Clinching berths in their respective state meets were Cass’ Janee Callahan (shot put) and Amber Bowen (triple jump), Adairsville’s Zach Coker (high jump) and Christian Howell (triple jump, 110 meter hurdles), Cartersville’s Dandre Quattlebaum (high jump), Caroline Haupt (100 meter hurdles) and Olajuwon Harris (110 meter hurdles), and Woodland’s Bryce Marratta (pole vault), Deo Adams (300 meter hurdles, triple jump), Brandon Thompson (high jump), Qua Stocks (high jump), 4x100 (fourth) and 4x400 (seventh) boys relay teams, C.J. Woods (100 meter dash), Idraiah Thompson (100 meter dash), Brianna Brown (high jump) and Samantha Patterson (pole vault).
Callahan and Bowen competed in the Class AAAA West Sectional held at Starr’s Mill High in Fayetteville. Lady Colonels coach D.L. Koontz felt his athletes accomplished their mission.
“The whole goal of this meet is just to get [to state],” he said. “That’s what we did.”
“Amber had her two best jumps of her career, one to get in the finals and then one to move her up [from ninth place],” Koontz added. “Janee had kind of a rocky start, but she pulled it together and made it in.”
Both Callahan, a sophomore, and Bowen, a junior, placed eighth in their respective events Saturday. The two join senior teammate Christina Young, a wheelchair athlete who had qualified for state prior to Saturday, Koontz said. Young, a University of Illinois signee, will compete at state in the shot put as well as in the 800 and 200 meter races.
Also competing at the sectional meet in Fayetteville were the Lady Wildcats’ Thompson, Brown and Patterson. Thompson finished eighth in the 100 meter dash, Brown was third in the high jump and Patterson placed sixth in the pole vault.
“The team did pretty well. We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores that came [to sectionals],” Woodland girls coach David Holloway said. “It looks good for the future and the team did pretty well for their age. It’s just they had a lot of really fast girls here and hopefully our girls will be able to match them [in the future].”
As far as the Wildcats, a core group of seniors helped them qualify even more athletes for more events, led by Adams who made state in two events with a second-place finish in the 300 meter hurdles and a seventh-place showing in the triple jump.
“All yearlong, this team has just had some senior leadership and once again, they performed,” Woodland boys coach Adrian Steele said in reference to seniors like Twan Terrell, Brandon Thompson, Trey Thompson and Adams. “We’re excited. Going down here, first time having sectionals, you have high expectations. We knew they were gonna run some fast times. I think everybody stepped up and performed.”
Terrell and Trey Thompson were part of state-qualifying relay teams while Brandon Thompson also qualified in the high jump, coming in fourth. Right behind him in that event was Stocks in fifth.
Other qualifiers for the Woodland boys included Marratta, third in the pole vault, and Woods, third in the 100 meter dash.
Those were the results for the county’s largest track and field program.
On the flip side, Adairsville, the county’s smallest track and field program, sent just five athletes to the Class AA West Sectional at Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross, but had two of them qualify in Coker and Howell.
Coker took third in his event, and Howell was sixth in both of his. Lady Tigers coach Kent Howard and Adairsville’s other coaches felt Howell’s time and place could’ve been better.
“That hurdle finish was debatable, something going on with the timing system,” Howard said. “We thought he was third or fourth, but we didn’t push it.”
All in all, though, he said it was a good day.
“Neither girl (Tinsley Smith, Baylee Edwards) was able to qualify, stiff comp on the girls’ side. There was stiff competition on the boys’ side, too,” Howard said. “Austin Harrell didn’t qualify in the discus [throw]. He was disappointed, but we don’t have the numbers that a lot of teams do. [It was good] to have two out of three boys qualify [for state] and to have two freshman girls qualify [for sectionals].”
Smith and Edwards made it to sectionals in the 100 meter hurdles and long jump, respectively.
While Adairsville has two state qualifiers, Cartersville managed three from the Class AAA West Sectional, which was held at Carrollton High. Quattlebaum, Haupt and Harris each earned a spot at state.
“I thought we did well. We had just about everybody do the best they’ve done all year, even the kids who didn’t qualify for state,” coach Rusty Grimmett said.
Quattlebaum jumped 6 feet on his first attempt to place fifth.
“Dandre, he’s been real consistent in what he’s been doing,” Grimmett said. “A lot of credit goes to him and coach [Emerson] Bridges for coaching him up. … He’s a senior, so we’re excited about him getting to go and compete at a high level.”
Haupt, who also is a senior, ran a season-best 14.83 seconds in the 100 meter hurdles, where she came in second. This marks her second time qualifying for state in as many years, and the Lady Purple Hurricane hurdler could challenge her sixth-place finish at state last year with the way she is performing.
“Anytime you run in the 14s, that’s tremendous. She was really focused,” Grimmett said. “She hadn’t been doing well lately, but she came out today and ran really well.”
Like his female hurdling counterpart, Harris also is looking the best he has all season, turning in a time of 15.20 for sixth place.
“He ran the best time of the season,” Grimmett added of Harris, who made state last year as a junior. “He actually even hit a hurdle. That threw him off a little bit. I think he would have run better than that.”