The meet, which was originally schedule for Monday and Tuesday was delayed a day because of heavy rain on Monday. After the first day of competition on Tuesday and following the completion of three events, the River Ridge girls were in second place — less than two points behind Cedartown.
River Ridge coach Barry Lakes said he was counting on the sprints to carry the Lady Knights to the victory.
“We were counting on our sprinters and our sprinters came through,” Lakes said.
Still they had to overcome an injury to a key team member, Chidi Ojukwu, who was forced to withdraw from an event she was favored to win.
“She injured her leg, but the girls rallied around her and we pulled it out,” Lakes said. “If Chidi Ojukwu hadn’t gotten injured we would have scored a whole lot more points than we did.”
The Lady Knights had a strong showing in the relays as well as several field events.
Shabree Frett, Morgan Bone, Ojukwu and Dennisah Francis entered the 400 relay with the second best qualifying time, but were forced to settle for sixth. River Ridge did better in the 1600 relay, where it took the title with a time of 4 minutes 21.35 seconds.
In the finals of the long jump, Ojukwu placed third when she cleared 15 feet 7 ½ inches. Michelle Friesz (14’04”) also scored points with her sixth place finish. Olivia Reeves won the region title in the discus with a throw of over 104 feet. Merideth Kunsman placed second in the shot put.
Also key in River Ridge’s title was Frett, who won the title in the 400 meters and finished second in the 200 meters. Dennisah Francis placed third and Macy McMillian was sixth in the 800 meters.
Taylor Auringer placed fifth in the 100 hurdles and Charley Amissah-Reyes was sixth in the 200 hurdles.
In the distance events Kali Kimball placed third in the 3200 meters with a time of 12 minutes 55.72 seconds.
In the boys’ portion of the meet, Devontae McIntosh placed third in the triple jump. Michael Lewis placed sixth in the event.
Nathan Trottier placed third in the 800 meter and Josh Schultz finished third in the 110 hurdles.
E.J. Ellis, McIntosh, Chris Ivy-Martin and Lewis teamed to place fifth in the 400 relay. River Ridge also took third in the 1600 relay.
Winning the boys title was Dalton, followed by Cedartown and Heritage. In the girls’ team standings, Cedartown was second followed by Dalton and Heritage.
The River Ridge girls will not get an opportunity to defend their title next season however as they make the move up a class to Region 7AAAAA.
Up next for some of the River Ridge athletes will be the section meet next weekend in Carrollton. Those who qualified by placing at the region meet, will have a chance to qualify for the state meet by performing well at the sectional.
Lakes said he isn’t sure whether or not Ojukwu will be able to compete in the sectional after qualifying in the long jump prior to injuring her leg. The coach told his athlete to play it safe.
“If she’s not able to go, we aren’t going to risk it,” Lakes said. “She is only a junior. I told the girls to make the decision to run or not and they need to live with it. She made the decision to run (Wednesday) and pulled up limping on it. Then I told her not to run any more races.”
At the end of the first day of the Region 7AAAAA track and field meet, both Sequoyah and Creekview settled for just a few athletes advancing to the finals of their events.
With four events scored through the finals and the preliminaries held in the others, it not hard to see where teams stand.
In the girls team standings Sequoyah is fifth with 13.5 points and Creekview is sixth with 12. Leading the region are Pope (39.5) and Riverwood (31). On the boys’ side it is once again Pope (30) on top. Sprayberry (23) is second followed by Sequoyah (20). The Grizzlies are sixth with 15 points.
Creekview’s Camille Fahrnbauer defended her region title in the high jump after leading 5 feet 2 inches. Sequoyah’s Emily Geoghagan also placed in the event.
In the girls discus finals Sequoyah’s Sierra Walsh placed second and Cara Wallace took fifth. Creekview’s Lexi Cromer finished seventh in the event.
Among those advancing to the finals following the preliminaries are Sequoyah’s Katrice Tolbert (100 meters, 200 meters), Aleah Johnson (400 meters, 800 meters) and Creekview’s Fahrnbauer (400 meters) and Marisa Rink (800 meters). Sequoyah also qualified a team in the 400 meter and 1600 meter relays. The Lady Grizzlies will have a team in the 1600 relay as well.
As for the boys, Sequoyah’s Daniel McKune placed second in the shot put, while Creekview teammates Jonathon Johnson and Zach Chester took fifth and sixth in the event. Jordan Riddle also scored points for Sequoyah with his eighth place finish.
In another final Sequoyah’s Derrion Rakestraw placed fourth in the triple jump and fellow Chief, Jordan Usher was eighth. In the pole vault there were just six placers. Creekview’s Caleb Porter and Joe Dipietro finished fourth and sixth respectively.
Sequoyah’s Christopher Costa and Ryan McNeal placed fifth and eighth in the 1600 meter finals.
In preliminaries races neither the Grizzlies nor Chiefs fared well. Neither program qualified a runner in the sprints or a team in a relay.
Creekview’s Caleb Potter and Nolan Knox were both able to qualify in the 300 hurdles.