The Commerce Lady Tiger track and field team took third place at the Class A Public State Track and Field Championships last week in Albany.
Commerce earned top-five finishes in eight events and finished with an overall score of 62 points. Gordon Lee took the state championship (81 points), while Marion County finished second (72).
Commerce head coach Chas Hardy had expected his team to be in the running for a state title, and the Tigers lived up to those expectations.
“We thought that if we went down there and everybody performed the way they were expected to or better, then we would put our girls in a position to contend for a trophy,” said Hardy. “We did just that.”
Hardy noted that his team had made significant strides throughout the season, as many of the Commerce competitors posted their best scores of the season last week.
“In track, you always start out at one level, but at the end of the season, you ought to be performing at your optimum level,” Hardy said. “Our kids did that. They took the challenge of competing at state to heart and a lot of our girls put up personal bests. You couldn’t ask for anything more from them.”
Senior Lily Mather placed second in the 100-meter hurdles (16.30), fourth in the 300-meter hurdles (50.87) and fourth in the high jump (4-10). Cameron Hawkins placed fourth in the 800-meter run (2:45.30), fifth in the triple jump (31-10.50) and sixth in the long jump (15-04.25). Zooey Forrester finished third in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.32.
Sydney McClure finished fifth in the 300-meter hurdles (51.50) and sixth in the high jump (4-08), while Madison Rodriguez took seventh in the 800-meter run (2:49.92). Anna Flint took fifth place in the discus throw (96-11), while Rachel Floyd’s throw of 93-08 earned her a seventh-place finish. The girls’ 4x400-meter relay team finished sixth with a time of 4:37.37.
“These girls are phenomenal,” said Hardy in regards to his graduating seniors. “You couldn’t ask for a better group of competitors. They certainly accepted every challenge that came toward them. They came to practice every day ready to work and get better, and that paid dividends to them at the end of the season. Those are character traits they’ll carry through the rest of their lives.”