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State meet preview: North Hall's Simon Seid one of the leading candidates to earn a championship
Cherokee Bluff girls sending eight athletes, three relay teams to Class 3A championships
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North Hall's Simon Seid clears the bar with a winning height of 14 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault at the Hall County championships on March 19, 2022 in Flowery Branch. - photo by Bill Murphy

Athletes from Hall County are certain to put their stamp on the state championship meets for track and field, starting on Thursday. 

Eight schools from in the county will be sending athletes to competitions, which are divided up by classification, across the state. 

Based on qualifying position from the state sectionals, no athlete is better positioned to win a state title than North Hall senior Simon Seid. 

On Saturday, he qualified for the 3A state championship by clearing the bar in the pole vault with a new personal best of 16 feet, 6 inches. 

Seid is going after the state record, owned by Gainesville High graduate Paul Malquist (16-9 in 2010). 

The championships for Class 3A will be contested at Grisham Stadium in Carrollton. 

In sectionals, Seid cleared 13-0 to punch his ticket to state. Feeling good, he went up to 15-6 for his next two attempts, both unsuccessful. 

Running low on time, Seid move it up to 16-6 for his final attempt. After clearing the bar, he was elated. 

Seid hopes that good feeling carries over to the championship meet. 

“I’m just trying to stay relaxed and calm,” Seid said. “Pole vaulting is 80 percent mental and the other 20 percent is in your head.”

Also, in Class 3A, the Cherokee Bluff girls look positioned to make some noise with an elite group of sprinters. 

Led by junior M’Kaylah Jackson, the Lady Bears are currently ranked No. 2 in the state in both the 400-meter relay and 800-meter relay. 

Jackson, a Hall County and Region 7-3A champion, will also be running the 100 and 200-meter dash. 

Also for Cherokee Bluff, Hannah Cheek is currently No. 3 in the state in the 100 meter hurdles, its coach Matthew Brick said. 

Cherokee Bluff’s girls have eight individual competitors travelling to state, along with the three relay teams. 

“Our girls team, as a whole, will be in the mix to podium as a team at state,” Brick said. 

In Class 7A, Gainesville’s Ashley Thompson is gearing up to try and defend her state championship in the 3200 meter. 

At the state sectionals, she ran a time of 11:39.99. 

She won state, in 2021, with a time of 10:59.11.

Also for the Red Elephants, junior John Jessup will be competitive in the 800. Already, he's set a school record (1:56) in this event. 

Gainesville will also have both of its 3200-meter relay squads running in state. 

North Hall’s accomplished freshman Clodagh O’Bryant will be taking part in state for the first time, running the 800, 1600 and 3200 and part of its 3200-relay squad. 

West Hall’s boys are also sending a strong group to the state meet, paced by Stephen Clark (1600, 3200), Tilil Blackwell (shot put) and a pair of strong sprint-relay teams. 

Chestatee’s boys are poised to make some noise with its distance runners, led by Garrett Grater, Gavin Grater and Noah Peters. 

State qualifiers

Class 7A

Gainesville

Boys

Markelle Cheek: 110 hurdles

Malik Drinkard: long jump

John Jessup: 800 meter

Ian Mallard: pole vault

3200 relay: Conner Proffitt, Aiden Ayala, Danial Gallagher, John Jessup, Nigel Collins, Raul Bejar, Wesley Daniel.

Girls

Ashley Thompson: 1600 and 3200

1600 relay: Josabeth Graciano, Andrea Febles, Shanise Newton, Ashley Thompson, Caroline Reisman, Kayleen Mejia, Josie Brosky, Keyra Silva.

3200 relay: Kayleen Mejia, Samantha Hartman, Josabeth Graciano, Ashley Thompson, Alexa Hoyos, Shanise Newton.

Class 4A

Chestatee

Boys

110 hurdles: Cooper Brown

Garrett Grater: 1600 and 3200

Gavin Grater: 1600 meter

Noah Peters: 3200 meter

Aaron Retana: 800 meter

3200 relay: Jarrett Bolt, Garrett Grater, Gavin Grater, Noah Peters, Hugh Pruitt and Aaron Retana.

Girls

Emalee Foreman: high jump

800 relay: Caroline Bull, Emalee Foreman, Addison Boyd, Amanda Nunez Riley Black, Brenna Williams, Kaya Snow, Cheyenne Ewing.

East Hall

girls

Ileana Colon-Rodriguez: discus

Flowery Branch

boys

Ryan Gruss: 200 and 400 meter

800 relay: Drake Smitherman;, Joey Turner, Ty Akins, Ryan Gruss, Jacob Parker, Alan Cortes, Jonathan Gonzalez. 

1600 relay: Drake Smitherman, Alan Cortes, Jonathan Gonzalez, Ryan Gruss, TJ Ramsey, Ty Akins, Truman Repke, Carlos Rodriguez.

3200 relay: Carlos Rodriguez, TJ Ramsey, Alan Cortes, Jonathan Gonzalez, Truman Repke, Alex Brown, Jacob Enzor, Lon Massey.

girls

Bella Brick: 800 and 1600

Kathleen Sikes: pole vault

1600 relay: Sarah Greiner, Kenya Periche, Bella Brick, Sadie Watson, Shannon Searcy, Skyler Seeber. 

3200 relay: Sarah Greiner, Sadie Watson, Skyler Seeber, Bella Brick, Julia Hargrove, Stephanye Meneses.

Class 3A

Cherokee Bluff 

boys

Austin Click: 3200 meter

Jhace Justice: long jump

Micah Hunter: 110 and 300 hurdles

girls

Annalise Black: 1600 meter

Hannah Cheek: 100 and 300 hurdles

Stephanie Condland: discus

M’Kaylah Jackson: 100 and 200 meter

Avery Jones: shot put

Adison Myers: 1600 and 3200

Olivia Owens: long jump and 100 meter

Arianna Page-Dodoo: 400 meter

3200 relay: Annalise Black, Amelia Dovie, Anna Kate Kelly, Mia Williams, Adison Myers. 

800 relay: Lauryn Perry, Amerae Beverly, M’Kaylah Jackson, Nasiya Thomas, Hannah Cheek, Allison Snyder, Olivia Owens.

400 relay: Lauryn Perry, Amerae Beverly, Olivia Owens, M’Kaylah Jackson, Hannah Cheek, Nasiya Thomas.

North Hall

boys

Jarrett Latty: discus

Simon Seid: pole vault

Clay Stover: triple jump

3200 meter relay: James Bennett, Ian Harris, Connor Edgeworth, Elijah Jernigan, Will Garrison, Bryant Young, Jaycob Wagner and Akim Reyes.

girls

Evelyn Forrester: pole vault

MaKayla Jones: 3200 meter

Abi Moore: 800 and 1600 meter

Clodagh O’Bryant: 800, 1600 and 3200 meter

Harleigh Smith: 3200 meter

3200 relay: Abi Moore, Clodagh O’Bryant, Jessie Dubnik, MaKayla Jones, Ella Edwards, Harleigh Smith.

West Hall

boys

Tilil Blackwell: shot put

Stephen Clark: 800 and 1600 meter

Jaylen Fagan: long jump

Jayden White: Triple jump

400 relay: Blake McCray, Jaylen Fagan, Jaden White, Jermaine Vincent, Preston Smith, MiKyle Hemphill, Andy Mayo, Michael Asevedo.

800 relay: Preston Smith, Jaylen Fagan, Jaden White, Jermaine Vincent, Noah Legault, Jake Clark, Ethan Anderson.

Class A private schools

Lakeview Academy

girls

Emmie Finley: Discus and shot put

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