A LITTLE rain never hurt anybody. At least that’s the way the Jefferson track and field teams looked at it.
With steady showers drenching Memorial Stadium Friday, both the Dragons and Lady Dragons put the finishing touches on a pair of region titles on the second and final day of the Region 8-AA meets.
The Jefferson boys won four events Friday and finished with 192 points, easily distancing themselves from second-place Riverside Military Academy (122).
“It was a great day,” boys’ coach Tim Corbett said. “The kids did well in these conditions. I mean, it’s terrible. But at this time of year, you hate to put things off because your window of opportunity gets smaller and smaller ... Everybody’s got to gear it up and get it done, so we said let’s just do it.”
Winning region championships Friday were James Howard (400 meters, 51.48 seconds), Tradd Porter (800 meters, 2:05.62), Dalton Hill (300-meter hurdles, 40.88 seconds) and the 4x400 meter relay team (T.J. Skelton, Howard, Hill and Porter, 3:34.31).
Jefferson also earned 12 more qualifying spots on Friday for the upcoming sectionals.
Corbett said practically everyone either met or exceeded expectations.
“You see it on paper and you know what you’re supposed to do based on what you’ve done before but it doesn’t always happen like that,” he said. “But pretty much without exception today (Friday), everybody came through.”
The Dragons’ Friday showing followed a Wednesday performance during which the team won three events and earned 11 qualifying spots for sectionals, tallying 89 points on the first day.
Winning region titles on day one were Satchel Turpin (high jump, 6-2), Mason Hamrick (pole vault, 13-6) and Max Higgins (1,600 meters, 4:48.20).
This was the Dragons’ second consecutive team region championship.
On the girls’ side, Jefferson finished with 189 points to secure back-to-back region titles for the first time since 1984-1985. The Lady Dragons finished well ahead of second-place Rabun County (114 points).
This wasn’t the first time Jefferson has had to run in the rain, girls’ coach Chad Cheatham pointed out.
“It was kind of like the state meet last year,” he said. “We seem to run better in these kinds of conditions. Our kids are tough and we teach that.”
The Lady Dragons won three events in Friday’s watery conditions, with Camille Porter (800 meters, 2:27.17), Reese Bowles (3,200 meters, 12:42.48) and the 4x400 meter relay team of Jaclyn Coleman, Savannah Dale, Porter and Madison Dills (4:13.35) all claiming region tiles. Jefferson also earned 12 qualifying spots for sectionals during the day.
“The girls just showed out,” Cheatham said.
That performance came after winning two events Wednesday — Abby Carson won the pole vault (8-6) and Maggie Newman won the discus (104-5) — and qualifying nine athletes in seven different events for sectionals.
Jefferson finished with 84 points on day one.
All boys’ and girls’ sectional qualifiers will compete April 26 at Greater Atlanta Christian. The top eight competitors in each event advance to the state meets in Jefferson (boys) and Albany (girls).
Corbett said he has looked ahead a bit to that meet, noting that Calhoun qualified several athletes out of its region.
“We’ll see if our quality can match up with theirs,” Corbett said.
He added that Westminister and GAC “are both going to be really strong.”
As for the girls’ sectionals, Cheatham is bracing for the competition.
“Oh, gosh, don’t ask me,” he said. “Lovett, Westminster, GAC and Wesleyan … I’m not saying we’re not comparable. We’re comparable in a lot of spots. But they’re tough. Distance-wise, they’re tough. But we’re tough, too … I hope I’ve got to order more rooms in Albany. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
It’s been a banner year for both the programs so far, and in sweeping the region meets, both coaches note the chemistry that has existed within the track program this spring.
“I’m just proud of our kids — boys, too,” Cheatham said. “We haven’t been this strong boys and girls-wise since probably about 2005.”
Said Corbett, “A lot of schools, their (boys and girls) teams are really separate entities, but I think our boys and girls really pull for each other and motivate each other.”
Corbett also pointed out that several members of the track program not competing at region stood out in the rain Friday regardless to support their teammates.
“We had a pretty good representation even though I pretty much let them go if they didn’t qualify,” he said.
What’s more, some of the non-qualifying athletes stayed on voluntarily during the week leading up to region to practice and push those who would be competing.
“It’s very selfless,” Corbett said. “They’ve gone out there to be good teammates and in some ways to prepare for the future because they know next year is coming.”
Friday qualifiers — girls
•Jaclyn Coleman, fourth, 100 meters (13.66).
•Savannah Dale, second, 400 meters (1:04.82).
•Madison Dills, third, 400 meters (1:05.63).
•Camille Porter, first, 800 meters (2;27.17).
•Reese Bowles, first, 3,200 meters (12:42.48).
•Andrea Wolfrey, fourth, 3,200 meters (15:27.39).
•Abby Carson, fourth, 100-meter hurdles (17.68).
•Taylor Love, second, 300-meter hurdles (49.89)
•Jerilyn Williamson, third, 300-meter hurdles (52.59).
•4 x 100 meter relay (Mackenzie Wells, Jaclyn Coleman, Savannah Dale, Taylor Love), third (53.32).
•4 x 400 meter relay (Coleman, Dale, Camille Porter, Madison Dills), first (4:13.35).
•4 x 400 meter relay (Williamson, Bragg, Wells, Love), third, 4:34.14).
Wednesday qualifiers — girls
•Reese Bowles, second, 1,600 meters (5:53.85).
•Morgan Mitchell, third, 1,600 meters (6:01.96).
•Mackenzie Wells, second, high jump (5-00).
•Abby Carson, first, pole vault (8-06).
•Heather Perry, second, pole vault (7-00).
•Jaclyn Coleman, third, long jump (15-07).
•Camille Porter, second, triple jump (31-02).
•Abby Carson, third, triple jump (30-09).
•Maggie Newman, fourth, shot put (29-02.5).
•Maggie Newman, first, discus (104-05).
Friday qualifiers — boys
•T.J. Skelton, fourth, 200 meters (23.69).
•James Howard, first, 400 meters (51.48).
•T.J. Skelton, third, 400 meters (53.47).
•Tradd Porter, first, 800 meters (2:05.62).
•Josh Reid, second, 800 meters (2:10.08).
•Addison Cochran, second, 3,200 meters (10:33.12).
•Dalton Hill, second, 110-meter hurdles (15.76).
•Dalton Hill, first, 300-meter hurdles (40.88).
•Connor McCullough, second, 300-meter hurdles (41.88).
•4 x 100 meter relay (Skelton, Howard, Hill, Satchel Turpin), third (44.15).
4 x 400 meter relay (Skelton, Howard, Hill, Tradd Porter, first (3:34.31).
4 x 400 meter relay (Turpin, Jacob Adams, Sylar Hanley, Alex Parrish), third, 3:37.01
Wednesday qualifiers — boys
•Max Higgins, first, 1,600 meters (4:48.20).
•Satchel Turpin, first, high jump (6-02).
•Luke Wells, third, high jump (5-10).
•Mason Hamrick first, pole vault (13-06).
•James Howard, second, pole vault (12-06).
•Satchel Turpin, second, long jump (19-11.50).
•Dalton Hill, fourth, long jump (19-06).
•Satchel Turpin, third, triple jump (42-06.5).
•T.J. Skelton, fourth, triple jump (40-08).
•Ethan Hix, third, shot put (45-06.75); third, discus (130-04).
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