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Redskins, Wildcats move on to state track meet
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RHHS sprinter Emily Hollowell (corrected from an earlier version of this cutline) will represent RHHS in the 3,200 at state. - photo by Photo by Sandra Elliott

Several Richmond Hill High School and Bryan County High School track and field athletes have advanced to their respective state meets after last weekend’s section competitions.
Three Redskins qualified for the boys’ Class AA state meet beginning Friday in Jefferson. Ryan Horton qualified in both the pole vault and 300-meter hurdles while Trent Minis will also compete in the pole vault. Damion Dixon advanced to state in the discus.
The Class AA sectionals were held at Lamar County High School.  
Richmond Hill will send Corey Jones in the 800 and Deon Davis in the 300 hurdles in the Class AAAAA competition, which also begins Friday in Jefferson. The Wildcats’ 4x400-meter relay team also advanced. The team is comprised of Darryl Dunham, Naldre’ Williams, Jones and Davis.
Jones may be Richmond Hill’s best bet to bring home a state title after he ran a personal record time of 1 minute and 55.3 seconds at sectionals in Augusta, “which is sending him to the state meet ranked first in the state,” said RHHS coach Levi Sybert. “So long as he can PR once again he has a very good chance of winning.”

The Lady Wildcats’ Amanda Elliott, who dominated area track again this year, is advancing to the state meet in both the 800 and 1,600. Also going to state is freshman Rachel Hammesfahr in the 3,200.
Sybert said the young runner may not have a shot at a state title, but “she was extremely determined to move out of Sections and ran a phenomenal race, simply amazing.”
Sybert said Hammesfahr entered the sectional competition ranked No. 11 and needed to shave roughly 15 seconds off her time to place in the top eight and advance to the girls’ state Class AAAAA meet, which is May 9-11 in Albany.
After missing qualifying in the 1,600 by two spots despite bettering her best previous time by 10 seconds, Hammesfahr ran the 3,200 39 seconds faster than she’d ever done before to advance.
Sybert called the freshman’s performance incredible.
“The fact that she ran a 39 second personal record is unbelievable,” he said. “Her performance is a true testament to what an athlete’s body can do when determination and the mind drive it to its physical limit.”
Bryan County’s Kaylee Perks (discus), Lianna Shuman (300 hurdles) and Alli Thompson (100 hurdles) will compete in the girls’ Class AA meet, which is also in Albany.
Redskins coach Blake Nesmith said his kids earned their way to the state meet.
“I’m proud of these kids for advancing,” he said. “The competition this year has been tough, and it’s quite an accomplishment to advance this far.”
The Wildcats doubled the number of events to move on to state from last season.
“Looking at all the different athletes that competed, 19 of 20 moved up or matched their incoming ranking from the region meet,” Sybert said.
The lone event that didn’t move up was the girls 4x400, Sybert said, because he pulled Elliott from the anchor leg and added a runner who was four seconds slower.

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