Southeast High School Raiders

April 26, 2014

Sectionals for sisters

Fraternal twins looking for a return to state meet

TUNNEL HILL — When you consider all of the hours of practice, all of the years of gymnastics training and the physical demands of being a cheerleader, the last word you would expect to hear an athlete use to describe herself is “lazy.”

But that is the word that Northwest Whitfield High School junior Analeigh Hopkins used to describe herself earlier this week as she prepares to compete at the Class 4A “A” Sectional at Carrollton High School today. Maybe that is because Hopkins is qualified in just one event — the pole vault. Her fraternal twin sister McKinley will be competing in three events.

“I did track in middle school, but my freshman year, I just didn’t want to when we got to high school because I am lazy,” Analeigh Hopkins said.

Analeigh won the Region 7-4A title with a vault of 8 feet, 6 inches for her new personal best. McKinley was the region champion in the 100-meter hurdles and finished second in the 300 hurdles and the triple jump. The top four finishers in each event from region advance to the state sectionals. At today’s sectional event, the top eight finishers in field events will advance to state. In running events, there will be two heats with the top finishers in each heat and the top four fastest times (for a total of six) advancing to state.

The Hopkins sisters both advanced to state last year, and are hoping to duplicate that performance this year.

McKinley has been actively involved with hurdles and the triple jump since she began running track in sixth grade at Westside Middle School. Analeigh has been competing in pole vault for a little over a year. In fact, her first competition came at last year’s Region 7-4A meet.

“(Former Northwest coach Chad) Brewer convinced me to come out and do pole vault last year,” Analeigh said. “Region was my first meet last year, and I finished fourth and then made it out of sectionals and went to state. I am looking forward to placing at state this year.”

She has come a long way — or should it be said she has reached new heights — in a short time. She credits her cheerleading and gymnastics background with helping her take to the vault so quickly.

“It is a lot more of a mental thing than anything else,” she said. “You have to be able to run fast and be coordinated, but it is more of a mental challenge to have your hands in the right spot and do all of the little things that can help you go higher. They say that cheerleaders are good at it if they are good tumblers, and I have always tumbled. Most people, their problems come from being scared.”

McKinley, who is also an outside hitter for the Lady Bruins’ volleyball team, said the pair will be rooting for each other and for the other to earn a medal at state this year.

“A lot of people ask us if we are rivals, but it isn’t really like that since we are doing such different stuff,” said McKinley, who set the school record in the 100 and 300 hurdles last year. “We just try to lift each other up and help the other one do their best.”

The sisters were born on Nov. 20, 1996, with Analeigh beating her sister to the finish line by four minutes. Most people who meet the girls together don’t think they are sisters.

“We are totally different, our personalities are different, and she is a little smarter than me,” Analeigh said. “Our friends are exactly the same. Surprisingly, we have the exact same friends, and I guess we fit in with our friends because we are so different. People don’t believe us when we tell them that we are sisters. We don’t look anything alike — we are just both tall and have blond hair. But she is my best friend.”

And they will be cheering for each other the loudest.

“There really is no competition between us,” McKinley said. “We just tell each other good luck and know that the other one is rooting hard for the other to get a win.”

Text Only
Southeast High School Raiders
  • 7on7 championship game6.jpg Bringing in the best

    When high school football coaches look for events to take their teams to during the summer, they are looking for three things — top competition, organization and hospitality.
    For The Daily Citizen’s Southeastern 7-on-7 Championship, the Dalton community and local business leaders take care of the latter. The tournament officials work tirelessly to provide the organization. And the two combined assure the top competition will show up.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • NW softball state championship file 1 mlh.jpg In the lineup again

    When Northwest Whitfield repeated as the Georgia High School Association Class 4A softball state champion last fall, that appeared to be the last time the majority of the Lady Bruins’ senior class would be teammates on the diamond.
    Now, thanks to the Stump on Sports All-Star Softball Classic, five of those six seniors will reunite to play together one more time.

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Junior golf: Hicks able to hang for final round

    Despite giving up a few strokes from Monday’s opening round of 4-over-par 76, Dalton’s Landon Hicks was the only local competitor to advance to the third round of the Georgia Junior Championships.

    June 18, 2014

  • Isabel Salinas 5 mlh.jpg All-Area Spring Female Team: Salinas hoping things keep getting better and better with age

    Isabel Salinas’ freshman season for Southeast Whitfield High School’s track and field team wasn’t up to her standards, and she really isn’t sure why it ended up that way in 2013. It could have been her injuries. It could have been not being in proper shape.
    One thing Salinas, nicknamed “Izzy” by friends and coaches, does know is that her sophomore year went a lot better.

    June 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • poty seth.jpg All-Area Baseball Team and Player of the Year

    As a freshman at Northwest Whitfield High School, Seth Pierce came out of nowhere and was as dominant a pitcher as the area had. Finishing his “rookie” season with the Bruins, the left-handed Pierce led the area with nine victories — he also had one save — and showed overpowering dominance with a 9-3 record and 89 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. He finished his first season on the hill in Tunnel Hill with a 1.71 ERA while allowing 61 hits and 23 walks. Those numbers were also recorded against competition in a higher classification as the Bruins were playing Class 4A ball when the state had just five classifications. His performance earned him honors as 2012 The Daily Citizen All-Area Baseball Player of the Year.

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • State soccer: Raiders come up a goal short

    GAINESVILLE — Southeast Whitfield High School’s boys soccer team needed at least one break to go its way against Johnson-Gainesville in Tuesday’s Class 4A state semifinals.
    Even when the Raiders believed they had earned a break, they didn’t receive the credit.

    May 14, 2014

  • Lumpkin at SE soccer 1 mlh.jpg Prep boys soccer: Different routes for Dalton, SE

    The boys soccer teams at Dalton and Southeast Whitfield high schools are eyeing a return to the Class 4A state title game.
    But while they share a common ambition, the routes the Catamounts and Raiders must take to reach the championship on May 17 at Kennesaw State University are taking a different turn tonight.

    May 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • SE signing 1 CW.jpg Prep volleyball: SE libero Paloblanco to Temple

    In volleyball, the libero position is limited to playing on the back row and specializes in defensive contributions.
    Southeast Whitfield High School senior Yasmeen Paloblanco wasn’t limited in what she meant to the Lady Raiders, though, and her ability to excel as a libero is helping her remain on the court as she heads to college.

    May 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • harper signing1.jpg Challenges met

    Since he was very young, Southeast Whitfield High School senior Rhett Harper has often had a ball in his hand, with another game to play or a practice somewhere on his calendar.

    April 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hopkins sisters 2 mlh.jpg Sectionals for sisters

    TUNNEL HILL — When you consider all of the hours of practice, all of the years of gymnastics training and the physical demands of being a cheerleader, the last word you would expect to hear an athlete use to describe herself is “lazy.”

    April 26, 2014 1 Photo