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Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year: White County's Jessie Dotson
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White County's Jessie Dotson is The Times' Girls Athlete of the Year - photo by Tom Reed

Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year: Flowery Branch's Austin Eckenroth

Track and Field Coach of the Year: West Hall's Cindy Herford

Girls First Team All-Area

Maia Booker
School: West Hall
Grade: Sophomore
100: 2nd in region, 2nd in state;
200, Long Jump, 4x100, 4x400: 2nd in region

Reese Bowles
School: Jefferson
Grade: Sophomore
1600: 2nd in region;
3200: 2nd in region, 5th at state, PR 12:09.9

Jessie Dotson
School: White County
Grade: Senior
1600: Region champ, 2nd at state, PR 5:16.1;
3200: Region champ, 2nd at state, PR 11:20.2

Sara Hayes
School: Gainesville
Grade: Sophomore
800: Region champ, 6th at state, PR 2:19.26;
1600: 2nd at region, 6th at state, PR 5:25

Tiarra Hill
School: Gainesville
Grade: Senior
High jump: 2nd at region, 5th at state, PR 5-4;
100: 3rd at county, 7th at region, PR 12.86

Gabrielle Hoffman
School: North Hall
Grade: Sophomore
Pole vault: Region champ, 3rd at state, PR 10-6;
100H: 3rd at region, PR 16.16

LeNiesha Kearse
School: West Hall
Grade: Junior
100H: Region champ, 4th at state;
300H: Region champ; 4x100, 4x400: 2nd at region

Taylor Long
School: West Hall
Grade: Junior
3200: 2nd at region, 4th at state;
1600: 7th at region

Courtney Maddox
School: Buford
Grade: Senior
Shot put: Region champ, 5th at state, PR 36-10

Katherine Randolph
School: Flowery Branch
Grade: Senior
Long jump: 2nd in region, 6th at state, PR 18-4; Signed with Georgia State

Hayden Wilson
School: Dawson County
Grade: Junior
Discus: 3rd at region, 5th at state, PR 113-9 (school record)

Second Team

Brittney Greene
School: Johnson
Grade: Junior
Shot Put: 2nd at region, PR 32-4.5;
Discus: 5th at region, PR 93-4

KiKi Harris
School: Gainesville
Grade: Senior
Pole Vault: 2nd at region, PR 9-6

Haley Haynes
School: West Hall
Grade: Junior
High Jump: Region champ, 8th at state

Stasha Hopkins
School: Gainesville
Grade: Junior
Shot Put: Hall County champ, Region champ, PR 34-5

Kristen Mitchell
School: White County
Grade: Freshman
800: 2nd at region, PR 2:26.77;
1600: 6th at region

Victoria Rogers
School: North Hall
Grade: Junior
1600: 3rd at region;
3200: 3rd at region

Harper Seymour
School: North Hall
Grade: Freshman
Discus: 2nd at region, PR 105-7 (school record);
Shot Put: 5th at region, PR 33-2.5

Ryan Sharry
School: West Hall
Grade: Junior
800: 3rd at region;
1600: 4th at region;
4x400: 2nd at region

Mariah Spry
School: Jackson County
Grade: Junior
100: 3rd at region;
200: 4th at region

Rebecca Stoudemire
School: Jefferson
Grade: Senior
Pole Vault: 2nd at region; 7th at state, PR 8-6

Honorable Mentions

Katie Adams, Jr., White County

Mia Buffington, Jr., Gainesville

Latavia Cheeks, Jr., Johnson

Makayla Ellis, Fr., North Hall

Sarah Beth English, So., Chestatee

Heather Herdliska, Sr., White County

Gracie Hovan, Jr., Dawson County

Bridgette Johnson, So., Johnson

Audrianna Lindsey, Sr., East Hall

Denisha Lyles, Jr., Gainesville

Chloe Maddox, So., White County

Kristy Martin, So., Dawson County

Lily Mather, So., Commerce

Katie McDowell, Jr., North Hall

Kristin Munoz, So., Chestatee

Victoria Tuttle, Jr., West Hall

Kimberly Wallace, Sr., Dawson County

Kacie Wympie, Fr., Gainesville

 

 

 

Jessie Dotson has no regrets about her senior season. It was quite an impressive body of work that she posted as a dominating distance runner at White County.

Not winning the state title in Albany this season hurt for a bit, she said. However, going on to claim second place in both the 1,600-meter run (5 minutes, 16.14 seconds) and 3,200 (11:36.48) at the Class AAA at state meet in Albany was still a pleasing ending to her best season in high school running.

For her efforts, Dotson is The Times’ Girls Track Athlete of the Year.

“This year was amazing,” said Dotson, a Charleston Southern University signee. “I didn’t think that it would happen the way that it did; I couldn’t have asked for more.”

She plans to run cross country, indoor track and outdoor track in college.

Her final high school tally included four region championships in the distance races. That’s a very impressive total after a sophomore season that was hampered by a stress fracture in her shins, which she said were caused by overtraining and running in old shoes.

Now, Dotson is focused on continuing her chase to be the most accomplished runner in the family. Her mother, Heidi, was a standout runner in college at Appalachian State University, and now serves as the White County girls track coach.

Jessie’s biggest splash as a senior was a dominating performance in both races at Region 8-AAA at Lanier High, crushing the competition in both.

“I’m very proud of everything that Jessie’s been able to accomplish,” said her mother. “She’s so knowledgeable as a runner and knows what works for her, that there really wasn’t a lot of coaching that I had to do.”

Her mother will also miss Jessie’s presence in regards to her impact on the team.

“She almost guaranteed us 16-20 points in every meet,” her mother added.

Dotson feels like she is most accomplished in the mile. She ran her best race of the season in the 1,600 at state, even though it was just shy of her personal best (5:14) she established as a freshman.

Then, in the two-mile race at state, Dotson said it was a matter of not making her push at the right time. In her words it was too comfortable of a pace through the first four laps, especially with the eventual state champ Gabby Roth in front.

“I think I lost focus in the 3,200,” Dotson said. “When it was time to make my move, I was just too far back.”

Even though the state meet came with some disappointment for Dotson, her performance at region encapsulated why she was such a dominating distance runner. Her time of 11:20 in the 3,200 was not only a personal best time by 17 seconds, but it was also the fastest time in the state all season at the time.

Every race in the two mile seemed to one-up the one before. She set a new personal best five times in the race as a senior.

However, her performance in the 1,600 at region couldn’t be forgotten either. She ran a 5:20.99 and was almost nine seconds better than the nearest competition.

“I’d never had a season before where I continually ran good races,” Dotson said. “It was such a power driving thing.”

Though Dotson excelled at track and cross country, and credits Warriors cross country coach Sam Borg with helping her development, track was clearly her favorite.

Why?

“I realized my junior year that I hate running hills,” Dotson added.

She got on track for a running career during a physical fitness test in the fourth grade when she ran the fastest time of everyone, including the boys.

Now that high school is in the books, Dotson is ready to see what college has to offer.

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