Some of the top high school track and field athletes in the state had one more chance on May 13 to qualify for the upcoming TSSAA Spring Fling at the sectional meet at Riverdale.
Only the top four finishers in each event earned a spot to the TSSAA State Championships at MTSU starting on Monday, May 19. As usual, Rutherford County was well represented as several earned trips to the state meet.
One of the biggest stories to come out of the meet was two athletes, Autumn Daniels and Jonathan Conley, who made school history for the first year Stewarts Creek High.
Both athletes became the first in school history to qualify for the Spring Fling in any sport. Each of them competed in the 800-meter run. Conley won the boys event, while Daniels finished third in the girls race. Each was very excited about making school history.
“It is pretty exciting since this is my first year running track,” Daniels said. “I could have not done it without God, and it has been a great experience.”
Added Connelly: “I just really appreciate the opportunity to come out and compete against other good guys. I am just happy to get Stewarts Creek in the state championship.”
The girls’ 800 meter race was won by Oakland’s Adaysha McGill.
“It means everything to me, running has been a struggle, and I have changed my events every year,” McGill said. “It feels great to get in there this year.”
Recent history has shown the county has some of the best distance runners in the state, and this year is no different. A trio of females, Siegel’s Nicole Garner and Riverdale sisters, Maddy and Emma McClellan, dominated the local scene this season in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races.
During this meet, Garner won both distance events, while Maddy McClellan finished runner-up in both events. Emma McClellan was third in the 1,600 and fourth in the 3,200. All three runners respect each others’ abilities.
“It is an honor to go there and run with the best girls in the state,” Garner said. “Just to have the opportunity is amazing.”
Maddy McClellan added, “It is a big deal because I was not able to do it last year, because I was injured at the end of the year. The most important thing is having my sister in the race with me. We have never had that before, and it is the best feeling in the world.”
In the boys distance events, it could be showdown between Riverdale’s Brandon Harvey and Oakland’s Elijah Leskinen at the state meet. Harvey, who is heading to Ole Miss, won the 1,600, while Leskinen finished second. In the 3,200, Leskinen won the race with Harvey finishing fourth.
“It means a lot and we have been training for it all year,” Leskinen said. “This is when the times really count. We have been looking forward to it, and I am excited it is upon us.”
La Vergne will also be well-represented at the Spring Fling because of performances by Josh Brame and Aliah Cook.
Cook qualified for the state meet in four events, the 100 (second) and 300 (first) meter hurdles, the long jump (third) and the 4x100 meter relay (third). By the end of her final race, Cook, along with a lot of the athletes on the warmer than usual day, were spent. Wolverines first-year head coach Caleb Swartz was very proud of her performance.
“I am really pleased with her time,” Swartz said. “It was very good and probably the fastest in the state so far. Giving her performance today I think she is a legitimate chance to win that event.”
While Brame won the 200-meter dash, finished second in the 4x200 meter relay and he just missed qualifying for the 100-meter dash.
“It means a lot coming off a fourth place at state last year,” Brame said. “It means a lot to come out here and prove I belong to go back.”
Riverdale’s Torey Patterson finished second in the 110-meter hurdles, and he barely just missed making the state meet in the 300-meter hurdles. This will be his first trip to the Spring Fling.
“It means a lot to me because I have wanted it since my freshman year,” Patterson said. “I really wanted it and I got it.”
The 2014 TSSAA state meet will begin Monday, May 19, and all events both boys and girls will be held at the Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium on the MTSU campus.
RUTHERFORD COUNTY STATE QUALIFIERS
Top 4 from Sectional advanced to Spring Fling
Girls Long Jump
Aliah Cook (La Vergne: 17-01.50-3rd)
Girls Shot Put
Kalea Barnett (Blackman: 34-03.50-4th)
Boys Shot Put
Caleb Yates (Oakland: 50-00.00-1st)
Tad Onwu (Riverdale: 46-03.00-3rd)
Boys High Jump
Tad Onwu (Riverdale: 5-10.00-3rd)
Girls Pole Vault
Kristen Fuller (Riverdale: 7-00.00-2nd)
Boys Pole Vault
Alex Pulido (Siegel: 12-00.00-1st)
Abraham Lou (Riverdale: 9-06.00-2nd)
Ross Sessions (Siegel: 8-06.00-4th)
Girls Triple Jump
Talia Martin (Riverdale: 33-06.00-2nd)
Boys Triple Jump
Abraham Lou (Riverdale: 42-07.00-4th)
Girls Discus Throw
Hannah Alsup (Riverdale: 108-09-3rd)
Boys Discus Throw
Emanuel Smith (Oakland: 148-01-1st)
Caleb Yates (Oakland: 142-03-2nd)
Girls 4x800 Relay
Boys 4x800 Relay
Oakland: 8:31.08- 1st
Girls 100 meter hurdles
Aliah Cook (La Vergne: 15.51- 2nd)
Di’anna Wright (Oakland: 16.18-4th)
Boys 110 meter hurdles
Torey Wilkerson (Riverdale: 15.34-2nd)
Girls 100 meter dash
Joy Frierson (Riverdale- 12.32- 1st)
Boys 100 meter dash
Chris Stokes (Oakland- 10.92-1st)
Girls’ 4x200 meter relay
Boys’ 4x200 meter relay
La Vergne: 1:30.17-2nd
Girls 1600 meter run
Nicole Garner (Siegel: 5:23.38-1st)
Maddy McClellan (Riverdale: 5:31.91-2nd)
Emma McClellan (Riverdale: 5:35.72-3rd)
Boys 1600 meter run
Brandon Harvey (Riverdale: 4:31.33-1st)
Elijah Leskinen (Oakland: 4:33.61-2nd)
Girls 4x100 meter relay
La Vergne: 50.49-3rd
Girls 400 meter dash
Ellise Carter (Siegel: 59.22-1st)
Jade Abbott (Blackman: 1:00.47-3rd)
Boys’ 400 meter dash
Cody McCaskill (Riverdale: 50.65-1st)
Girls 300 meter hurdles
Aliah Cook (La Vergne: 44.07- 1st)
Tamia Aldridge (Riverdale: 47.91-3rd)
Boys 300 meter hurdles
Greg Cantrell (Oakland: 41.49- 4th)
Girls 800 meter run
Adaysha McGill (Oakland: 2:29. 16-1st) Autumn Daniels (Stewarts Creek: 2:30.34-3rd)
Boys 800 meter run
Jonathan Conley (Stewarts Creek: 1:56. 64-1st)
Leonel Perez (La Vergne: 1:58.62- 3rd)
Girls 200 meter dash
Whitney Tesi (Siegel: 26.59-2nd)
Ivory Hood (Oakland: 26.59-3rd)
Jade Abbott (Blackman: 26.64-4th)
Boys’ 200 meter dash
Josh Brame (La Vergne: 22.23-1st)
Girls 3200 meter run
Nicole Garner (Siegel: 11:57.72-1st)
Maddy McClellan (11:58.97-2nd)
Emma McClellan (12:27.48-4th)
Boys 3200 meter run
Elijah Leskinen (Oakland: 10:01.00-1st); Brandon Harvey (Riverdale: 10:26.51-4th)
Girls 4x 400 meter relay
La Vergne: 4:17.82-4th
Boys’ 4x400 meter relay
Greg Cantrell (Oakland: 5454-1st)
Tad Onwu (Riverdale: 5122-4th)