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High school track and field: Big day at sectionals sends many Hall County athletes to state meet
Gainesville's Conner Proffitt runs to victory in the 800 meter run at the Hall County championships on March 30, 2023 at Chestatee High. Photo by Bill Murphy

The Georgia High School Association’s penultimate weekend of track and field competition yielded some impressive results for Hall County athletes and schools that will leave the county well represented at state championship meets this weekend.

In all, 25 boys and girls individuals and seven relay teams from six different schools will compete in their respective classifications championship meets Thursday through Saturday at three different locations.

Gainesville will have the largest combined boys and girls contingent after this past weekend’s Class 6A Sectional A meet in Winder.

While Conner Proffitt and John Jessup are the only two individual qualifiers from the boys team, that pair, along with the 3200-meter relay team, will be pretty busy, and have a chance to roll up plenty of team points for the Red Elephants during the Class 6A state meet this weekend at Barron Stadium in Rome.

Meanwhile, three different individuals – Josabeth Graciano, Samantha Hartman and Ariyanny Hoyos – will compete in multiple events, while Vanessa Torres, plus the 1600 and 3200 relay teams, will compete in one event apiece for the Gainesville girls.

Proffitt and Jessup had a particularly good day in the sectionals, with the former winning the 1600 and 3200 runs, while the latter won the 800 and qualified in the 1600 by placing sixth.

And Red Elephants co-head coach John Corbett is excited about the opportunity for all his runners to make some noise at the state meet after Saturday’s performance.

“The sectionals were set up perfectly for the distance runners,” Corbett said. “We kind of … went into it on Saturday where we weren’t going to do any more than we had to do to qualify and move on. For some of the girls, especially, like Samantha Hartman and Josabeth Graciano, they had four races, and the recovery time between them, in some cases, was just over an hour.

“So we really had to be strategic about how hard we were pushing. … Conner kind of cruised in the 3200, but still ran a really good time. John Jessup wanted to push the 800, so I held him out of the (3200 relay) … (and) ran an alternate so that he’d be fresh. … So, we did everything we were supposed to do. … All in all, we’re moving on with the group that I pretty much thought that we’d get through.”

In Class 5A, Flowery Branch will be represented by 400-meter runner Ryan Gruss and the 1600 relay team for the boys, while Bella Brick will compete in three different girls middle and long distance races at that classification’s state meet at Kinnett Stadium in Columbus, while Phoebe Brawner will take part in the 300 hurdles after all those Falcons’ performances at the 5A Sectional B in Jefferson last Saturday.

The largest number of Hall County athletes will be in action this weekend at the Class 4A state meet at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany.

Cherokee Bluff and North Hall each had a huge day in the 4A Sectional B in Fayetteville last Saturday.

The Lady Bears were particularly successful, with Addison Myers qualifying in the 1600 and 3200 and Hannah Cheek punching her ticket to state in both hurdles events, plus two other individuals and two other relay teams also qualified.

Meanwhile, Jhace Justice was the only qualifier for the Cherokee Bluff boys, but he did so in three different jumping events.

“I really think our girls did well,” Cherokee Bluff’s first-year coach Cam Jackson said. “We have some good girls leadership on the distance side and the sprints side. … So, it’s good to see. … It’s been a great first year.”

North Hall’s girls will also have a large and balanced contingent led by Clodagh O’Bryant, who qualifed in the 800, 1600 and 3200, and Eve Taylor, who matched Justice’s feat of qualifying for all three jumping events.

On the boys side, Bryant Young led the Trojans by qualifying in the two long-distance events.

Here is a full list of all the Hall County state qualifiers:




John Jessup, Gainesville – 800 meters, 1,600

Conner Proffitt, Gainesville – 1600, 3200

Gainesville 3200 relay


Josabeth Graciano, Gainesville – 800, 1600

Samantha Hartman, Gainesville – 800, 1600

Arianny Hoyos, Gainesville – 1600, 3200

Vanessa Torres, Gainesville – 3200

Gainesville 1600 relay

Gainesville 3200 relay



Ryan Gruss, Flowery Branch – 400

Flowery Branch 1600 relay


Bella Brick, Flowery Branch – 800, 1600, 3200

Phoebe Brawner, Flowery Branch – 300 hurdles



Jhace Justice, Cherokee Bluff – High Jump, Long Jump, Triple Jump

Aaron Retana, Chestatee – 1600, 3200

Noah Peters, Chestatee – 3200

Cooper Brown, Chestatee – 110 hurdles

Isaiah McClary, Johnson – Discus

Bryant Young, North Hall – 1600, 3200

Matthew Wilbanks, North Hall – Pole Vault


Olivia Owens, Cherokee Bluff – 100

Addison Myers, Cherokee Bluff – 1600, 3200

Hannah Cheek, Cherokee Bluff – 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles

Halle Wilson, Cherokee Bluff – Shot put

Cherokee Bluff 800 relay        

Cherokee Bluff 3200 relay

Emalee Foreman, Chestatee – High jump

Chestatee 1600 relay

Abi Moore, North Hall – 800

Clodagh O’Bryant, North Hall – 800, 1600, 3200

Eve Taylor, North Hall – High jump, Long jump, Triple jump

Rachel Seid, North Hall – Pole vault

North Hall 3200 relay

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