As a result, coach Rust Grimmett decided to make it a competition between his boys and girls teams.
The girls team narrowly edged out the boys 186.5-180, but both teams came away Region 5-AAA champs Thursday at Gordon Central.
“We knew we had a good shot to score a lot of points. The way we did it, is we turned it into a competition between our girls team and our boys team,” Grimmett said. “We talked it up, and what we told them is, ‘Whoever scores the most points is going to eat steak after the meet. Whoever scores the least amount of points is going to eat a bowl of grits.’ So that was our motivation to try to score as many points as we could.”
The girls team beat out Gordon Central, which scored 128.5 points. The Adairsville girls finished in eighth with 20 points.
The boys team beat out Adairsville, which scored 108.5 points to finish in second place in the region.
“Everything in track and field is not like other sports. Everything really boils down to one meet. All the other meets are really preparation for the region meets.That was our focus all year. That was our mindset. That was what we wanted to do and I thought we did a good job preparing for that even though spring break really fell at a bad time for us as a far as getting us prepared for the region meet,” Grimmett said. “I thought going into it the girls would probably win by a few more, and what actually happened is, we had a false start in the 100-meter hurdles. It took one of our boys out, who would have scored about six points.”
On the girls’ side, Blake Perry earned the most points, scoring 34 1/2 out of a possible 35. She won the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and the triple jump.
Anna Hightower won the pole vault, the 200-meter and was tied for third in the high jump.
Meanwhile, Bree Cole was first in the 1600 and second in the 800 and also part of the 4x400 relay.
“Those were our girls last year that made it to the state meet, so we knew they were going to give that type of performance and they’ve done a good job of leading the team,” Grimmett said.
Maddie Cravey also qualified for the sectionals next week, coming in fourth in the long jump and third in the triple jump.
Jessica Hayhurst qualified in fourth in the 400-meter dash, while Destiny Mitchell finished first in the 100 and second in the 200 meter dash.
“She really came on in the end,” Grimmett said of Mitchell.
Victoria Hickom joined Perry in qualifying for the sectionals in the 100-meter hurdles, finishing in fourth place, and in the 300-meter hurdles, finishing third.
Elise Hoganson and Kalai Willis combined to earn the Lady Canes 11 points as they finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 3200-meter run.
For Adairsville, Emily Sexuaer finished first in the 3200-meter run.
For the boys, Trevor Carlton got the day started with a win in the discus.
Grimmett was impressed with Carlton’s performance, but also credits his assistant coaches, in particular, Matt Terry.
“Matt Terry is actually a community coach. He doesn’t get paid anything but coaches our discus people and that’s just a good relationship with them. He is real knowledgeable about his event and he just takes that thing and runs with it,” Grimmett said. “Our assistant coaches were a reason we were so successful. No. 1, I think the administration at the high school allowed us to have enough coaches to coach all the kids the way we needed to coach them in each event. Without enough coaches, it’s hard to be successful.”
In the high jump, Gordon Gray qualified for sectionals, coming in fourth.
In the long jump, Bartow County swept the top four spots to qualify for state, including Cartersville’s Trey Creamer in first, Adairsville’s Austin Harris in second, Cartersville’s Jamarius Dyer in third and T.J. Arnold from Adairsville in fourth.
“I though Jamarius Dyer in the long jump did a great job,” Grimmett said. “I didn’t expect him to make it in the long jump, so he really performed well.”
Cartersville’s Chris Cochran then came in second in the pole vault while Alex Christina finished third in the shot put.
Adairsville’s Dorian Pitt won the shot put to give the Tigers 10 points.
In the triple jump, Austin Montgomery finished third to qualify for state.
Cartersville’s Caleb Jenkins and Patrick Gordon finished second and fourth, respectively, in the 1600-meter run.
Omar Morales was sandwiched in between to qualify for sectionals in third place.
In the 400-meter dash, Cartersville took the top two spots thanks to Noah Harper and Miller Forristall. Arnold finished third for Adairsville.
The Tigers also took second in the 100-meter dash with Marquel Lane’s performance.
In the 110-meter hurdles, Cartersville’s Marquez Walker took third while Adairsville’s Jordan Character came in fourth.
Character also won the 300-meter hurdles while Walker came in second.
Noah Harper and Rashad Robinson then took first and third, respectively, in the 800-meter run, while Adairsville’s Dakota Holt took fourth.
Creamer and Forristall also qualified for sectionals in the 200-meter dash. Creamer came in second and Forristall came in third.
In the 3200-meter run, Jenkins finished second while Morales came in third.
Once again, Grimmett credits the coaching staff for the strong performance.
“Steve Corrigan coaches our throwers and really focuses on that and that’s all he has to focus on. Emerson Bridges works with our sprinters and he has a great relationship with kids and they all enjoy him and he really works hard,” Grimmett said. “Nick Bridges is our newest addition this year and he got to work exclusively with the pole vaulters. He’s got a lot of experience with that and did a great job with all the pole vaulters."