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Six county track athletes advance to state
Jennifer Waters passes the baton to Mitzi Cross during a 4x400 relay race. Cross is headed to State in two categories because of outstanding performances in the Region meet.

The Redskins and Wildcats recently competed in their respective Region meets. The results were six county athletes advancing to the State level. The Skins advance four while the Cats will be represented at state by at least two athletes. Some more may be added to Richmond Hill’s list as the boys track team faces their Region meet later this week.

State advancement was decided by the top two event participants qualifying to compete at State in May.

On April 16 at Southeast Bulloch High School, the day of the field events, BCHS had three athletes qualify for state. Taylor Lucas won his second consecutive Region 3-A championship in the shot put with a throw of 45’ 5". Mike Mitchell won the Region 3-A championship in the discus with a throw of 110’. Willie Deloach was second in the long jump with a jump of 19’ 11".

Several more athletes qualified for the Region finals two days later. At that event, Lady Skin Mitzi Cross finished in the top two of both the 100 and 200 meter races to advance to the State level in both.

"We’re still young which has its drawbacks, but I’m real proud of the effort I saw in all of our athletes," Redskin track coach Blake Nesmith said. "It’s a proud moment for me to see Mike and Taylor win Region titles because I’ve been coaching them for years. The fact that Willie, just a sophomore, is headed to State is just phenomenal. I wouldn’t be surprised if Willie came away with a state title. He has so much ability; he might just pull it off. Anything is possible with Willie Deloach."

As for Richmond Hill, the girls competed at Cross Creek High School this past weekend. All participating girls were competitive with almost all of them performing personal bests in their events. Two girls qualified for the state meet, Janell McKinney and Heather Vaccaro.

McKinney won the Region 3-A crown in the 800 meter run after two calculating performances on Friday and Saturday. She ran with strength and determination on Friday to smash her personal best time by 8.5 seconds and post the second best time in the qualifying round (2:36.4). On the second day, she came back and ran a much more strategic race that put her in position to take the lead and win the race in the last 10 meters. She posted another personal best (2:36.0).

Vaccaro came in second place in the discus, earning her a trip to the State track meet. She went into the last event of the day on Friday ranked in 14th place. After posting a personal best matching throw of 83’ in the first flight, Heather had put herself out in front of the other girls early. By the completion of the other two flights, Heather had emerged with the second best throw. In the finals round, there were two girls within 1 foot of her. She created a little breathing room for herself by throwing a personal best of 85’-2 ¾" and held onto her second place spot through the completion of the event.

The remaining two Lady Cats will be competing next week in Albany on May 1 and 2. McKinney will compete in the 800 meter prelims on Thursday night and if she makes it out of the first round, will compete in the finals on Friday evening.

Vaccaro will be competing in the discus on Friday morning where they complete the prelims and finals consecutively.

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