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Gators solid on first day at state meet
ba track crop

    ALBANY – Senior Ashley Burke and freshman Mattie Wynn Hendrix combined for eight points in the only event final on Day One of the GISA track and field championships at Hugh Mills Stadium.
    Burke took fourth place in the 1600-meter run and Hendrix finished sixth to leave the Gator girls tied for third at the end of the day. Heritage’s Ruthie Powell won the mile with a 5:09.74. Burke crossed the line at 5:40.60 for five points and Hendrix had a 5:46.68 for three.
    “That’s what we were expecting,” said BA head coach Barbara Conner. “Ashley and Mattie Wynn did exactly what we thought they would. They pulled those points to keep us up there in the standings.”
    Heritage leads the girls’ meet with 10 points while Deerfield-Windsor is second with nine. Bulloch and August Prep are tied for third.
    “If we do what we are anticipating Friday in the field events,” said Conner, “we should take the lead. Field events are our strong point. We need to rack up as many points as possible. Gatewood and Deerfield-Windsor qualified some strong girls in the running events today and will be breathing down our necks on Saturday.”
    The first day of the state meet whittles down the 16 entrants to the best eight for Saturday’s running finals.
    The Lady Gators had two runners qualify; senior Kristin Kingery in the 100m hurdles and the 300m hurdles and senior Page Spence in the 300m hurdles. Kingery had the top time in the intermediate hurdles (48.70) and a 17.91 in the short hurdles. Spence gained a spot in the 300 with a 52.47.
    “The whole day came out the way we had thought,” said Conner. ‘Kristin and Page ran well but I know that Kristin can do better in the 100m hurdles.”
    The fate of the two girls’ 4x100 teams, however, will be learned this morning.
    A major disqualification in the first heat of the race on Thursday afternoon caused the entire heat to be re-run this morning. The results will determine the qualifiers for Saturday’s final. While both of Bulloch’s teams will be involved, the squads will be mixed because of an injury to senior Pate Lomax.
    Lomax, who runs strong legs on both the 4x100 and 4x400 teams, re-injured her right ankle Tuesday night in a playoff soccer match in Atlanta and was wearing a boot Thursday.
    According to Conner, Lomax will compete in her field events today and possibly in the relays Saturday.
    “Her doctors put her in the boot to help protect her ankle as it heals,” said Conner. “She has also been icing it regularly. She can compete but has to put her ankle back in the boot between events. Using our alternates today in the short relay helped her rest the ankle and will allow her to be her best Friday for the field events.”
    In the boys’ meet, freshman Kyle Samuels finished 14th in the 1600m run with a 5:22.14. The McLeod brothers, Kaleb and Jacob, from Trinity Christian School of Dublin turned in incredible times to come in first and second. Kaleb ran a blistering 4:28.86 while younger brother Jacob had a 4:37.86.  
    The senior duo of Dylan Stuckey and Atys Cope qualified in both hurdles and led the 4x100 meter team. Stuckey had times of 17.54 (100m hurdles) and 43.08 (300m hurdles) while Cope crossed the line at 17.39 (100m hurdles) and 44.92 (300m hurdles). Both ran legs, along with junior Jarves Williams and sophomore Jack Fortune, on the qualifying short-relay team, which qualified with a 46.12. Williams also qualified for the 100m dash, dashing across the line with an 11.72.