Athletes from Kell, Pope, Sprayberry and Osborne will compete in the Class AAAA west sectional at Starr’s Mill High School in Fayetteville, while Allatoona will be the lone local team represented in the AAA west sectional at Carrollton High School. Whitefield Academy, Walker, Mount Paran Christian and North Cobb Christian will send athletes to the Class A west sectional at Landmark Christian School in Fairburn.
Sectionals are a new addition to the track schedule. In previous years, the top-two finishers in each event of the region meets would advance directly to the state championships.
Now, the top-four finishers from the region meets are competing at sectionals. The top-eight finishers in each event Saturday will then qualify for the state meets — the girls meet to held May 3-5 in Albany, the boys meet May 10-12 in Jefferson.
The sectional meets will begin Saturday at 11:30 a.m. with the 1,600-meter run. Field events follow at noon, with the schedule for the rest of the running events commencing at 3:45 p.m.
With Pope’s athletes coming off the strength of the Region 5AAAA team title last week, coach Jerad Johnson is confident about getting a large number of his team qualified for the state meet.
“Of the 11 events that we are entered in, I am feeling confident that we have a chance to qualify in most of them,” he said. “We have been waiting all season to try and peak at the right time, and it looks like we are. Last week, our athletes proved to us that they have what it takes to step up and compete. As a coach, I can’t ask anything more of them than to compete and give themselves a chance.”
The Greyhounds will be strong in the field events, with Marco Vahoua (shot put), Myles Everett (long jump), Austin Card (high jump) and Brad Bahorich (pole vault) among the top contenders in their respective events.
Sprayberry’s Michael Newton is the favorite to win both the boys 200- and 400-meter dashes, while Tye Richardson is expected to contend with Kell’s Devon Williams in both the hurdles events.
Newton and Richardson will also lead Sprayberry in the 400 and 1,600 relays, with the Yellow Jackets favored in both events.
Kell’s Jordan Chambers is the favorite to win both the boys shot put and discus.
In the Class AAAA girls competition, Kell superstar Kendell Williams is expected to lead the way as the favorite in the 100 hurdles, long jump and high jump.
Pope’s Molly Schenck is among the top contenders in the 1,600 and 3,200 runs, while Pope teammates Andrea Vahoua and Monica Phillips are expected to contend in the girls shot put. Sprayberry’s Gina Davis is one of the favorites in the girls discus.
Allatoona, fresh off of its sweep of the boys and girls team titles at the Region 7AAA meet, is looking to qualify a large group of athletes for the state meet.
“We are going to try and use our momentum from winning our boys and girls region meet, but the west AAA sectional qualifier will be very tough,” Allatoona coach Dave Ravenscraft said. “A lot of very good state-level schools will combine from Regions 4, 5, 6 and 7 to meet at Carrollton for the chance to go. We’ll bring 12 girls and 14 boys to compete in almost all of the events, both field and running.”
Tray Oates is among the favorites in the boys pole vault for Allatoona, while the Lady Buccaneers will contend with Dessaa Legros in the high jump and triple jump, Elise Moffatt in the pole vault and Emily Dunn in the 1,600 run.
In the Class A sectionals, Whitefield Academy’s Cameron Thornton is the favorite in the boys 1,600 and 800 runs.
North Cobb Christian’s Chase Carroll is expected to contend in both the boys shot put and discus, while Whitefield Academy’s John Alar is one of the top contenders in the boys high jump.