From Staff Reports
Northwest Whitfield High School’s Jonathan Willman was slotted as the 16th seed heading into the long jump event at Saturday’s Georgia High School Association Class 4A Sectional B meet at Carrollton High School.
That’s 16th out of 16 long jumpers.
But Willman went from worst to first with a jump of 23 feet, 1 1/2 inches to win the event and move on to next weekend’s state meet in Jefferson. He was one of 23 local competitors from Coahulla Creek, Dalton, Murray County, North Murray, Northwest and Southeast Whitfield to advance to the state meet. The boys state meet is Thursday through Saturday in Memorial Stadium in Jefferson, while the girls state meets are slated for May 9-11 at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany.
Willman, a senior, also qualified for state in the 100-meter dash, finishing eighth with a time of 10.94 seconds. He was one of eight Northwest boys and girls to advance.
In field events, the top eight finishers advanced to state. In track events, the top eight finishers in both the 1,600-meter run and the 3,200 advanced. For all other running events, no finals were held but the top two finishers in each of two heats plus the next four fastest runners regardless of heat advanced.
“(Willman) was the biggest surprise of the day for any school,” Bruins coach Chad Brewer said.
The other area winner from Saturday’s action was Dalton’s Susan Meinders, who won the Class 4A Sectional B 300 hurdles with a time of 44.43 seconds. Meinders won the 300 hurdles last year at the Class 3A state meet.
Northwest’s other individual male qualifiers were Alex Reynolds (300 hurdles, seventh, 41.41) and Brody Cook (3,200, eighth, 10:16).
Blake Heard, Jalen Lockett, Jamon Horne and Willman (4x100 relay, eighth, 43.09) broke a school record in the event, finishing eighth in 43.09.
For the Lady Bruins, Shelby Wilson (800, second, 2:20; 1,600, second, 5:19) qualified in two events. Analeigh Hopkins finished third in the pole vault, clearing 7 feet, 6 inches.
McKinley Hopkins, Analeigh’s sister, qualified in the 100 hurdles (sixth, 15.38) and 300 hurdles (seventh, 47.91), setting school records in both events.
Bekah Houston finished third in the 1,600 and broke the Lady Catamounts program record with a time of 5:19.59. She also qualified in the 800 (eighth, 2:26).
Caroline Norman (second, 8-6) and Massey Swanson (third, 8-0) both qualified in the pole vault for Dalton, whose lone male qualifier was Jesus Torres (pole vault, seventh, 10-6).
Southeast’s two qualifiers were Jayro Perez (discus, fifth, 136-5) and sister Wendy Perez (discus, eighth, 97-8).
• North Murray saw three competitors do well enough at the Class 3A Sectional A meet at Atlanta’s Lakewood Stadium to advance to next week’s state meet, while Coahulla Creek had two.
The Mountaineers’ Isaac Pacheco finished sixth in two events — the 1,600 (4:43) and the 3,200 (10:02). Brady Swilling (high jump, second, 6-4) was the other North Murray boy to advance. Megan Pittman (discus, fifth, 101-2) was the Lady Mountaineers’ lone qualifier.
The Lady Colts’ lone qualifier was A.T. Smith (long jump, fifth, 17-5; 100, eighth, 12.75), while Josh Foxx (high jump, fourth, 6-0) advanced for the Coahulla Creek boys.
• At the Class 2A Sectional B meet at the Greater Atlanta Christian School, Murray County had three athletes move on.
The Lady Indians’ Shea Pendley finished sixth in the shot put with a throw of 30-6, while Catlyn Wilson finished seventh in the discus with a throw of 90-6.
The lone male from Murray County to qualify for state was Servio Martinez, who did so in the 1,600 (eighth, 4:52) and the 3,200 (sixth, 10:45).