“We had a number of first and second-place finishes,” longtime Spalding High track and field coach Owen said of her team’s success on the opening day, which included scoring a meet-leading 58 1/2 points in the field events in addition to 11 points in the day’s lone distance event.
Freshman Chadneeshia Arnold’s first-place toss of 102-05 in the discus was the surprise of the meet for Spalding, which also had a one-two finish from Mary Owen Howell (7-0) and Nykerria Conley (7-0) in the pole vault. Other second-place finishes came from Dominique Nock (17-8) in the long jump and Dee Dee Matthews (35-06) in the triple jump.
Stephanie Estrada (13:37.17) and Jordan Tapley (14:01.07) also added to Spalding’s point total with a three-four finish, respectively, in the 3200 meter run, the lone distance event Thursday in the girls competition.
The top four finishers in each event advance to the sectionals April 26-28 in Carrollton where athletes will be competing to qualify for the state track and field meet May 10-12 at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany.
Rounding out the rest of Spalding’s prowess in the field events on Thursday were: Shaquoria Reid (15-04.75) in the long jump, Twandalette Cotton (33-06) in the triple jump and Jayla Freeman (30-03.75) in the shot each with fifth-place finishes as well as Cotton (4-10) who tied for sixth in the high jump.
Thanks to a number of solid runs in the preliminaries, Spalding is in a good position today to continue adding to its points total. Grenishia Daniel (47.79) had the top qualifying run in the 300-meter hurdles, while Nock placed third in both the 100 (12.54) and 200-meter (26.07) dashes and the 4x100 relay team (48.73) — Nock, Reid, Daniel and Veronica Anderson — and 4x400 relay team (4:06.50) — Nock, Reid, Daniel and Anderson — each also posted third-place qualifying runs.
Others from SHS to qualify for today’s finals include: Reid (12.82) fourth in the 100-meter dash, Anderson (58.96) fourth and Daniel (1:00.25) fifth in the 400-meter run, and Blair Dunaway (2:36.42) sixth and Jasmine Bradley (2:43.12) seventh in the 800-meter run.
Spalding's second 4x400 relay team of Matthews, Dunaway, Desiree Corbin and Bradley also qualified eighth with a time of 4:40.27.
Rounding out the rest of the field in the girls standings are: Sandy Creek (52 points) in second followed by Eastside (41), Eagle’s Landing (37), Charles Drew (26), Jackson (18), Henry County (7.5), Locust Grove (4) and Stockbridge (2).
Scoring points for the Jags on Thursday were Dakota Hayden (10-0) with a third-place finish in the pole vault, and Anthony Bush with a sixth-place finish in the triple jump (41-06.25) and an eighth-place finish (20-07) in the long jump.
The standings in the boys field through 16 events: Sandy Creek (82), Eagle’s Landing (68), Eastside (26), Jackson (21), Stockbridge (18), Henry County (17), Charles Drew (11), Spalding (10) and Locust Grove (10).