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Gainesville, North Hall take home Hall County Track and Field Championships
Red Elephants dominate, while Lady Trojans win final event to create tie for first place
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Gainesville sophomore Gariya Cox competes in the long jump Thursday during the Hall County Track and Field Championships at Flowery Branch High. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Hall County Track and Field Championships
Girls Final Standings
T1. Gainesville 138
T1. North Hall 138
3. Chestatee 86
4. Johnson 76
5. Flowery Branch 75
6. West Hall 68
7. East Hall 32

Boys Final Standings
1. Gainesville 161
2. North Hall 116
3. Riverside Military 103
4. Flowery Branch 97
5. Johnson 52
6. West Hall 42
7. Chestatee 36
8. East Hall 15

Individual Event Winners
Girls 100-Meter Dash
Olivia Bradley, North Hall, 13.22

Girls 200-Meter Dash
Cheyanne Holiday, Gainesville, 27.97

Girls 400-Meter Dash
Sadie Houston, Johnson, 1:04.11

Girls 800-Meter Run
Megan Dew, Chestatee, 2:29.76

Girls 1600-Meter Run
Erika Plummer, Flowery Branch, 5:20.84

Girls 3200-Meter Run
Erika Plummer, Flowery Branch, 11:32.89

Girls 100-Meter Hurdles
Gracie McBride, North Hall, 16.07

Girls 300-Meter Hurdles
Olivia Bradley, North Hall, 45.40

Girls 400-MeterRelay
Team of Kyah Canty, Gariya Cox, Sha’lese Green and Jada Harrison, Gainesville, 51.98

Girls 1600-Meter Relay
Team of Mattie Bohanan, Olivia Bradley, Gracie McBride and Hennebry Waters, North Hall, 4:16.3

Girls High Jump
Shyla Anderson, East Hall, 5-4

Girls Pole Vault
Faith Moss, Gainesville, 9-1

Girls Long Jump
Aniyah Norman, Johnson, 16-8.75

Girls Triple Jump
Gracie McBride, North Hall, 33-09.5

Girls Shot Put
Sydney Payne, Gainesville, 33-03.5

Girls Discus Throw
Ansleigh Ferguson, North Hall, 95-3

Boys 100-Meter Dash
Georgia Lira, West Hall, 11.53

Boys 200-Meter Dash
Charles Dimnwaobi, Riverside Military, 22.6

Boys 400-Meter Dash
Tyler Jackson, Flowery Branch, 51.57

Boys 800-Meter Run
Tommy Johnston, North Hall, 2:01.10

Boys 1600-Meter Run
Tommy Johnston, North Hall, 4:29.19

Boys 3200-Meter Run
Alex Sosa, Gainesville, 10:05.49

Boys 110-Meter Hurdles
Devonte Mize, Gainesville, 16.09

Boys 300-Meter Hurdles
Devonte Mize, Gainesville

Boys 400-Meter Relay
Team of Wenslo Cherisma, Kejuan Hale, Devonte Mize and Manuel Remes, Gainesville, 43.57

Boys 1600-Meter Relay
Team of Wenslo Cherisma, Myron Dabney, Devonte Mize and Manuel Remes, Gainesville, 3:31.5

Boys High Jump
Daniel Jackson, North Hall, 6-0

Boys Pole Vault
Hunter Mallard, Gainesville, 16-2

Boys Long Jump
Isaac Teasley, Riverside Military, 21-2

Boys Triple Jump
Isaiah Del Campbell, Johnson, 42-10.5

Boys Shot Put
Mac Bennett, North Hall, 48-3

Boys Discus Throw
Mac Bennett, North Hall, 148-4

The final handoff of the girls 1600-meter relay at Thursday’s Hall County Track and Field Championships befit the situation.

When North Hall’s Olivia Bradley and Gainesville’s Gariya Cox took the batons, they were almost neck-and-neck to begin the last lap well ahead of the pack. So, too, were their respective teams, with the Red Elephants holding a slim two-point advantage heading into the evening’s final event at Flowery Branch High.

But Bradley sprinted out to a sizable lead and held it until she crossed the finish line, completing the Lady Trojans’ comeback to create a tie for first place with a time of 4 minutes, 16.3 seconds.

“I tried to mentally show her she wouldn’t beat me,” Bradley said of turning a tight race into a comfortable win that gave her team its third first-place finish in the last four years. “It kind of became a mental game on that last leg. I eased up around 200 meters because I couldn’t hear her footsteps behind me, and then I kicked in down the final stretch.”

