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Prep track: VanGorder bests school record in 800 meters

POSTED: May 15, 2008 5:00 a.m.

ALBANY -- North Hall senior track and field star Morgan VanGorder placed fifth in the GHSA Class AAA girls’ 800-meter dash state final Saturday at Hugh Mills Stadium.

VanGorder, who holds the school record in the 800 with a time of 2:22.96, bested that time after clocking in at 2:21.001 Saturday, less than four seconds behind state champion Ann Centner of Oconee County.

In her first year as a Lady Trojans’ track and field runner, VanGorder had her sights set on a higher finish but was pleased with the overall results.

"I’m excited," she said. "I was hoping to do a little bit better, but being one of the top five (runners in Class AAA) in the state is definitely a huge accomplishment for me."

VanGorder found herself in second place after the first 400 meters of Saturday’s title run and then shot out to first after the turn.

"There really wasn’t a strategy at that point," said VanGorder, who has a partial scholarship to run at the University of Georgia after graduating from North Hall. "It was probably a little faster than I should have gone, (but) it was just an adrenaline rush. I was just fighting to pick it up a little bit and finish (strong)."

After leading the pack of eight runners for a short time, VanGorder slipped to fifth down the final stretch as a steady shower of rain hit the track, although she said the constant drizzle didn’t affect her finish.

VanGorder, the daughter of Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, transferred from Statesboro High to North Hall over the summer and trained to eventually compete in the state finals each day beginning in January.

"It’s took a lot of training and time, but it pays off in the end," she said.

... In other girls’ state meet events involving athletes from the area, Commerce’s Vanessa Chandler finished third in the Class A 400-meter dash (1:00.750). Chandler was also part of a 1600-meter relay team that finished third (4:16.746) along with Amber Bell, Jasmine Grier, Brittany Sewell, Kaylin Canup and Terra Hancock.Commerce’s 400-meter relay team of Grier, Canup, Chandler, Sewell and Hancock came in fifth at the state meet (50.781). Sewell also placed sixth in the Class A 100-meter dash with a time of 12.691. Ellie Hardigree of Commerce placed third in the Class A discuss throw (109’1). Commerce finished seventh overall in Class A.

Jefferson’s Marcayla Hester placed sixth (1:01.220) in the Class A 400-meter dash and fifth in the triple jump (33"10.5). Brianna Caudell of Jefferson was sixth in the discuss with a throw of 96’8. Erin Knight placed fifth in the 800-meter run (2:29:177). Kaylee Lopez also placed sixth in the 3200-meter run (12:31.69) for Jefferson.

Buford’s Ashley Razey, a Southern Miss softball signee, won state titles in both the Class AA discuss (113’2) and shot put (40’5.5) events.

White County’s Sara Walcott finished sixth in the 3200-meter run with a time of 12:02.560. West Hall’s Kim Smigelski was sixth in the AAA girls’ high jump (5’0).


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