From Staff Reports
Last season, North Murray High School track and field standout Brady Swilling’s high jump ceiling was 6 feet, 6 inches.
He cleared it on Thursday, but was a bit unlucky.
Swilling still finished second in high jump at the Class 3A state track and field meet at Memorial Stadium in Jefferson. His best jump was 6-4 and that fell just shy of Franklin County’s Deonte Smith, who had a jump of 6-6.
Each high jump competitor is allowed three misses. Swilling used all three of his on 6-6. North Murray coach Andrea Linsley said he cleared the bar on the third try, but fortune’s hand turned the other way.
“The impact of his landing on the mat caused the bar to fall off,” Linsley said, noting that doesn’t happen often.
A senior who plans to walk on with Georgia Tech’s football program next season, this is Swilling’s third state medal in high jump, although the previous two honors came in Class 2A.
After taking fifth in the event as a sophomore, he finished third last year at the Class 2A meet with a jump of 6-4. He was The Daily Citizen’s 2012 Spring Male All-Area Athlete of the Year and was on the newspaper’s 2012 All-Area Football Team after a standout season as North Murray’s quarterback. He also was a member of the Mountaineers’ basketball team, which earned its second straight trip to the state tournament this past season.
“Brady is an all-around athlete,” Linsley said. “He gives everything he’s got in everything he does.”
Coahulla Creek’s Josh Foxx also competed in the Class 3A high jump, taking eighth at 5-10.
All of the classifications within the Georgia High School Association are competing in Jefferson — the meets continue today and finish Saturday — and Northwest Whitfield’s Jonathan Willman had the second best area finish on Thursday.
He earned fifth place in the Class 4A long jump with a best of 22-9, and he’ll try to qualify in both the 100-meter dash and the 4x100 relay. His teammates are Blake Heard, Jamon Horne and Jalen Lockett.
North Murray’s Isaac Pacheco finished seventh in the 1,600 with a time of 4 minutes, 30.19 seconds. He will run the 3,200 today.
Southeast Whitfield’s Jayro Perez threw a 136-1 in the Class 4A discus to finish ninth, while Dalton’s Jesus Torres cleared 10-6 in the Class 4A pole vault to finish 10th.
Murray County’s Servio Martinez finished 13th in the Class 2A 1,600 with a time of 4:56. He will also run the 3,200 today.
• Marist girls 4, Dalton 0: One of the most powerful runs in recent Lady Catamounts’ history was ended by a state power.
Atlanta’s Marist (18-1) dropped a handful of games on the way to its Class 4A state tournament win against visiting Dalton (16-4), which was in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2007. Marist is a 21-time state champion.
The Lady War Eagles swept singles — No. 1 Kelsey Williams beat Courtney Morton, 6-0, 6-0, No. 2 Marielle Williams beat Kara Pendley, 6-1, 6-2, and No. 3 Jenna Kane beat Anna Grace Wilson, 6-0, 6-0. Marist also won on the No. 1 doubles court as Lauren McMurray and Elizabeth Gould topped Sheridan Fromm and Mackenzie Creswell, 6-4, 6-2.
With the overall victory clinched by Region 6 champion Marist, the No. 2 doubles match between Dalton’s Rachel Bakker and Caroline Calfee and Marist’s Anna Swensen and Leigh Peters was not finished. Bakker and Calfee dropped the first set 6-2 before winning the second set by the same score, and the third set was not started.
Dalton won the Region 7-4A title this season for its first league championship since 2008, and the Lady Cats added to their accolades by beating Banneker 5-0 in the opening round and Carrollton 3-1 in the second round. While the year is over now, Dalton coach David Hilley knows it was a very good one while it lasted.
“I don’t know if I expected this when the season started,” he said. “There were a lot of question marks. But we came together as a team, which is really good.
“The first three matches of the year you’re trying to find your lineup and stuff like that, but they really worked hard together and became a team. Everybody pushed everybody to get better, and they all got along. They’re one of my favorite teams I’ve coached just because of that.”
They’re also one of just two Lady Cats teams to reach the quarterfinals in Hilley’s 11 seasons as coach. The 2007 team also lost to Marist. He gives much of the credit for the success to players who won’t return.
“(The players) worked hard in the offseason to achieve what they did, and these seniors were the big thing,” Hilley said. “They worked hard to keep the younger kids focused.
“If we had not had the seniors, I don’t think we would have gone as far as we did. They’re the ones who made the year.”
Dalton loses Bakker, Fromm, Morton, Pendley and Michelle Rogers to graduation.
“That’s tough,” Hilley said. “Other girls are going to have to step up.”