Both Jefferson track and field teams earned their first invitational meet victories of the year and did so on the comforts of their home track.
The Dragons swept the girls’ and boys’ competitions Friday (March 26) at the Jefferson Invitational on senior night with the girls (158.5) winning by 33 points and the boys (138 points) winning by an eight-point margin.
Both teams outpaced region opponent North Oconee to win their respective meets. The girls’ competition had nine teams, while the boys’ had 10.
Katherine Law and Abbey Howard pulled off two victories each to lead the Jefferson girls to their win.
Law earned a double in the 1,600 meters (5:11.17) and 3,200 meters (11:20.29), while Howard topped the field in the 200 meters (26.88) and 100-meter hurdles (15.43).
The 4 x 100 meter team of Josie Logins, Ava Canamare, Hannah Perkins and Howard also took first-place gold (50.53).
Josie Loggins added a pair of second-place finishes in the hurdle events (100 meters 16.58; 300 meters, 48.92), while Aleah Benton finished as runner-up in two jumping events (long jump, 15-7.75; triple jump, 33-2).
Meanwhile, Olivia Kulniszewski earned a second-place finish in the pole vault (9-6), while Ella Kulniszewski placed third (9-0). Olivia Kulniszewski also took second in the 400 meters (1:01.71). Kiley Powell grabbed a third-place finish in the 3,200 meters (11:56.93).
Girls’ coach Josh Mize was happy to see his team earn a long-awaited first-place trophy this spring.
“We’ve been really close to getting some wins in meets all year long against some really good competition, and we had great competition again tonight and the girls kind of pulled together and got it done,” Mize said.
Mize noted that his team won despite being shorthanded a couple of athletes. He also said he’s excited to see how his athletes will perform at region, sectionals and state.
Mize praised second-place North Oconee as “a really strong region opponent.”
“It’s big for our kids to be able to get a victory over them, and also being senior night tonight, in front of the home crowd,” Mize said.
On the boys’ side, Andrew Paolozzi led Jefferson to the victory with a double in the throwing events (shot put, 51-7; discus, 143-1) as the senior is hitting mid-season form.
Elsewhere, Kristian Carrs earned a first-place finish in the triple jump (42-4), while Jordan Perry won the long jump (22-0). On the track, Matthew Schroeder ran to a first-place finish in the 800 meters (2:02.21).
The 4 x 100 relay team of Tre Reese, Carrs, Vermarion Davis and Malaki Starks approached the school record by running a 42.79 to win that event.
Carter Stephenson picked up two second-place finishes in the hurdles (110 meters, 15.33; 300 meters, 40.96), and Starks placed as runner-up in the 100 meters (11.3). Adding third-place finishes were Germaine Sims Jr. (long jump, 18-11), Dalen Gales (high jump, 6-0) and the 4 x 400 relay team (Connor Abercrombie, Schroeder, Carrs and Stephenson).
“We had a lot of great things today,” Jefferson coach Amos Tift said. “We had some newcomers come out and do some big things, a lot of PRs.”
Jefferson, in beating North Oconee, got a look at one of the teams that will battle for the region title in April at the 8-AAAA meet. Tift also pointed to Flowery Branch and Chestatee as strong programs as well.
“It’s going to be a tough region this year,” Tift said. “I’m glad to kind of see us competing at a high level going in, and we’ve got more work to do, but it was a good night tonight, especially to do it on your home turf.”