Forest Park track and participants Tenetra Mullins, Yasmeen Harris, Ashley Epps, Bria Matthews, Lauren Epps and Karizma Goodson will led the Panthers into the Class AAAAA Sectionals. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
FOREST PARK — For the Forest Park girls track and field team, it is a matter of quality, not quantity.
The Panthers won the Region 4-AAAAA Track and Field Championship, and in the process had six participants to qualify for today’s Sectional meet.
Forest Park will travel back to Starr’s Mill High in Fayetteville, site of its region champion, for today’s Sectional meet. The top eight finishers in each event will advance to next week’s state meet in Albany.
“I’m looking for another opportunity to run,” Forest Park junior Ashley Epps said. “I didn’t run my fastest at region, but I have a good opportunity at Sectionals. There will be a lot of good competition to push me.”
The Panthers will enter the meet, which starts at 11 a.m. with a lot of confidence coming off the region title. Earlier this month, the Panthers won the Clayton County Championship.
“Our next goal is to get everybody to state, and make a run at the state title,” Forest Park coach Paulette Ireland said. “We know a lot of people didn’t expect us to win the region, but the girls have a lot of confidence. We are running on a track that we are familiar with, and that should help us.”
Of the six participants that made it to Sectionals, five will compete in at least one individual event. Both of the team’s relay teams won the region title.
Here is a look at the six participants:
Bria Matthews: The junior is one of the top underclassmen in the state. She has several top Div. I programs interested. Matthews is also a member of the school’s basketball team that reached the state semifinals for the second straight season. She will compete in the long jump, triple jump, 100-meters and on the 400 relay team. She is the anchor leg on the 1,600 relay team.
Ashley Epps: The junior won the 400-meters at region and was second in the 200 event. She is also a member of the region-championship 1,600 relay team. She competed in the 400 at state last season. Epps anchors the 1,600 relay team.
Lauren Epps: Last season, the freshman was a standout running in middle school. This season, she will compete in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles at Sectionals. She is also a member of both relay teams.
Yasmeen Harris: She is one of two seniors in the group of qualifiers. She will compete on both relay teams that are trying to earn a spot to the state meet.
Tenetra Mullins: The sophomore will compete on the 400 relay team.
Karizma Goodson: Another senior qualifier for the Panthers. She will compete in the 200-meters and long jump as individual individual events. She is also on the 1,600 relay team.