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This week: Hall County track meet returns
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Hall County is bringing back an old tradition on Thursday with the track and field championships at Johnson High. After a few years away from holding the meet, Flowery Branch, Johnson, North Hall, East Hall and Chestatee will all be part of the field. Results have no bearing on seeding for region championships that come later this month.

“I’m excited about it,” Flowery Branch coach Jimmy Sorrells said. “It gives the kids some bragging rights, so it should be a lot of fun.”

Flowery Branch senior Austin Eckenroth has already improved on his state championship height in the pole vault by one foot this year, clearing 16 feet, 1 inch in the Coaches Invitational last month. Last weekend, Eckenroth took part in the Mobile Challenge of Champions at St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile, Ala.

Meanwhile, Lady Falcons senior Brittney Wells has turned in personal best times in both the 800 meter (2 minutes, 29.44 seconds) and 400 (1:03.54) in the past two weeks. Flowery Branch’s Drew Garland is a top competitor in the 1,600 and 3,200, along with North Hall’s Luis Gonzalez in the 1,600 and 800.

In the long jump, Flowery Branch’s Katherine Randolph turned in a season best in the long jump of 17-8 at the Battle of the Branch at her school’s track before spring break.

West Hall junior LeNiesha Kearse is one of the most versatile track athletes in Hall County. At the Battle of the Branch, she won the triple jump (34.4.5), 100 hurdles (14.89) and 300 hurdles (47.7). Her time in the 100 and 300 hurdles were a both season best.

HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: The top two teams in Region 8-AAA, North Hall and Gainesville, will meet at 5:55 p.m. Friday at Ivey-Watson Field, the only regular-season meeting of these two schools. Both the second-ranked Red Elephants (17-0, 12-0 South subregion) and Trojans (12-5, 9-2 North subregion) are sitting comfortably in first place in their respective subregions, which is important for seeding in the region playoff that takes place the last weekend of the month.

Only three weeks remain in the regular season, including the three-game region playoff.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: The annual University of Georgia spring football game is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday at Sanford Stadium in Athens. The format of the game combines the first-team offense and second-team defense against the first-team defense and second-team offense. Admission is free, and the game can be viewed online at

ATLANTA BRAVES: After a weeklong road trip to open the season, the Braves come home for their first game at Turner Field against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night. Milwaukee will be in town for a three-game set, followed by a three-game series against the New York Mets.

Regional events