Day 1 has Marietta, Harrison on top
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
March 23, 2014 04:01 AM | 2138 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
POWDER SPRINGS — The Marietta girls and Harrison boys track teams led their respective standings following the first day of the Cobb County Championships on Saturday at McEachern.

The Marietta girls crowned three individual field champions and won the 3,200-meter relay to end the day with 80 points. Pope (48) is second followed by Walton (29), Kennesaw Mountain (21.5) and Hillgrove (21.5).

Rounding out the top 10 were Harrison (16), McEachern (13) and North Cobb, Wheeler and Walker each with 12.

“We’re definitely excited about (Saturday), Marietta girls coach Chad Christman said. “We won some field events, and both of our 4x800-meter relay teams scored. We placed two girls in some events, too, so that helped. It was a good day.

“But, for where we are, we can’t be satisfied. Pope and Walton are right there, and you know McEachern is coming. They’ll double-up in some of the sprints and score lots of points Monday. We needed to score big (Saturday) to hold all of those schools off.”

On the boys side, Harrison has 45 points and holds a slim six-point lead over Marietta. Hillgrove (37) is third, followed by Walton (29.50), McEachern (27), Campbell (24), Sprayberry (19), Kell (19), Pope (18) and Kennesaw Mountain (11) and Whitefield Academy (11).

“We picked up a lot of field points, finishing second and third in a lot of events,” Harrison coach Jason Scott said. “We have a decent amount of guys qualified in the finals of the sprints, so we’re setting ourselves up to finish strong.

“But we’re expecting a fight from all the other teams. We know they’re back there, and we don’t plan on settling for just 45 points.”

Fourteen individual champions and two relay teams were crowned Saturday. Five meet records were also set by the end of the day.

On the girls side, North Cobb’s Shanel Burr captured the long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 7 inches. Pope’s Andrea Vahoua was a two-time winner in the shot put (40 ½) and discus (118-11½), as was Marietta’s Elizabeth Hartley in the pole vault (10-6) and high jump (5-4).

“I’m really glad I was able to help the team,” said Hartley, who won county titles for the first time in her career. “I knew I could win as long as I stayed focus. I didn’t (set personal records), which is what I wanted, so I’ll keep trying.”

In consecutive sequences on their final attempts at the triple jump, Marietta’s Bianca Drayton, Walker’s Collier Middleton and Kennesaw Mountain’s Priscilla Womble set the mark to beat each time.

Womble leapt 36-2½ to grab the lead, only to see Middleton come up next and go 36-10¾ to claim first. Drayton then took command with her final jump of 37 ½ to collect her first county title.

“I was watching the other jumpers and looking at their technique, so I knew I had to go out with a bang,” Drayton said. “It’s a personal record for me, so I’m really happy about that, and it feels amazing to be the champion. It’s a great sense of accomplishment, considering the competition was so close at the end.”

Walton’s Avery Bussjager finished first in the 1,600-meter run in 5 minutes, 9.64 seconds. She was second in the event last year behind former teammate Alexa Womack.

Bussjager beat the rest of the field by 5 seconds.

“I always try to just get out early,” she said, “and if I don’t have anyone to run with, I use the third lap to take advantage since everybody’s hurting, and keep them behind me in the end.”

Marietta’s 3,200 relay team of Mary Jeanne Assinzo, Rebecca Dow, Nyasiah Mercado and Juanita Londono won in 10:06.51 to round out the girls scoring from Saturday. McEachern’s 400 relay team of MaKenzie Dunmore, Shania Evans, Kristin Hall and Cierra Dunston set the meet record with a time of 46.32 in their preliminary heat.

McEachern’s Bryce Glover set a meet record in defending his boys triple jump title after leaping 46-6½.

“It feels great to defend my title and (set a personal record) at the same time,” Glover said. “I’m honored to be in this position.”

Other boys winners included Hillgrove’s Jaylan Reid, who set meet records in the discus (148-7) and shot put (58 ½), and Marietta’s KirVonte’ Benson who leapt 22-9 in his preliminary heat in the long jump to set a meet record. Benson let his preliminary jump stand and didn’t participate in the finals, beating out Wheeler’s Nate McCrary by roughly 3 inches.

Kennesaw Mountain high jumper Robert Dunning tied the meet record of 6-6, and Pope’s Matt Cone, a junior participating in track and field for the first time this season, won the pole vault after clearing 11-6.

“I’m pretty excited about winning,” Cone said. “I cleared 12-6 at an event at Georgia Tech, so I knew I was seeded first coming in and just felt confident.

“I use to row and swim and dive, but I quit that to do this. The coaches convinced me to come out and do this and, so far, it’s worked out.”

In a battle of state title contenders in their respective classifications, Kell’s Logan Poteet won the 1,600 run for the first time in 4:20.5, beating out Whitefield Academy’s Robby Keough (4:22.49) and Walton’s Kenan Farmer (4:27.89).

“I didn’t think that would turn out the way it did,” Poteet said. “They’re great opponents to compete against. I knew it was a matter of time for them to catch up to me, so I had to adapt my race and take a big lead early, which worked out.”

Walton’s 3,200 relay team of Gabriel Muniz, Robbie Eisenman, Zettler Quinn and Farmer crossed the finish line first in 8:11.31.

The county championships conclude Monday at McEachern.

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