By Derrick Mahone
When Alycia Prior crossed the finish line in the last event at the Class AAAA meet in Albany, it put an exclamation point on her decorated track career.
The Mount Zion senior anchored the Lady Bulldogs to a second place finish in the 1,600-meters relay, which gave them an overall third place finish in the team standings.
It capped off an exciting day for Prior, who earlier won the 100 and 200-meters event. Her time of 11.62 seconds in the 100 was the fastest of any competitor in any classification.
"Everybody peaked at the meet for us," Mount Zion coach Jason Battles said. "It seems like everybody got faster."
But Prior, an Auburn signee wasn't the only shining spot for the Bulldogs, who finished with 42 points for third place. Helping with the scoring were Dominique Givance, who placed fourth in the 800, Klarke Bass placing fourth in the 800 (2:23.94). Klarke Bass was sixth in the 400, Arashawna Yanes seventh in the long jump and Doreen Wilson was fifth in the triple jump.
Coming out of the field events, the Lady Bulldogs only had six points, but really got a boost in the running finals.
Tucker won the meet with 65 points and three-time defending champion Southwest DeKalb was second with 45 points.
In Class AAAAA, Morrow and Luella tied for 18th with 10 points each. Chatil Bradford supplied the Mustangs with their only scoring by winning the shot put event while Ciara Sims won the 100-meters for Luella.
"I'm definitely real pleased at where we finished," Battles said. "You always say to yourself that you could have done better.
We had a couple people that didn't make it out of region that could have helped."
The only disappointment at Hugh Mills Stadium for Mount Zion was when the 400 relay team got disqualified in preliminaries for an exchange zone violation.
Bass, Prior, Givance and Wilson are all seniors.
All four will run in college next season with Bass going to Albany State and Wilson at Tuskegee. Givance is expected to sign with Savannah State.
"As a high school track coach you always want to see your athletes advance," Battles said. "They had a good career at Mount Zion."
While Battles loses the bulk of his scoring to graduation, he returns a solid nucleus. He will build the team around Yanes, Roxie Carberry, Elizabeth Mobley and Dionna Gooden next season.
"We lost some good people, but we will put a competitive team on the track," Battles said.
Jonesboro finished 10th overall on the strength of freshman S'Kayla Hampton.
She was second in the 100 behind Prior and was third in the 200 event.
Kanetria Kitchens of North Clayton had a time of 2:23.21 to finish third in the 800 event. The Lady Eagles finished with nine points to finish tied with Ola in the 16th spot.
"It great to have that many teams from the area in the Top 20," Battles said.