A narrow miss at last season's region meet has the Woodland High boys track and field team on a quest for a championship as this year's Region 7-AAAA meet, which begins today on the Wildcats' home turf.
"I'm kind of excited ... to see how the guys are going to perform," Woodland coach Adrian Steele said. "[After] losing to Sprayberry by four points and getting second [place], we want to come out with a stronger performance than last year."
While the Wildcats no longer have to concern themselves with the Yellow Jackets, who are in Region 5-AAAA after reclassification, two of their region's newest members are sure to provide a challenge.
"We have some good competition coming from Johns Creek and Chattahoochee," Steele acknowledged. Woodland's boys, however, have a chance to do what their female counterparts did a year ago -- win region at home.
"If we go out there and perform [like we're capable] ... I think we have a great chance of winning the region championship," Steele added.
He said the Wildcats have guys who could finish in the top two and qualify for state in their respective events. Among those guys are Deo Adams (triple jump, 400 meters, 300 hurdles), Nathan Loe (shot put, discus), Ross Reeves (pole vault), Derrick Hardin (100), Daryel Morris (200, long jump), Ricky Ranel (high jump), Brandon Thompson (high jump) and Cameron Leonard (800). Also, Woodland's 4x100 and 4x 400 relay teams could make the trip down to Jefferson as well.
Of concern is Adams, ranked No. 1 in the region in his individual events, who suffered an injury last weekend and may not be all the way back yet.
"I'm not sure if he's truly 100 percent yet," Steele said. "Hopefully he can back [at] 100 percent on Monday."
As Woodland shoots for region title, Cass will look to get some younger guys region meet experience.
"We're certainly not going to be in the hunt for winning a region title, but individually I think we have a couple of kids that will do well," Colonels coach Terry Gough said.
Junior hurdler Loren Drayton and senior quarter-miler Albert Catron are Cass' best bets to earn points. Junior Austin Buffaloe, who like Catron runs the 400, could do well, too.
"Everybody else is either a freshman or a sophomore," Gough added. "The freshmen, they've got talent, but they're also 15- and 16-year-old kids running against 17- and 18-year-old kids. ... But they have made some improvements over the [course of] the season."
The Region 7-AAAA meet begins today, with preliminaries and finals for some events, and will conclude Monday.
In other region meet news, Cartersville is competing at Dalton in the 7-AAA meet, which began Thursday and ends Monday, and host Adairsville welcomes 7-AA schools to Tiger Valley Monday and Tuesday for its region's meet.