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Athlete of the week: Flowery Branch runner goes the distance at state
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Honorable mentions

Track and field

Jordan Collins, North Hall: Finished second in the wheelchair 200-meter and 800 at the GHSA girls state meet Saturday.

Marcayla Hester, Jefferson: Finished fifth in the Class AA triple jump at the GHSA girls state meet Friday.

Erika Rucker, Flowery Branch: Finished sixth in the 100 and third in the 200 in at the GHSA girls state meet Saturday.

Sam Salyers, Flowery Branch: Finished sixth in the 100 hurdles and fifth in the 300 hurdles at the GHSA girls state meet Saturday.


Ralston Cash, Lakeview Academy: Grand slam, 10 strikeouts against Bremen last Wednesday.

Chris Beck, Jefferson: 11 strikeouts against Blessed Trinity last Wednesday.

Jamie Sexton, Jefferson: 3-for-4 with two home runs against Blessed Trinity last Wednesday.

Last week’s GHSA girls state track and field meet marked the end of the track season for Flowery Branch High’s Kiara McCue-Woods. It also marked the beginning of her cross country season.

McCue-Woods begins training for her senior year Monday with 7 a.m. runs every morning, only a week after her last meet of her junior campaign, where she finished second in the Class AAA 3,200-meter and fourth in the 1,600.

Jumping straight into cross country season after track isn’t out of the ordinary for McCue-Woods; it’s exactly how she anticipated spending her summer, and exactly how she wanted it.

“I love to run, it’s my passion,” McCue-Woods said. “It’s what I love to do, and that makes it much more enjoyable.”

It’s that enjoyment that has helped McCue-Woods become one of Flowery Branch’s all-time most decorated athletes. Last week’s 3,200 time of 11 minutes, 24.820 and 1,600 time of 5:15.670 both set school records. They added to her records in the 800 and in the 5K cross country run.

“I felt really good (about state),” McCue-Woods said. “I ran exactly what I thought I would.”

The two top-four finishes picked up 13 points and helped push the Lady Falcons to a tie for sixth place in the state. Before this season, Flowery Branch had never scored a single point at the state level.

“Everyone was happy with the finish,” McCue-Woods said. “It was our first year scoring a point, so we were pleased with how we did.”

But even with four school records and her team’s sixth-place finish, McCue-Woods still lacks one thing: a state title. She has two runner-up finishes, one in track and one in cross country, but has never been first to cross the finish line at the highest level.

That’s where the 2009-10 season begins. With one chance left to win it all, McCue-Woods has her eyes on the prize, and nothing less.

“I’m tired of second place,” McCue-Woods said. “I’m going to work as hard as I can to win.”

Flowery Branch track and field coach Jimmy Sorrells believes that McCue-Woods’ best performances have yet to be seen. After a summer dedicated to running and improving her times, he sees state championships coming her way.

“For her to place fourth then turn around and get second is amazing,” Sorrells said. “Any time you have a state runner-up you’re going to be proud.

“She’s a school record holder, and she’s still breaking all her own records.”

A strong senior season will also dictate where McCue-Woods attends college. During her races at the state meet, Georgia Tech distance running coach Alan Drosky was in attendance watching her compete. Luckily, the Yellow Jackets is McCue-Woods’ current top choice, behind Georgia and North Carolina.

“Georgia Tech is my dream school,” McCue-Woods said. “The campus is amazing.”

“She has the ability to be a Division-I runner,” Sorrells added. “She’s setting the bar very high."

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