By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
ALBANY – For most of Saturday’s Girls Track and Field State Championships, the skies looked like they would unleash a downpour at any moment. After Friday’s preliminaries, Westlake looked primed to let loose on the rest of the Class AAAAAA field.
The sky held its fury. Westlake did not.
Led by Auburn-bound senior SheKara Martin and the 400-meter relay team, the South Fulton school blazed its way to 72.50 total points – more than 30 better than second place Mill Creek (41) – and the school’s second state team title in five years (2009). Martin won both the 100- (11.77) and 200-meter (23.94) titles en route to sharing the award for scoring the most points in track events (24.50).
Martin also anchored the 400-meter relay team – which also included Justice Reeves, Jenee Nichols and Ariel Terrell – which, in Friday’s prelims, posted the nation’s fastest time run this season by a girls’ team (45.74). In Saturday’s final, Westlake showed its depth as the B-team – Kayla Stinson, Alexandria Johnson, Nyambi Shoates and Mia Phillips – finished second to the A-team in the event – 45.92 to 47.61.
Mill Creek was paced by Malayshia George, who has the nation’s fastest time in the 400 meters (53.40). Saturday, George set a state record in the event by running 53.63. McEachern, which placed fourth in the team standings, set a state record in the 1,600-meter relay in a time of 3:45.16.
Dunwoody won its first team title since 2003 (AAAA) by racking up 69.33 points, led by wins by Lauren Jackson in the 400 and 800 meters, and the Wildcats’ 1,600-meter relay team. Kell finished second with 44 points, 31 of which were scored by senior Kendall Williams, giving her a share of the overall high point award. Williams broke her own state record in the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 13.23, which is the nation’s fastest time this season.
Marist, a power in cross country, won its first state title in track and field, scoring 57.50 points to hold off Redan (50), last year’s champs. Morgan Ilse led the War Eagles by winning the 1,600 and 3,200 meters.
Cedar Grove won the school’s first track and field state title by scoring the most points of any team in the state, 89. The Saints were paced by twins Christian and Kayla Pryor. Christian Pryor, who earned a share of the award for most points scored on the track with Westlake’s Martin, won the 400 and 800 meters. Kayla Pryor finished second to her sister in the 400 and won the 300-meter hurdles. They were both members of the Saints’ first-place 1,600-meter relay team.
Westminster won its first track and field title since 2000 as Sahara Fletcher won the 800 and 1,600 meters to lead the way to a two-point win over Greater Atlanta Christian, 72-70. GAC was led by Maileka Slayton, who won the 100 and 200 meters.
Our Lady of Mercy won its first championship since going back to back in 2006 and 2007. The Bobcats were led by senior Morgan McClure and sophomore Leah Banks. McClure finished second in the 400 and 800 meters, while Banks won the 200 and finished second in the 100 and the long jump. She won a share – with Kell’s Williams – of the award for most total points scored in the meet, matching the feat of her male counterpart at OLM, Christian Coleman, who won that award at last week’s boys championships.
Marion County won the school’s first girls track title, led by Aiyanna Crumbley’s victories in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, Jada Gardner’s 400 meter title and a first-place finish by the 1,600 meter relay team.