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Track & Field: Richmond Hill teams post top ten finishes
Two Bryan County High School athletes also made it to the podium in the Class A-DI meet which was held at Rome.

Richmond Hill junior Billy Cunningham became the fifth Wildcat athlete to win an individual state championship under Coach Levi Sybert as the boys’ and girls’ teams both recorded top 10 finishes in the Class 7A state track meet held at Carrollton.

Cunningham got off a jump of 24-0 to claim the long jump to join former Wildcats Shaquille Walker, who won the 800 meters in 2010 and 2011, Daryn Pettitt who won the 800m in 2016, Sam James who won the 400m in 2017 and 2018, and Kayla Gholar who won the 1600m in 2019 as an individual champion.

Jalen Murray (2018), Gholar (2019) and Memphis Rich (2022) have also won individual championships in cross country since Sybert became head coach in 2010. The 2017 4 x 400 relay team of Rakim Gonzalez, James, Demond Fleming and Jordan Perkins also had a first-place finish in the state meet.

Thanks to strong performances in the relays and field events the girls' team had its best finish ever as it tallied 41 points to finish fourth behind Westlake (68), Marietta (65) and Buford (49.5).

Cunningham, who had finished second in the Region 1-7A meet before taking first in last week’s sectional, got off his winning jump on his third attempt to beat Lee Niles of Brookwood who jumped 23-8.75. He will now, of course, have the opportunity to join Walker and James as back-to-back state champions.

The boys' team finished with 29 points which enabled them to tie Lambert for seventh-place. Host Carrollton had 58.5 points to claim the boys’ title as it slipped past Walton which had 55 points with Mill Creek in third with 48.

Two Bryan County High School athletes also made it to the podium in the Class A-DI meet which was held at Rome.

Senior Austin Clemons, the school’s Male Athlete of the Year, finished fourth in the boys shot put and freshman Emily Johnson took third in the discus in the girls meet.

Clemons, who has signed to play football at Middle Tennessee State University, was ninth in the discus. Johnson, one of the school’s up-and-coming softball standouts, appears destined to have an outstanding track career, too, as she improved steadily over the course of the season and capped it with her strong performance in the state meet.

Johnson had a toss of 115-10. This came on the heels of a 97-01 for second in the Region 3A meet and 110-0 in the sectional qualifier.

The only other Wildcats girls’ teams to finish in the top 10 were in 2019 (6th) and 2021 (10th) but Sybert had said after they won the Region 1-7A meet he felt good about this group and they delivered for him.

Juniors Jada Brown and Mmekom Inyang picked up 19 points in field events. Brown got second in the shot and fourth in the discus while Inyang, who was part of the fourth-place 4 x 100 relay team, got third in the shot.

Joining Inyang on the 4 x 100 relay team were Jasmine Wood, Alexa Hamlin and Jayla Lawrence. The 4 x 200 team of Hamlin, Lawrence, Kaylyn Heileman and Kinley Gibson took fifth. Gibson was also seventh in the 400 meters.

The 4 x 400 team took sixth with Hamlin, Heileman, Lawrence and Gibson picking up three points. Freshman Julia Anastasio, who was seventh in the 1600, anchored the third-place 4 x 800 team which included Adeline Althen, Jolee Mitchell and Somaria Courtney.

Underwood’s 10 points went a long way toward helping the Wildcats boys to their sixth top 10 finish under Sybert:  they were 10th in 2010, ninth in 2014, second in 2017, fourth in the 2018 and ninth in 2019.

Kendrick Joshual got third in the 300-meter hurdles, Rich had a fourth in the 3200 meters and grabbed eighth in the 1600. Garrett McDade was fifth in the pole vault and the 4 x 800 team of Rich, Elijah Pitts, Benjamin Hall and Noah Sybert was sixth.

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