From Staff Reports
Dalton High School leads the area with four competitors, including one hopeful of repeating her championship performance from 2011, as the Georgia High School Association’s girls track and field state meets begin three days of competition today in Albany.
All of the GHSA’s classifications will be at Hugh Mills Stadium to vie for places on the medal stand. That includes Class A private, Class A public, plus Classes 2A through 6A.
Competition begins at 9:30 a.m. with field events for Classes A, 2A and 3A. A second session starts at 4 p.m., with preliminaries in all running events — save the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs — for Classes 2A, 3A and 4A. The finals for both the 1,600 for Classes 5A and 6A and the 3,200 for Classes A, 2A, 3A and 4A are set for this evening.
On Friday, the day’s early session will feature field finals for Classes 4A, 5A and 6A. The day’s late afternoon session will have preliminaries in all running events — save the 1,600 and 3,200 — for Classes 5A and 6A, plus the finals for the 1,600 for Classes A, 2A, 3A and 4A and the 3,200 for Classes 5A and 6A.
On Saturday, the 11:15 a.m. opening ceremonies will be followed by the remaining track finals.
In Class 4A, Dalton’s Susan Meinders, a senior who has signed with the University of Northern Colorado, will go for her second straight state title in the 300 hurdles and her third state medal in that event. With the Lady Cats previously competing in Class 3A, Meinders took seventh as a sophomore before winning last year’s crown — it followed region and sectional titles, feats she has already repeated this year — with a time of 44.21 seconds.
Meinders is joined by teammates Bekah Houston (1,600), Caroline Norman (pole vault) and Massey Swanson (pole vault) in Albany. Houston won a medal with an eighth-place finish in the Class 3A 800 a year ago.
Also in 4A, Northwest has three competitors, including three-time state medalist Shelby Wilson (1,600), who took seventh place in both the 800 and 1,600 as a freshman and was fifth in the 800 last season. She’ll be joined by teammates Analeigh Hopkins (pole vault) and McKinley Hopkins (100 hurdles).
Southeast Whitfield’s Wendy Perez (discus) is the area’s other representative in Class 4A.
In Class 3A, North Murray’s Megan Pittman (discus) and Coahulla Creek’s A.T. Smith (long jump) are the area’s representatives. The pair of sophomores are both back at state for the second straight year and looking for their first state medals. It would also be only the second state medal for Pittman’s Lady Mountaineers and the first for Smith’s Lady Colts, who are in their second year of competition. The Lady Mountaineers’ Gabrielle Rodgers was fourth in the Class 2A long jump in 2011.
In Class 2A, Murray County has a pair of field qualifiers as Shea Pendley competes in shot put and Catlyn Wilson competes in discus.