eff Hurndon Photography
Luella’s Paige Rankine is seeded high in both the 1,600 and 3,200-meters events in the Class AAAAA girls state meet, which begins Thursday in Albany.
With 25 athletes competing in 35 events this week at the Georgia High School Association girls state track and field championships, chances are good that the Southern Crescent will have a few success stories.
The meet gets underway on Thursday afternoon at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany and runs through Saturday’s finals.
Here are six Southern Crescent athletes that could do well at the state meet:
S’kayia Hampton, Jonesboro: The junior sprinter is seeded No. 3 in the 100 and No. 9 in the 200 event. However, her time of 11.83 in the 100 at the county championship is the second-fastest time this season in the state in Class AAAA. She will also anchor the team’s 400 relay team, which made it to state. Hampton will be pushed in the 100 by a field that also includes Southern Crescent runners Lorenda Holston of North Clayton and Union Grove’s Briana Vaughn.
Lorenda Holston, North Clayton: The junior has the top time going into the 100 event. She ran an 11.93 at the Sectionals meet last weekend. However, her season-best was a 11.86 to place second at the county meet to S’kayia Hampton. Holston, who is also a standout on the school’s basketball team, will compete in the high jump.
Bria Matthews, Forest Park: She is seeded No. 1 in the long jump in Class AAAA after jumping 39-feet, one inch at the Sectionals. The state record, set in 2000 by former Stephenson High standout Latoya Legree, is 40-3.5. Matthews won the county meet earlier this year at 38-1.5 and was region champion. The jump at the Sectionals is the fourth-best time in the state overall this season, according to ga.milesplit.com.
Paige Rankin, Luella: The senior is having a breakout season on the track. During the fall, she finished eighth in the state in the Class AAAAA cross-country championship after winning the county meet. Her time of 5:06.93 at the Sectionals last week in the 1,600 in the No. 2 time in the state. She is also seeded No. 3 in the 3,200 at the state meet.
Gabby Roth, Eagle’s Landing: The freshman is making a name for herself in the distance events. During the fall, she placed second in the Class AAA cross country championships. Roth’s time of 12:02 in the 3,200 gives her the top seed in AAA. At the region championships, Roth went 11:21 for a person-best time. She is seeded fourth in the 1,600 event.
Briana Vaughn, Union Grove: She didn’t run as many outdoor meets earlier this spring after doing a full indoor season. The junior placed high last season at state in both the 100 and 200 events and is expecting a repeat this season. She is seeded No. 2 in the 200 and No. 4 in the 100 events.