The Longhorns clinched the Class AAAA team title Saturday, the final day of the boys championships at Memorial Stadium.
Boosted by Devon Williams’ wins in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles, as well as Jordan Chambers’ wins Thursday in the shot put and discus, Kell scored 48 points to win the first team state track title in school history.
It was a satisfying moment for coach Jennifer Summey, whose Longhorns finished third in Class AAAA last year, only three points behind champion Clarke Central.
“We were so close last year, so this is amazing,” Summey said. “Sometimes, things just turn out as they should. You don’t see that very often, but, when it does finally happen, it’s amazing. Even the kids that didn’t place — everyone played a role in this.”
Kell led a near-sweep of top-four podium finishes among east Cobb and Region 5AAAA teams. Sprayberry (37) was second, with Pope (31) fourth.
Sprayberry, led by Michael Newton’s win in the 400 dash, as well as the victorious 1,600 relay, also recorded the best state meet finish in its history.
“We’re really excited about this,” Yellow Jackets coach Brett Vavra said. “Obviously, we wanted to finish first — we knew we had a good chance to finish first — but Kell had a little too much depth for us. Our kids really came through for us. Our (1,600 relay) team won, and Michael Newton won in the 400, so we’re excited about it.”
Pope earned all of its points in the field and distance running events Thursday and Friday to earn its spot on the podium with a fourth-place showing, behind third-place Creekside (35).
Wheeler was the only other local team to finish on the podium as the Wildcats tied for third in AAAAA with 33 points with Mill Creek, behind champion Brookwood (40) and runner-up Coffee County (34).
“This is what we have been aiming for, to get on the podium,” Wheeler coach Greg Mitchell said. “This is the state meet, so it’s going to be fire every event, and our guys stepped up and did pretty well.”
The titles won by the Kell and Sprayberry athletes were among the eight individual state titles won by Cobb athletes Saturday, giving the county 15 individual crowns this weekend.
Wheeler’s Adel Yoonis won a second-straight 800 run crown in Class AAAAA, while North Cobb’s Martez Hester won the AAAAA 400 dash, Campbell’s Alan Frye the AAAAA 110 hurdles and McEachern the AAAAA 1,600 relay.
Williams picked up where his younger sister, Kendell, left off with her three titles at the girls state meet in Albany last weekend. Devon Williams, a senior, won the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.18 seconds and the 300 hurdles with a time of 37.45 seconds.
“I’ve been working for this for the longest time,” Williams said. “I’ve been working when people are asleep, so it’s been the only thing on my mind.”
Newton helped push Sprayberry to its runner-up finish with a record-setting performance in the AAAA 400 dash. He won with a time of 46.62, breaking the AAAA state meet record that had stood for 18 years.
“First of all, I have to thank God,” Newton said. “I pray every day to be successful and do the best I can. I have to thank my coaches — they help calm me down and help me be the best that I can. I just feel fortunate to be able to compete in track and field and be successful at it.”
Newton later led Sprayberry to victory in the AAAA 1,600 relay, teaming up with Tye Richardson, Patrick Dubois and Willy Dorcin to run 3:17.61.
Yoonis, who won the 1,600 run Thursday, joined Williams as a two-event winner when he won the 800 run (1:52.06) to help Wheeler establish its spot on the podium in AAAAA.
“I’m really happy right now,” Yoonis said. “I earned 20 points for our team. We wanted to bring a team trophy back home to Marietta.”
Hester improved on last year’s third-place finish in the AAAAA 400 dash as he won in 47.26 seconds, edging the defending champion, Lassiter’s Alexander Reese (47.92).
“Last year, I finished third in my first year (of track and field), so it felt really good to win it this year,” said Hester, a senior who signed to play football at Ball State. “I could have done better, but I won, so I’m happy with that.”
Frye won the AAAAA 300 hurdles with a time of 37.46 seconds after having finished second in the 110 hurdles (14.31) earlier in the day.
“I’ve been waiting for this since I was a freshman,” the Campbell junior said. “I feel good. It’s a good, little time.”
McEachern took the AAAAA 1,600 relay, with the quartet of Amba Etta-Tawo, Brandon David, Cameron Gamble and Rajon Wright running a time of 3:17.51.
Etta-Tawo also finished second in the AAAAA 200 dash (21.70), while Walton was the runner-up in the 400 relay (41.77).