The boys track and field state championships begin today with the field events and will continue through Saturday in Jefferson. Several athletes from Cherokee County will make the trip.
Woodstock will have the more chances than any other local team to score points in the meet. Despite having just two participants — Owen Bailey and Kylon Drones — the Wolverines will have entries in five events.
Bailey will run the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, while Drones is entered in both the 110 and 300 hurdles, as well as the triple jump.
Drones, a senior, is excited about competing for three state titles. He’s also anxious for the season to end.
“I’m just ready to get it over with,” he said. “The high school season is so long. I’m used to running summer track, which is only two months, as opposed to high school, which is three (months).”
Drones feels his best chance for a state title is in either the 110 hurdles or triple jump. He is the school record-holder in both hurdle distances.
“I’m hoping for a top-five finish in the triple jump and 110 hurdles, and maybe a top-eight in the 300 hurdles, just because the competition is a little tougher there,” Drones said.
He said the meet is an important one for him, even though there are arguably bigger ones awaiting in June.
“This is something to add to my resume, but there are bigger meets coming up in the summer,” Drones said. “I’ll be training all summer.”
Bailey had the second-best seed time in the 1,600, with his mark of 4 minutes, 26.47 seconds less than a half-second behind Marietta’s Khayvonn Benson. Bailey is seeded eighth in the 3,200, about 9 seconds off the top time posted by Brookwood’s Miles Yapp.
Woodstock coach Kirk Scharich said the seed times aren’t always a good indicator of how an athlete will perform at the state meet, since it is only the time a runner posts at the sectional meets.
“Sometimes, guys don’t run their best, because it’s kind of like qualifying,” Scharich said. “There should be some good times out there.”
Representing Cherokee in Class AAAAAA will be long jumper Andrew Harris and shot putter Travis Head. Ryan Beachem will be the only Etowah athlete at the meet, entered in the 300 hurdles.
In the Class AAAAA meet, Sequoyah will have two athletes compete — Christopher Costa in the 3,200 and Derrion Rakestraw in the long jump.
Costa is seeded third in his event with a time of 9:55.08. Ahead of him is Kell’s Logan Poteet, a Region 7AAAAA rival, and Christian Bowles of Lakeside-Evans.
Rakestraw is seeded fifth in the long jump with a mark of 22-5. That distance is just 6½ inches short of the top seed mark set by Kiklin Varnado of Mount Zion-Jonesboro.
Neither Creekview nor River Ridge had any athletes qualify for the state meet.