Abigail Lapp notched a pair of top-four finishes, and four male runners combined for 10 points in the relay races to lead the Bethlehem Christian Academy track and field team last week in the GISA Class AAA state meet at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany.

The Lady Knights finished eighth out of 15 schools with 25 totals points, while Pinewood Christian won the team title with 92 points. And the BCA boys finished ninth out of 17 schools with 22 points, with John Milledge Academy (144.5) claiming the team championship.

It was the highest finish for both BCA teams since moving up to AAA and an encouraging season for the program in its first year under head coach Bruce Lane.

“Overall, it was a very successful season for our team, and we had some great accomplishments,” Lane said. “I’m just proud of how the kids competed all year.”

Lapp, competing in her final meet, finished third in the 800-meter run (2:35.55) and fourth in the 1,600-meter run (6:06.13) to rack up 11 individual points. She also teamed up with Morgan Daniel, Autumn Shepherd and Natalie Wellborn to finish fourth in the 4x400-meter relay (4:37.34).

Daniel, in her first year participating in track, finished third in the discus (87 feet, 4 inches), an event she set a school record in of 92 feet at the Region 4-AAA meet last month, while Shepherd, who will sign with Truett McConnell next week, compiled 6 individual points, placing sixth in the triple jump (29 feet, 7.5 inches), seventh in the 300-meter hurdles (53.65 seconds) and eighth in the 100-meter hurdles (19.08 seconds).

“Abigail did a good job all year with those mid-distance races and being the first leg on the relays and is obviously going to be missed,” Lane said. “Autumn came into the year as a specialist in the triple jump and 300 hurdles, but we moved her into the 100 hurdles and both relays as well and she did a good job. You have to be a pretty special athlete to do five events, and we had a good number of those types of kids this year.”

In the boys’ state meet, BCA’s relay quartet of Simon Steele, Timothy Doolittle, Chad Norwood and Elijah Goddard accounted for 10 of the Knights’ points, finishing third in the 4x400-meter relay (3:38.42) and fifth in the 4x100-meter relay (45.25 seconds).

“That’s definitely a group of guys who saved their best for last and at the right time,” Lane said of the relay team, which smashed the school 4x400 record by about 10 seconds this season.

Goddard also collected 6 individual points with a fifth-place finish in the 400-meter dash (53.79 seconds) and eighth-place showing in the high jump (5 feet, 6 inches), and Norwood took eighth in the 100-meter dash (11.77 seconds).

The Knights got sixth-place finishes from Thomas Wilson in the 110-meter hurdles (17.85 seconds) and Jesse Hutchinson in the discus (106 feet, 11 inches).

After BCA missed 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lane considered 2021 a “foundation-laying year” as the program saw stronger numbers with 22 male and 12 female athletes this spring. Lane’s next goal is to begin a middle school developmental program to keep the numbers increasing at the high school level.

“Just as we’ve created some interest in athletes on campus, we’ve also gotten some more interest from people in coaching,” Lane said. “Obviously, the foundation is at the middle school level. You want to get them in early and let them fall in love with track. It’s just a great avenue for kids to go out there and compete.”

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