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:
HALL COUNTY QUALIFIERS FOR THE GHSA STATE TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
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