From Staff Reports
Northwest Whitfield High School’s Shelby Wilson captured her second medal in two days on Saturday at the Class 4A girls state track and field meets at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany, while Dalton’s Susan Meinders nabbed her second 300-meter hurdles medal in as many years.
Wilson finished fourth in the 800-meter race with a time of 2 minutes, 19.43 seconds. Meinders finished fifth in the hurdles with a time of 45.28 seconds.
Wilson’s first lap was around 63 seconds, and she said it’s usually six or seven seconds slower.
“It was an incredibly fast start,” Wilson said. “I know the two girls leading were definitely strong throughout. They had a lot of gas at the end. On the first lap around, me and one girl were trying to fight it out to get in the third spot. We were all fighting for it.
“Going out so fast, that drained me a little bit. I was really thinking about pumping my arms, but I was definitely running on fumes. The girl that beat me had a great kick.”
Eagles Landing’s Devonna Hill won the event with a time of 2:15.01, followed by Woodland Stockbridge’s Michaela McGhee (2:17.29) and Jillian Sloane (2:18.13) and Marist’s Caitie Faust (2:19.03).
Lady Bruins coach Shelley Rickett agreed that Wilson’s quicker-than-usual start affected her later on.
“(The fast start) was the biggest thing,” Rickett said, “The time doesn’t even reflect the way the race unfolded. It was such a fast start. She put herself in contention through the 400, but those girls were able to hang on to that pace. That fast start took so much out of her. There were three girls that were out front, and it was strong race. 2:19 is a great time. You come to the state to win, and she set herself up to have a shot. She took the risk to stay with them. They were able to hold onto that pace.”
The top eight in each event earn medals. It is the fifth medal for Wilson, who finished second in the 1,600 on Friday. She won two medals as a freshman and one as a junior.
Meinders trailed Rutland’s Adriunna Brown (43.31), Monroe Albany’s Chakeriah Fletcher (43.41), Fayette County’s Chinyere Njoku (44.14) and Redan’s Shequilla McClain (44.25) in the 300 hurdles.
Meinders won the event’s Class 3A state title last year. This year was the third medal of her high school career, as she finished seventh in the event her sophomore season.
“I feel like this wasn’t how I wanted to go out senior year,” Meinders said. “In the same way, God has a plan for everything. ... No matter what happens, I’m going to glorify him.
“I had awesome coaching and I think I worked hard and did the best I could.”
Meinders, who signed an athletic scholarship to continue her track and field career at the University of Northern Colorado, was one of The Daily Citizen’s two 2012 All-Area Spring Female Athletes of the Year, with the other being Dalton golfer Brendie Rockholt.
“Last year she broke her own school record four times in the 300 hurdles,” Dalton coach Pam Brackett said. “We won’t see another athlete like Susan Meinders for a while.”
Marist won the team championship with 57.5 points, followed by Redan (50), Rutland (38), Shaw (34) and Fayette County (34). Dalton finished 15th with 14.5 points, and Northwest finished 19th with 12 points.
Teams received 10 points for a first place, eight for second, six for third, five for a fourth, four for fifth, three for sixth, two for seventh and one for eighth.