Cartersville claimed five top-10 finishes and Woodland and Cass one each in the events, held in Albany on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Cass High’s Janee Callahan’s toss was 41 feet and half an inch — just an inch and a half short of the winning state distance — for the highest showing by placement.
For the Lady Canes, Blake Perry placed eighth in the triple jump and seventh in the 100 hurdles; Bree Cole, sixth in the 800 and 10th in the 1600, and Anna Hightower earned a 6th place in the pole vault. They competed in the AAA events.
Woodland’s Samantha Patterson claimed fourth place in the state AAAAA girls track and field. Patterson cleared 10 feet in the pole vault.
All three coaches were complimentary about the finishes of their athletes and optimistic they have room for improvement in the future.
“I was really pleased with their performances,” Rusty Grimmett, girls track and field coach at Cartersville, said.
“Samantha had the best performance of all our Woodland competitors,” girls track coach David Holloway said.
Cass High’s D.L. Koontz said just competing at state is an honor and an accomplishment.
“For anybody to compete in their event they have to be in the top 16,” he said.
Koontz said Callahan just missed winning the state competition in her event and he noted her toss would have put her at the top of other classifications.
“I’m extremely proud of her,” Koontz said. “I’m sure she’ll get a lot of interest [at the collegiate level] now.”
Lady Cane competitors
Cartersville’s Perry appeared to peak at the state competition.
The Cartersville junior set a school record in the triple jump with a distance of 35 feet, 6 inches. Her time in the 100 hurdle was 15.59.
“She ran her fastest two times in the hurdles this season in the preliminary and finals,” he said.
He credits her concentration with helping her be so competitive.
“Blake does a really good job of focusing,” Grimmett said. “She really wants to be good. She’s a student of the event. It’s a pleasure to coach someone like her.”
The coach said even better performances could be in her future.
“She has a lot of ability and she got better and better during the season and capped it off in Albany with two of her best times,” Grimmett said. “Blake has one more year and I think she can continue to grow and do even better next year.”
He said Cole, a freshman, is determined to win her events. Cole finished the 800 in a time of 2:26:31 and the 1600 with 5:41:41.
“Bree is just a tremendous competitor,” he said. “She hates to lose. She just wants to win. That’s how she approaches everything.”
He said more seasoning will only help Cole.
“I believe she will use experiences like this to learn how to run smart races,” he said Saturday. “I think if she does, she’s going to be even more successful in the future.”
Grimmett said Hightower, a sophomore, finished her event with a height of 8 feet, 6 inches.
He said Hightower turned in a good performance but wanted better.
“But she’s young and has a tremendous upside,” Grimmett said. “She has a lot of potential to be better.
“Annie was disappointed but we both know she could have vaulted better, but it’s tough up there and there’s a lot of pressure because it’s one of the premier events.”
However he expects Hightower to turn in better performances next year.
“I think she’ll use this as motivation.”
The Lady Wildcats had five members competing in six events at state.
Holloway said Patterson, in her third year, has been steadily improving with the school.
“ We’re hoping she can continue to improve and place even higher,” Holloway said. “She’s really taken to it. She has really been working on her scores.”
Holloway said other competitors at the school came close to placing at state.
“Ariana Lovins competed in the long jump,” he said. “She barely missed making it to the finals.”
Woodland also was represented by Idraiah Thompson, who competed in the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash.
Briana Brown competed in the high jump.
Lacey Fritz competed in the discus throw.
“I felt they all did a good job just getting to the state meet,” the coach said. “They had a lot of competition.”
He said having a student place fourth in the state is an honor for Woodland.
“Just getting here is a very good accomplishment and being on the stage is special,” he said.
Holloway said the performance by the juniors bodes well for Woodland in the coming year since Fritz is the group’s only senior and will not be returning as a member of the Lady Wildcats next year.
“Lacey will move on to compete in college softball,” he said. “She has signed a scholarship to play at Southeastern Louisiana.”
Koontz said Callahan has worked hard during her three years with his program and is now seeing the fruits of her hard work.
He noted she placed eighth in the state a year ago in her event and has put a lot of work in improving her distance.
“Kayla Owens, who finished third in the state in 2005, held our old school record,” Koontz said. “Janee smashed it last year and she continues to increase the record now. Her success is through wanting to get better. She’s a heck of a competitor.”
Koontz said Amber Bowen also represented the Lady Colonels in Albany, competing in the triple jump.
“She did almost as good as she did last year,” he said. “We were pleased with her performance and how she competed.”