first place [event] in the Gator Relays, but we won the whole thing. That’s been our biggest thing.”
    Hodges also received Coach of the Year honors in the region for the team’s performance over the year.
    Hodges said one of the biggest surprises of the evening was the performance of Wilson Joiner. Along with finishing fourth in the 800-meter run, Joiner took home first place for the Gators in the pole vault.
    “I told him we needed him to jump for us and we wanted him to get eight or nine feet. I went to do something and came back and [Joiner] told me, ‘Will 11-feet cut it,’” recalled Hodges, laughing.
    The Gators had a solid showing in the field events. Tyce Lovett placed second in the discus and Brant once again qualified in the triple jump. Jarrias Mikell placed second in the high jump with a distance of 5-11.
    Fortune and Alex Cauthen placed second and fourth respectively in the long jump. Hunter Perry qualified for state in the shot put.
    “As a coach, it makes you feel good. You like to see things go well for this team and they work their tails off. Not just for you and track, but many of them play other sports,” said Conner.