Walton’s Avery Bussjager, champion of the Class AAAAAA cross country meet in the fall, added a title in the 3,200-meter run, coming in at 10 minutes, 46.93 seconds. It was a vast improvement from a year ago, when Bussjager finished seventh, about 26 seconds slower.
It was Bussjager’s second placement of the state meet, following a fourth-place run in Thursday’s 1,600 run.
Kennesaw Mountain’s Shelby Smith won the Class AAAAAA pole vault, while Pope’s Andrea Vahoua closed out her high school career with a title in the Class AAAAA discus.
For Smith, it came down to a tiebreaker with Tift County’s Katelyn Utley, the reigning champion and state meet record-holder, after both cleared 12 feet.
Marietta’s Elizabeth Hartley was fourth at 10 feet.
Vahoua, a senior who’s signed to compete at Wake Forest next spring, won with relative ease in the discus. She cleared 128-6, more than 8 feet beyond the runner-up, Winder-Barrow’s Brianna Sims.
Vahoua nearly completed a sweep of the throwing events, but she finished second to Whitewater’s Noelle Parker in the shot put earlier in the day. Vahoua cleared 40-9½, with Parker at 44-8 and Vahoua’s teammate, Hayley Cohen, seventh at 35 ½.
Three other local athletes claimed runner-up finishes.
One day after finishing third in the Class AAAAA 1,600, Pope’s Ashley Kehoe finished second in the 3,200, crossing the line in 11:18.32. Kehoe lost out to a Region 7AAAAA rival, Northview’s Lindsay Billings (10:49.28).
Walker’s Collier Middleton was second in the triple jump in the Class A private-school meet. Middleton jumped 36-8, only trailing Eagle’s Landing Christian’s T’Aja Cameron (37-8¼).
Allatoona’s Emma Batch was second in the Class AAAAA pole vault, clearing 9-6. Her Region 5AAAAA rival, Woodland-Bartow’s Samantha Patterson, won at 10-6, while Batch’s Allatoona teammate, Lauryn Little, placed seventh at 9-0.
Cobb also claimed four of the eight placements in the Class AAAAAA high jump. Harrison’s Sydne Wiggins was third at 5-4, Hartley and Wheeler’s Jaelyn Rice tied for fourth at 5-2 and Pebblebrook’s Justice Stegall was eighth at 5-0.
In addition to Vahoua and Hartley, Walton’s Tatiana Taylor was a two-time placer, finishing fifth in the Class AAAAAA discus (114-5) and shot put (38-1).
Heading into the final day of competition, Marietta held 26 points atop the Class AAAAAA team standings, leading Walton by three. Kennesaw Mountain (15) was eighth.
McEachern only had three points through the first two days of field and distance events, but the Lady Indians’ strengths are in the sprints, hurdles and relays, and they will have eight finalists today, including their 400 and 1,600 relay teams.
Westlake, seen as McEachern’s primary rival for the championship, was ninth with 13 points and will have 11 finalists today.
Marietta will have three finalists today, while Walton has none.
Off the strength of its athletes’ performances Friday, Pope (38) took a 10-point lead on Miller Grove in the Class AAAAA team standings. The Lady Greyhounds will have five finalists today as the running events conclude.