The Bulloch Academy boys’ and girls’ track teams have had two overwhelming early-season victories headed into a tell-tale meet at Stratford Academy next week.
“Our kids have looked great in the past two meets but the true tests for our teams will be next week in Macon,” said BA head girls’ track and field coach Barbara Conner. “We’ll get the chance to see how we match up against the Triple-A powerhouses. We’ll see several of the bigger schools like host Stratford, Westfield and Deerfield-Windsor.”
The Bulloch girls are the reigning Class AAA state champions and have started off the season strong.
On March 12, the Lady Gators won a seven-team meet, scoring 124 points and winning 12 of 16 events. This past Wednesday, the Bulloch girls netted 194 points in an eight-team meet for the win and won 10 events.
“Considering how many injuries we have,” said Conner, “we’ve been doing well.”
Senior Danielle Atkinson, junior Pate Lomax, freshman Mikay Sands and eighth grader Koree Jacobs have all suffered injury. Atkinson, a pole vaulter and member of the relay teams, will be able to return but Lomax, Sands and Jacobs will not.
“Dailey Averitt has been helping fill in at the high jump (Lomax’s signature event) and the 400m dash,” said Conner. “Other additions have been Kristin Kingery (hurdles), Maddie Wynn Hendrix (distance) and Alivia Collins (discus and shot). We’ve also got a lot of young girls who are continuing to learn and grow in the sport.”
Reigning shot put state champion Chelsea Oglesby and state runner-up in distance Ashley Burke lead an experienced group which also includes Page Spence and Heather Jacobs.
“Chelsea and Ashley are starting about as strong as they left off at the state meet last year,” said Conner. “We are going to work hard to keep improving and hopefully repeat as state champions.”
The varsity boys have crushed their opponents.
On March 12, the Gator guys netted 208 points for a 58-point victory in a seven-team meet. Last Wednesday, Bulloch racked up 212 points for an 88-point win in a 10-team meet. Bulloch won nine first places in each meet but depth and experience was the real key.
Seniors to sub-freshmen are contributing to the cause as the Gators get better day by day.
Seniors Matt Sheppard, Eddie Howard, Ja’Darius Smith and John Paul Padilla are leading the way in the sprints. Classmate Christopher Williams is the man in the distance races while Daniel Hendrix has a strangle hold on the pole vault and the 400m dash. Will Bohlke has been making his presence known in the jumping events. Together, the senior group makes up very formidable relays teams.
Juniors Atys Cope, Dylan Stuckey and Justin Lane have been performing well in the hurdles. Stuckey has claimed the shot-put win for two weeks in a row.
Freshmen G.C. Kimbrell and Jack Fortune have also been pleasant surprises in the jumping and throwing events.
As with the girls’ team, eighth graders are also learning and growing in the Bulloch’s drive to a possible state championship. But, according to Conner, the rubber meets the road on March 26.