By Zack Huffman
It did not matter that there were more new coaches than old. the faces may be new, the same level of athletic competition was back for another year as the Clayton County Track and Field Meet took off Monday at Tara Stadium.
The first day of the meet is over and officially, Mundy's Mill and Morrow lead among the girls and boys, respectively.
Though that is only counting the two finals events that have taken place.
In the girls' 1600-meter run, Tamara Holyfield took first place, followed by fellow Lady Tiger, Rashida Powers in second. Janisha Orange of Mt. Zion placed third.
For the boys' 3200-meter run, Cameron Reeves of Mt. Zion took first, with Morrow's Brandon Woodley six seconds behind him for the silver and Muhammed Mousse of Jonesboro in third place.
The previous two events aside, the day's events consisted of preliminary track events.
Among the boys, Riverdale came out strong, sending more runners to the finals than any other boys' team.
"Kids are coming out, working hard and doing everything their coaches tell them to do," said Riverdale coach Dwight Callaway. "It's been a rough year because we've had a lot of kids with injuries. This is actually the first meet where we had almost everybody."
The battle for the top girls' team will likely come down between Mt. Zion and Mundy's Mill, according to Mt. Zion girls' coach Jason Battles.
"Mundy's Mill is beating up on everybody," he said. "It's a good thing we don't have to go through each other for region."
Much of the competition on the girls' side can be characterized by the rivalry between Alycia Prior of Mt. Zion and Breanna Hubbard of Mundy's Mill. Both runners occupied the top two spots of the girls' 100 and 200-meter dashes.
Although Hubbard was narrowly in first for both events, Prior will have a second shot at Wednesday's finals. According to coach Battles, Prior has the best time in state in the 100-meter having run 12:11 earlier in the season, while Hubbard ran 12:14 in Monday's preliminaries.
Whether or not Prior is able to top Hubbard in Wednesday's finals, Mt. Zion will have the greatest opportunity to score the most points in the 100-meter dash, as Alesia Snell and Doreen Wilson also qualified for the finals on behalf of the Lady Bulldogs.
In terms of team performance, while Mt. Zion easily placed more girls within the top six of each events, qualifying them for the finals, Mundy's Mill had more girls finish with the top time.
Tuesday will feature the field events.
According to Battles, success against Mundy's Mill's girls will rely on how well his girls perform in any event that involved being sent into the air.
"We've got to see what we do in field," he said. "We've got a good triple jumper, a good long jumper, a good pole vaulter and a good high jumper. If Mundy's Mill runs away with the field, I don't if we'll have enough qualified."