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Lady Gators finish third in state competition
Kristin Kingery in the 100m hurdles
Kristin Kingery runs neck-in-neck with Pinewood's Helen McClendon in the 100-meter hurdles Saturday in the Class AAA girls state championship.

ALBANY – Work hard, be humble and good things will happen.
    That was Bulloch Academy senior Kristin Kingery’s motto this Spring and it paid off Saturday with a state championship in the Class AAA girls’ 300-meter hurdles at the GISA state track and field championships.
    “Last year, I was too confident, got big headed and I wound up getting beat,” she said. “This year was a lot better because I knew I had a lot of great competition and I would have to work really hard to win.”
    Kingery’s victory helped the Bulloch girls stay ahead of Gatewood for the team runner-up trophy for most of the day. But the two 4x400 relay squads of the Lady Gators from Eatonton placed higher in the final event of the day (second and fourth) than those of the Statesboro school (third and eighth). Deerfield-Windsor from Albany won the team title with 134.5 points, Gatewood was second with 96.5 and Bulloch was third with 92.5 in the 19-team meet.
    The lanky blonde stayed grounded before the intermediate hurdles because she knew that she would be battling Gatewood’s Lilly Bridges.
    “I knew I would have to start off fast and finish fast because the girl from Gatewood is quick,” said Kingery. “But when I hit the back straightaway, I couldn’t see her even though I knew she was there somewhere. I was just going to keep running until I didn’t see her. As soon as I finished the last hurdle, I almost started crying because she still wasn’t there.”
    Kingery crossed the line at 47.52 and the win helped her finish fourth for the division’s high-point award with 21.75 points. She also had a sixth-place effort in the 100m hurdles (17.53) and she ran legs on the third-place 4x400m team (4:15.83 with seniors Page Spence, Ashley Burke and Pate Lomax) and the fourth-place 4x100m team (53.08 with Spence, Lomax and freshman Regan Cope). On Friday, Kingery had a third in the long jump.
    Bulloch had two state runners-up; Burke in the 3200m run (12:36.82) and senior Dylan Stuckey in the 300 hurdles (42.35).
    Stuckey also had a fourth in the 100m hurdles (17.15) and ran legs on the third-place 4x400m team (3:36.21 with senior Atys Cope, sophomore Davis Childs and freshman Seth Brant) and the eighth-place 4x100m foursome (46.25 with Cope, junior Jarves Williams and sophomore Jack Fortune).
    Other top finishers were freshman Mattie Wynn Hendrix (third in the 3200m run, 12:39.62), Cope (fourth in the 300m hurdles, 44.46 and seventh in the 110 hurdles, 17.83), Spence (fifth in the 300m hurdles, 51.13), Williams (eighth in the 100m dash, 12.02) and the number two 4x400m relay team of Hendrix, sophomore Dailey Averitt and freshmen McKenzie Crooms and Koree Jacobs (eighth, 4:26.55).
    The Gator guys, who accumulated 10 points on Friday, added 28 more Saturday to finish sixth out of 19 teams. Trinity Christian of Dublin won the AAA meet with 123 points. Deerfield-Windsor was second (87), TCS of Sharpsburg was third (53), Gatewood was fourth (50) and Tiftarea from Chula was five (39.5).
    Brentwood School of Sandersville ran away with the AA girls’ meet, scoring 183.5 points for the easy win. Robert Toombs Christian of Lyons was second (100) and Briarwood of Warrenton took third (51). Robert Toombs did the same in the boys’ meet, tallying 127.5 points. Brentwood was second (69) and Briarwood was third (67). Complete results can be found on the GISA website under athletics.