Last Thursday, the Tiger track and field teams battled through less-than-ideal conditions to come out on top of the competition at the Area 4-A meet.
Both the Commerce High School boys’ and girls’ track teams needed strong performances in the final events of the afternoon to seal dual championship victories. Both teams delivered as the Tigers took home two championship trophies and qualified 20 athletes for the Class A Sectionals in Mitchell County this weekend.
“They rose to the occasion,” said Tiger coach Kendall Love.
Love said that both teams faced some uncertainty heading into the Area 4-A meet in Watkinsville last week. Because Class A is split into only four areas, the Tigers were competing with teams from a wide region of the state – many of which that Commerce would not see in the regular season. But Love was hoping that a season of “intense preparation and hard work” would pay off.
“We’ve been working hard all year,” he said. “We keep getting better performances and better (personal records). We felt confident, but it’s always hard to tell.”
The Lady Tigers took first place with a score of 131, edging Georgia Military College (125) and Gordon Lee (112).
The Commerce boys finished with 133 points, skating by Hancock Central (126) and Georgia Military College (114) in the final events of the meet.
The Tigers will aim to advance several athletes to the state meet this Saturday at sectionals. Commerce qualified for sectionals in 31 individual events and four relays – which bodes well in what Love called “a numbers game.”
“We’ve got good numbers going in,” Love said. “We feel good about the numbers we advanced out of area. We are pleased so far. Our job this weekend is to get them through to the state.”
The top eight finishers in running events and the top nine in field events will qualify for the state meets in Albany (girls) and Jefferson (boys).
And the more athletes the Tigers advance to state, the greater the possibility that Commerce could bring home a state championship.
“Quality is obviously important, but you need quantity as well,” added Love.
Lady Tiger Cameron Hawkins was awarded with the high-point trophy for the Area 4-A meet. Hawkins finished first in the 800-meter run (2:49.44) and the triple jump (32-08.5), and third in the long jump (15-07.5). She also competed on the Lady Tiger relay teams.
Qua Colbert finished first in the boys’ shot put with a distance of 44-08.5.
Other top results from the Area 4-A meet were:
Girls – Zoey Forrester, second, 100-meter hurdles; Lily Mather, third, 100-meter hurdles, second, 300-meter hurdles and second, high jump; Jennifer McCannon, third, 1600-meter run; Madison Rodriguez, fourth, 1600-meter run and second, 800-meter run; Sydney McClure, third, 300-meter hurdles and fourth, high jump; Anna Flint, third, discus; Rachel Floyd, fourth, discus; and Hannah Crumley, fourth, long jump.
Boys – Jamir Walton, third, 100-meter run and second, triple jump; Tretez Barksdale, fourth, 100-meter run, fourth, 200-meter run and fourth, high jump; Jalen Walton, fourth, 110-meter hurdles; Nahum Mendoza, second, 1600-meter run and second, 3200-meter run; Chandler Brian, third, 1600-meter run and third, 800-meter run; Dominik Lageder, fourth, 3200-meter run; Grant Mayberry, third, 400-meter run; Jose Rodriguez, second, 800-meter run; Tony Patman, fourth, discus; and Adrian Vaquera, third, shot put.
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