May 11, 2013

Girls track and field: Three more area athletes place in Albany

From Staff Reports
sports@daltoncitizen.com

— Northwest Whitfield’s Shelby Wilson took second place in the 1,600-meter run and Dalton’s Massey Swanson and Caroline Norman both earned top-four finishes in pole vault competition Friday during the Georgia High School Association Class 4A state meet.

All three are seniors on their last trip to Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany, where all of the GHSA’s classifications are competing in their respective state meets, which finish today.

Wilson’s time of 5 minutes, 14.20 seconds was seven seconds behind Marist’s Morgan Ilse, who was a wire-to-wire winner.

“She actually ran a very smart race,” Lady Bruins coach Shelley Rickett said of Wilson. “I knew (Ilse) could run a 5:04, but I didn’t tell (Wilson) that because I thought she might get intimidated. So the girl went out and Shelby was in the top six or so and got boxed in. At about 300 meters, she broke out and got right behind (Ilse) and stayed behind her until about 300 meters to go when the girl just started pulling away. ... It was a two-person race until about 300 meters to go.”

Wilson said she was glad Rickett held back the information on Ilse’s personal best because “I wouldn’t have thought I could stay with her.”

It was the fourth state medal — the top eight finishers in each event place — of Wilson’s high school career. She finished seventh in the 1,600 and 800 as a freshman, and she finished fifth in the 800 last season. She’ll compete in the 800 final today after winning her qualifying heat Thursday.

Dalton’s Bekah Houston finished 14th in the 1,600 with a time of 5:41.32.

In pole vault, Swanson was third with a vault of 9 feet, while Norman tied Marist’s Anne Marie Simoneaux for fourth at 8-6. Alexander’s Ashton Matson won with a jump of 10-0, followed by Westover’s Kayla Kirkland (9-6).

Swanson and Norman are the school’s first pole vaulters to place at state, Lady Catamounts coach Pam Brackett said.

“Massey tied Caroline’s school record of 9 feet from last year,” Brackett added. “So they now both have the school record of 9 feet.”

Northwest’s Analeigh Hopkins competed but did not place. The opening height was 8-0, and Hopkins was one of 10 vaulters who didn’t clear it.

Southeast Whitfield’s Wendy Perez finished 13th in the discus at 96-3.

In addition to Wilson, Dalton’s Susan Meinders will compete in the 300 hurdles today, going for her second state title in a row in the event.