Pope led the Class AAAAA team standings the entire day, only to finish as the runner-up to Miller Grove.
The Lady Greyhounds led by three points heading into the final event — the 1,600-meter relay. Pope needed Miller Grove to finish in sixth place or lower to either tie or win the state championship outright, but the Lady Wolverines placed fifth to claim the Class AAAAA crown with 60 points, to Pope’s 59.
The Lady Greyhounds could only watch during the 1,600 relay, without a representative in the final. Despite that, it was Pope’s best finish at a state meet nearly two decades.
“The last time the girls won a state title was back in 1996,” Pope coach Butch Climmons said, “so it’s been a while since we’ve been in this position. I felt like, over the years, with the girls coming in, that we’d have a chance to get to this point.
“I figured we’d need the perfect meet to win, and things just didn’t go our way. Overall, I’m very proud of the girls, and we were a team the whole season. This coaching staff is one of the best in Georgia. We get a lot out of our kids and we train them hard to get them to where they are.”
Individually, it was a good day for McEachern’s MaKenzie Dunmore, Marietta’s Mary Jeanne Assinzo, Walker’s Collier Middleton, North Cobb’s Shanel Burr and Wheeler’s Natisha Dixon.
Dunmore took home three titles and one runner-up finish in the Class AAAAAA meet. She won the 400 in 54.21 seconds and finished second in the 200 in 23.98. She also teamed with Cierra Dunston, Shania Evans and Kristin Hall to capture titles in the 400 (46.06) and 1,600 (3:44.59) relays.
The Lady Indians’ mark in the 1,600 relay broke the previous state-meet record of 3:45.55 set by Stephenson in 1999.
Dixon defended the Class AAAAAA 300 hurdles title she won last year after finishing the race in 42.68, while Burr also defended her Class AAAAAA 100 hurdles crown in 13.99.
Assinzo, who captured the Class AAAAAA 1,600 run Thursday, returned Saturday to win the 800 (2:13.44).
In the Class A private-school meet, Middleton raced to a title in the 100 hurdles (14.93).
In the Class AAAAAA team standings, McEachern (52 points) was the state runner-up behind defending champion Westlake (61). Marietta was third (47) followed by Archer (36), Etowah (25), Walton (23), Rockdale County (22) and Wheeler (22).
North Cobb tied Kennesaw Mountain for 15th (15). Pebblebrook was 22nd (11.5), Campbell tied for 23rd (10), Hillgrove tied for 27th (8) and Harrison was 32nd (6).
Campbell’s 1,600 relay team placed seventh (3:58.91), with Alexis Jones finishing as the runner-up in the 300 hurdles (43.08).
Burr also finished fourth in the 300 hurdles (43.43), with Hall fifth (44.13) and Hillgrove’s Chelsea Crayton sixth (44.32), giving Cobb County athletes five of the top six finishes in the event. Crayton was also fifth in the 100 hurdles (14.67), and Dixon earned runner-up honors in the 100 hurdles (14.02) for the second straight year.
Dunston was seventh in the 200 (24.73) and fourth in the 400 (55.80), while Pebblebrook’s Bryanna Robinson finished fourth in the 200 (24.45) and third in the 100 (12.01).
Marietta’s Nyasiah Mercado placed fourth in the 800 (2:16.51), while teammate Tatiyana Rayford was third in the 100 hurdles (14.29).
Sprayberry was 17th (11.5) in Class AAAAA, with Kell tied for 24th (8).
Pope’s Athena Carpenter placed fifth in the 300 hurdles (45.09) and second in the 100 hurdles (14.66), while teammate Hope Glenn finished sixth in the 200 (25.38) and fourth in the 100 (12.28). Carpenter and Glenn combined with Charlotte Kinzler and Jessie Sexton to finish eighth in the 400 relay (48.56).
Kell’s Marielle Lewis was state runner-up in the 800 (2:19.94).
Walker tied for eighth (34.5) in Class A, with Eagle’s Landing Christian taking the team crown (75). Mount Paran Christian was 17th (10), Whitefield Academy tied for 22nd (5) and North Cobb Christian was 27th (1).
Walker’s Karmin Shute placed fourth in the 200 (25.71) and 100 (12.72), and she teamed with Middleton, Alexis Bruton and Daryl Hutchins for a sixth place showing in the 400 relay (51.73).
Mount Paran’s Emily Lorenz was third in the 100 hurdles (47.63).