Riverdale hopes to bring home state championship

By Doug Gorman

If the Riverdale Lady Raiders keep up their current pace, the school might just have to build a new trophy case to hold all the girls' track and field honors.

Come Saturday, the Lady Raiders could own the sport's most sought after honor?a state championship.

Riverdale's success could be attributed to some things that happened last year when the Lady Raiders finished in second place at the state meet last year.

This year, the Lady Raiders could easily be the team to beat when action gets underway tonight in the Class AAAAA portion of the state meet at Hugh Miles Stadium in Albany.

Twelve athletes have earned a spot in the state meet for Riverdale, giving head coach Terry Beckham plenty of reason to be optimistic.

"There is going to be some great competition at this year's meet, but I like our chances," he said.

Riverdale tuned up for its trip to the state meet with several stellar performances earlier this year, including a third straight Clayton County Championship. The Lady Raiders tallied 169 points to win the title. They also rolled up 142 points en route to a region win.

"I think our performances in some of our meets will really help us," said Beckham.

Riverdale heads to the state meet after qualifying runners in both the 4x100 and 4x400 relay.

Participating in the 4x100 will be Centauria Olds, Erica Williams, Nichole Davis, and Tia Perry. Shalondan Hollingshed, Olds, Davis and Perry will also participate in the 4x400 relay.

Hollingshed will also participate in the 800.

Last year, the Raiders 4x400 relay team won the state title.

Perry will stay busy by participating in the long jump and the 300 meter hurdles. A year ago, she won the 400 meters.

In addition to her two relay events, Davis will also run in the 400 meters.

Nichole Rodriques will run in the 110 and participate in the triple jump.

Daneica West (shot put), Marinda Allen (triple jump), Christina Martin (300 hurdles) also qualified.