Each of the county’s six high schools will have at least one athlete competing, with River Ridge qualifying a team-record four for the Class AAAA meet.
Coach Barry Lakes is certainly pleased, especially since the Lady Knights were just a Class AA program last year.
“I’m very pleased with my whole group,” he said. “We had nine attend sectionals, so to get four through is good. Some of the times and distances that they were running and jumping were great.”
Only two seniors competed for River Ridge this season, and both qualified for state. Hannah Saylor will run the 1,600-meter run, while Alicia Rowan will compete in the high jump.
Rowan is a gymnast who only came out for the team this season.
“She is a gymnast and I got her to come out and I have been very pleased,” Lakes said. “For her to qualify is great. She has only been doing it two or three months.”
Also competing will be Kali Kimball (3,200) and Merideth Kunsman (shot put).
Creekview will also have four athletes compete in Class AAAAA competition, but it will have six opportunities to medal with Mary Kellan Carr and Anna Dunn each qualifying in two events.
Carr will compete in the discus and shot put, while Dunn will try to improve upon her second-place pole vault finish from a year ago and run the 100 hurdles.
Also competing from Creekview are Camille Fahrnbauer (high jump) and Rachel Garabedian (3,200).
Alea Johnson will be the lone representative for Sequoyah, competing in the 800.
Woodstock coach Kirk Scharich said he was disappointed that his team has just two athletes going to state. But though they are small in numbers, the Lady Wolverines will have four chances to medal.
Maya Ramsey qualified in three events — the shot put, 200 dash and her best event, the 100 hurdles.
“The 200 will be tough for her to get in (the finals),” Scharich said. “But if she runs well, she should be able to make the finals in both (running) events on Saturday.”
Alexandra Melehan will compete in the 3,200.
“I think they both can get a medal,” said Scharich.
Melehan is seeded seventh, but if she runs to her potential, Scharich says she could be in the top five.
“It’s going to be tough, but she is running well,” he said. “I think she has a great chance.”
Also competing in Class AAAAAA are Etowah teammates Allison Guebert (high jump) and Leena Morris (discus, shot put) and Cherokee’s Courtney Duc (100 hurdles).
Duc said she has been working toward this for four year.
“To be able to do this as a senior is really exciting,” said Duc, who was drafted into hurdling as a freshman.
During her first two seasons, Duc focused on the 300 hurdles, but she found the shorter distance to be more suited for her sprinting ability.
“This became my main event and I started working toward it,” she said. “I didn’t have the endurance built up for the 300, so I focused on the 100.”
Cherokee assistant coach Jennifer Waldrup, who works with the hurdlers, said Duc has been improving all season. A former hurdler herself, Waldrup saw some ways to improve Duc’s technique, and the results have produced a drop in her time and a college scholarship to Oglethorpe University.
“I feel like I’m a nitpicker,” said Waldrup, who suggested a change to Duc’s foot placement. “I feel like there is only one aspect you can concentrate on at a time to make a big difference. To her, it was getting her trail leg, or back leg, to snap down in front of her, as opposed to the side, and her foot placement and those two things, in addition to some endurance training, really made a huge difference.”
“I feel like everything that I have been working for is finally coming together,” she said.