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Flowery Branch girls finish second at region meet
West Forsyth girls take region title
West Hall’s Katherine Randolph, left, and West Forsyth’s Missy Smith approach the finish of the 100 meter dash during the Region 7-AAA championships on Tuesday at West Forsyth High. - photo by EMILY SAUNDERS

CUMMING — After two years in Region 7-AAA, West Forsyth’s girls track and field team is still batting 1.000.

The Lady Wolverines won their second straight region title Tuesday, scoring 174 points to top Flowery Branch (140.75) during the region track and field championships at West Forsyth.

The Lady Falcons took nine first place finishes to West Forsyth’s six, but the Lady Wolverines made up the difference in all-around scoring.

"We didn’t have a ton of first-place finishes, but when you look at it, we had a lot of second, third, fourth, fifth [place finishes], and when you’re doing that, it just adds up," Wolverine head coach Clayton Tillery said.

"Back-to-back region championships, that’s special to us obviously, but there were probably four [teams] here today who were really strong, so we were just very lucky."

Tillery, who coaches distance runners in addition to his head coaching duties, pointed out that his athletes didn’t score the most points for the team on the day, giving credit to his assistants and athletes in the field, sprint and hurdle events.

Flowery Branch coach Jimmy Sorrells was pleased with his team’s second-place showing.

"Without a doubt, I knew that coach Tillery and West Forsyth, they are a fantastic team. They’ve got fantastic athletes and we really just wanted to make it close and work hard," Sorrells said.

"Our job was hopefully to get as many girls to state [as possible] and that’s what we did, and then [finishing second] was a bonus. Of course, it would have been nice to win, but we just don’t have the depth they do. They’re coached well and they’ve got good kids."

On the individual front, Flowery Branch had three individuals win multiple events: Kiara McCue-Woods (1,600 meters, 3,200 meters), Erika Rucker (100 meters, 200 meters) and Sam Salyers (100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles).

Other first-place finishers from Flowery Branch were Kayla Smith (high jump), Rajeanna Jarrett (triple jump) and the 4x100-meter relay team of Desirae Cason, Smith, Salyers and Rucker.

For West Forsyth, Kat Gibson won two first-place medals (400 meters, 800 meters). Other winners for the Wolverines were Sloan Bunting (pole vault), Kathleen Cunningham (long jump), Chelsea Wood (discus) and the 4x400-meter relay team of Cunningham, Gibson, Taylor Kern and Kelsey Baker.

Also with top finishes on the day were Chestatee’s Jody Arthur (shot put) and Creekview’s 4x800-meter relay team of Nicole Smith, Erin Akers, KayLeigh Lane and Katie Barnes.

While third-place Gainesville didn’t win any events, three Red Elephants qualified for state with multiple runner-up finishes: Hailey Solomon (discus, shot put), Shelbee Carter (pole vault, triple jump) and Sha’Doris Godwin (400 meters, 200 meters).

West Forsyth’s Alex Shook qualified with second-place finishes in the long jump and 100-meter hurdles, while Bunting finished second in the 300-meter hurdles and Missy Smith was runner-up in the 100-meter dash. The Wolverines also had second-place relay teams in the 4x800 and 4x100-meter events.

Jessie Dotson of White County finished second in the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter races.

Other second-place finishers were Lumpkin County’s Jessi Cantrell (high jump), Creekview’s Cori Dulmage (800 meters) and Flowery Branch’s 4x400-meter relay team (Cason, Rucker, Salyers and Smith).

All second place finishers advance to next week’s state meet, scheduled for May 14-16 in Albany.

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