Photo by Derrick Mahone
Dutchtown senior Ciara Simms won the 100-meters in Class AAAAA last season, and she is the favorite to win the AAAA title this weekend in Albany.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Dutchtown senior Ciara Simms won the 100-meters in Class AAAAA last season, and she is the favorite to win the AAAA title this weekend in Albany.

Ciara Simms

School: Dutchtown

Grade: Senior

Her resume: Ran a state-best time of 11.7 in the 100-meters at Region 3-AAAA meet preliminaries. She won both the 100 and 200 region championships and helped the 400 relay team to first place. Her time of 24.2 is also the state's fastest in the 200 event. In 2010, she won the Class AAAAA championship with a time of 12.13 as a junior at Luella.

On pre-race ritual: "I just try to zone everybody out. I go off by myself to concentrate. I just think about the race. I try to envision the start, the middle and finish of the race. I just try to see myself finishing the race."

On pre-race music: "I don't really have any pre-race music. If I did, it would probably be some hip hop."

On getting rid of the butterflies: "Before getting on the blocks, I take some deep breaths. I take a deep breath and then let it out slowly."

Simms says: "I'm definitely looking forward to the races this weekend. We are all competitive with equal speed. I think it's going to be a good race."

Dutchtown coach April Tate says: "She has done an awesome job this season. She is such a very humble young lady. She pushes herself real hard. Ciara leads the team with her hard work. She puts a lot of pressure on herself to get better each day."

Briana Vaughn

School: Union Grove

Grade: Junior

Her resume: Finished this season as the Region 3-AAAA runner-up in the 100 and 200-meters. Her time of 11.73 seconds in the 100 is the state's second-fastest this season. Her personal-best this season of 24.3 in the 200 is the third-fastest in the state. Last season, she finished third in the 100at the Region 2-AAAAA championships.

On pre-race ritual: "I try to get into my zone, but I try not to be too quiet. The more talkative and cheerful I am, the better I seem to race. I just try to stay positive."

On pre-race music: "Gospel music because it really calms me down. I don't have a favorite song I listen too."

On getting rid of the butterflies: "That is the hardest part of getting ready to run. I do a lot of stretching. I just try to concentrate on positive things."

Vaughn says: "I'm really looking forward to this weekend because I'm excited about the races. I'm not too worried because I've raced against most of the girls before. I'm sure I will see them again this summer. I'm just happy I made it to state."

Union Grove coach Eric Daugherty says: "Briana and Ciara have battled all season. It should shape up to be a nice showdown. Briana has had a real good year. We are hoping for some big things from her."

S'Kayia Hampton

School: Jonesboro

Grade: Sophomore

Her resume: Won the 100 and 200-meters at the Region 4-AAAA championships. She was region runner-up last season in both races as a freshman. Had a personal-best time of 12.24 earlier this season. Runs summer track with the Mercury Track Club. Last season as a freshman, she placed second in the 100 and third in the 200.

On pre-race ritual: "I try to stretch real good and drink plenty of water. I usually try to think about the race without getting too nervous. I stretch and then pray."

On pre-race music: "I don't really listen to a lot of music before I run. I really like hip hop and gospel music. It is what I mostly have in my iPod."

On getting rid of the butterflies: "I mostly take deep breaths before the getting on the blocks. I try to block everybody out once I get ready to race."

Hampton says: "I know racing against Ciara will make me go a lot faster. I'm looking forward to racing against her. I'm sure my times will really drop this weekend."

Jonesboro coach Tim Floyd says: "She has really grown a lot since last year as a freshman. She does a lot more of the little things on her own. This year, she goes out and races and doesn't worry about who she is competing with. She has got a lot of confidence in herself since last season."