The Lady Wildcats scored 105 points to win their first region championship since 2011. The Lady Hornets tied Walton for second (96) with Etowah (90), Woodstock (86), Milton (80), Lassiter (42) and Cherokee (29) rounding out the girls team standings.
The Hornets scored 138.5 points to claim their title. Walton (125) was region runner-up with Woodstock (95), Cherokee (81), Wheeler (67), Milton (59), Etowah (36) and Lassiter (22.5) finishing out the standings.
Boys field event finals Thursday included pole vault, triple jump and shot put, while the girls finals were held in high jump, triple jump and discus. The top four finishers in each event qualified for next week’s sectional meet.
Etowah’s Leena Morris recorded a field double-double at the region championship. She followed Wednesday’s shot put victory with a discus win Thursday of 125 feet, eight inches.
“I was the discus region champ last year so it’s good to repeat,” Morris said. “I was the favorite in both events (this week), so I felt a little pressure as the first seed, but I’m happy with the results because I got state level throws both times.”
Woodstock’s Kylon Drones made his senior season a memorable one, taking home region championships in the boys triple jump, 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles. Drones’ jump of 47-6.5 broke his personal best mark by two feet. His 14.47 110 hurdle time was also a personal best. He finished the 300 in 39.96.
“Coming in, I was concerned about the weather, but I knew I could still do well if I did what I was supposed to,” Drones said. “I just had to make it happen.
“I led the triple jump the entire competition, but the guy jumping before me beat my best mark on his final jump. That made me mad, so I just went for it and ended up with a P.R. I didn’t expect to go that far though, so it was a huge surprise. It’s great to get three championships.”
Arielle Hunter of Woodstock came from behind in the final 20 meters to win her first 400 meter region title, crossing the line in a personal-best and school record time of 58.17 seconds.
Last year’s 200-meter champion, Hunter repeated in that event with a time of 25.92.
“I was trying to keep all my energy up for the end of the race,” Hunter said about her 400 race. “I felt like I could catch her, but I got nervous at the end because we were so close, but I was able to get her.”
Etowah’s Savannah Smith won her first 800-meter region championship, pulling away from the field to finish in 2:20.46.
“I felt good going in and knew I had a good shot at winning,” Smith said. “I knew I still had to put in a good race though to make sure.”
Cherokee’s Aaron Wright was also a first time 400 meter region champion, clocking in at 50.95. After making the finals the last two years but failing to advance, Wright was determined to have a strong showing Thursday.
“My left quad was really hurting, but I was motivated to win. I wanted to go to sectionals this time. I’m surprised with my time since I was hurt, but I put in the work and I’m happy to finally get past region.”
The Warriors’ 1,600-meter relay team of Corey Parker, Montrell Washington, Wright and Andrew Harris also placed first with a time of 3:26.37.
“Overall, we came in here wanting to win region championships for our boys and girls teams,” Woodstock coach Rick Glasper said. “It didn’t work out and you have to give credit to the teams who won.
“We did have some strong individual achievements, so I have to tip my cap off to Kylon Drones and Arielle Hunter. They rose to the occasion and stepped up for their teams. We had a lot of kids qualify for sectionals, and now they’ll have a chance to move on to state.”