North Hall and Gainesville each finished with 138 points, while Chestatee came in third with 86.

The boys competition featured far less drama — Gainesville blew by the field to claim the county championship with 161 points. North Hall took second place with 116 points, followed by Riverside Military at 103.

Reigning champion Flowery Branch earned fourth place (97), followed by Johnson (52), West Hall (42), Chestatee (36) and East Hall (15).

Red Elephants coach Wayne Jones said watching North Hall’s girls force a tie at the end was “hurtful,” but he was proud of his team for sweeping at least a share of both county championships.

“We’ve been working hard to get this program back to being respectable,” Jones said. “Every coach has been working hard and putting in personal time with the kids every day.”

Though Hunter Mallard didn’t finish his final pole vault attempt until Gainesville had already clinched the title, he provided his team with 10 more points. The seniors set a personal and Hall County meet record with a height of 16 feet, 2 inches.

“I had been chasing that record for four weeks,” Mallard said with a grin. “When I started doing this, I had no clue I’d get this high. I started out just doing this for fun, but now I have a passion for it. Each new height gets me so pumped. It’s exhilarating.”

Devonte Mize was a huge point-earner for the Red Elephants, finishing first in the 110-meter hurdles (16.09 seconds), 300-meter hurdles (40.91) and as a member of the 400 and 1600 relay teams. He placed second in the triple jump, as well.

Mize edged North Hall’s Cutter Sanford by less than a second in the 300-meter hurdles, a victory that helped Gainesville lock up the boys title with a handful of events still remaining.

“I passed him on the second-to-last hurdle, and right then I knew in my heart that he wasn’t going to beat me,” Mize said. “I got beat in the 110 at the last meet we were at, and that really bothered me. But I always like when someone pushes me.”

Riverside Military’s Charles Dimnwaobi had an equally busy and productive day.

He clocked the top time in the 200-meter dash (22.35) and finished a hundredth of a second behind 100-meter winner George Lira of West Hall. Dimnwaobi got bronze in the high jump (5-10) and anchored the 400 and 1600 relay teams to second-place standings.

“It’s tough. My chest is still burning right now,” he said minutes after wrapping up the 400-meter relay. “I do twice as much at practice, though. This is how every meet goes for me, to be honest.”

Daniel Jackson won the high jump for the Trojans, and he said he surprised himself by setting a personal record with a jump of 6-0. Flowery Branch’s Brannon Clark also cleared that height but lost the tiebreaker due to having more scratches than Jackson on previous attempts.

Tommy Johnston gave North Hall another lift with wins in the 800-meter and 1600-meter races. He surged to the front of the pack to begin the final lap of the mile and finished strong even with a crisp wind blowing in his face down the home stretch.

“I sat behind the pack for about the first three laps and then realized I needed to go,” he said. “With about 500 meters left, I made my move and went. I usually hang back like that until the end. I find that it helps me pace myself, and it doesn’t take as much energy throughout the entire race.”

The Lady Red Elephants, meanwhile, had top-three finishes in 10 of the 16 events, including four gold medal winners — Cheyanne Holiday (200-meter), Moss Faith (pole vault), Sydney Payne (shot put) and the 400 relay team.

Erika Plummer accounted for two of hosting Flowery Branch’s three top finishers, winning the 1600-meter race with a time of 5:20:84 and lapping nearly the entire field in the 3200. Plummer said she hopes to turn those strong times into an even better showing at the state meet.

She helped the Lady Falcons finish in fifth place with 75 points, right behind Johnson at 76. They were followed by West Hall (68) and East Hall (32).

But Bradley, who also emerged victorious in the 100-meter (13.22) and the 300-meter hurdles (45.4), finished the night with a thrilling anchor performance in the 1600-meter relay to force a tie for the girls county championship.

“We knew we had to win the (1600) to force a tie,” North Hall coach Stuart Cunningham said. “I’m just really proud of the kids and how they fought until the end.”

Gracie McBride ran the first leg of that final and decisive race after winning the 100-meter hurdles (16.07) and the triple jump (33-09½ ), as well as finishing about two seconds behind Bradley for second place in the 300-meter hurdles.

As soon as Bradley created a bit of separation from her fellow anchor, McBride knew the Lady Trojans were headed for a win — and, as a result, a share of first place.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for this race,” she said. “It was really cool. We were projected to finish third and never really led, but we kind of kept creeping up as the meet went on.”

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