May 3, 2014

Salinas, Richardson earn points in 800-meter runs

From Staff Reports

— One day after Isabel Salinas earned team points at the GHSA track and field state meet with a fifth-place finish in the 1,600-meter run, she put her name among the best 800 runners in Class 4A.

The Southeast Whitfield sophomore finished seventh in the 800 run Saturday at Albany’s Hugh Mills Stadium with a time of 2 minutes, 25.34 seconds. Murray County’s Katlyn Richardson finished eighth in the Class 2A 800 run with a time of 2:34.97. Both runners qualified for the finals in Thursday’s preliminaries. This was the last of three days for girls competition.

Salinas won the Region 7-4A meet in the 800 and finished fourth at the Class 4A “A” sectional meet at Carrollton High School. She qualified for the 800 final with a preliminary run Thursday of 2:25.52.

“She ran a little bit faster today than she did on Thursday,” Southeast coach Mike Durham said. “You always want to win.”

Salinas and the rest of the pack were chasing Marist’s Caitie Faust, and she was too fast to be caught. Four runners finished under 2:20, but Faust was a blistering 2:15.89, finishing more than two seconds faster than Woodland’s Jillian Sloane.

Salinas ran a 5:30.04 in Friday’s 1,600 run and finished fifth, the best among any local competitor so far.

The boys’ state meet will begin next Thursday at Memorial Stadium in Jefferson.

With two years ahead of her, any improvement from Salinas could result in state championships.

“That depends on how hard she works,” Durham said. “If we put in the work and time, absolutely we have a chance to keep moving up that board.”

Richardson, a junior, won the Region 7-2A title in the 800 and finished seventh at the Class 2A “B” sectional at Greater Atlanta Christian Schoo. She was converted from primarily running the 1,600 event. She ran a 2:33 in the preliminary run to finish eighth overall.

“All in all, she did fantastic,” Murray County coach Sam Young said, “because the prelim she ran Thursday was the fifth or sixth time competing in the 800. She’s one of the toughest runners I’ve ever had. ... She will make some noise next year. I have no doubt.”

Bleckley County’s Ellen Powell was the only sub-2:20 finisher in Class 2A, winning with a time of 2:19.44. No one else in the field eclipsed 2:23.

Along with Salinas and Richardson, Northwest Whitfield’s Analeigh Hopkins finished sixth in the Class 4A pole vault.

Also, Dalton’s Adrianna Bryant finished eighth in the Class 4A triple jump as the four earning points this week with top-eight finishes.