North West Smith 2nd, South East Watkins 3rd in 4A hurdles

May 17 – Whitfield County fielded two of the state’s top three finishers in the boys’ 110-meter hurdles at the Class 4A Track and Field Championships in Albany on Saturday.

Dominique Smith of Northwest Whitfield High School finished second in the event with a time of 15.38 seconds, less than a tenth of a second ahead of Jesse Watkins of Southeast Whitfield at 15.47. The pair finished behind Carver-Columbus 4A state champion Muhammad Diaby.

Smith’s second-place finish in the state was the highest among area athletes in state championship track and field competitions. Meetings in the eight Georgia High School Association classifications were held Thursday through Saturday.

Both Smith and Watkins improved on their preliminary results to place higher in the state finals. Smith moved from fourth in the prelims to second, while Watkins moved from sixth to third.

Northwest Whitfield’s Silas Griffin was third in the high jump at the Class 4A meet, while Dalton’s Meg Coleman was third in the girls’ 100-meter hurdles and 10th in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles at the Class 6A championships in Carrollton .

The two seniors conclude exceptional careers just before a state title.

Griffin was the regional and section champion in the high jump this season and holds a Northwest school record with a jump of 6-foot-10. The three-time region and section champion jumped 6-foot-6 at the state meet, finishing behind the top jumper of 6-foot-8. Griffin has three top-three finishes in the state in the high jump.

Coleman was the defending Class 6A champion in the 110-meter hurdles. She went from sixth place in the preliminaries to third, but was unable to defend her state title in the event. Dalton’s Anna Lee Grafe also competed in the 110-meter hurdles at the state, placing eighth and giving the Lady Catamounts two finalists in the event.

The Dalton boys’ 4×200 meters relay team (Luke Blanchard, Warner Ross, Kameron Staton and Assad Tanner) placed 10th at the state meet, finishing in 1:28.75 and setting a new school record of two seconds.

Also at the Class 4A competition, Southeastern’s Brody Smith took sixth place in the state in the boys’ pole vault while Lauren Taylor finished 14th in the girls’ shot put. The boys’ (Kevyn Chavez, Riley Hollar, Johnny Silverio and Chris Smith) and girls’ (Marlene Paez, Daisy Pintor, Sandybel Ramos and Julie Ruiz) 4×800 meters relay teams competed at the state, both finishing 13th.

The Class 3A State Championships were also held in Carrollton.

Coahulla Creek’s Robbie Wiggins and Zeke Turso finished eighth and eleventh respectively in the boys’ shot put. Rachel Schmidt of North Murray finished 12th in the 400 meters, dropping a few spots before a berth in the final.

Dalton Academy’s Gauri Sheth competed in the Class A Public State Championships in Albany during the school’s freshman year. Sheth finished 16th in the state in the triple jump.

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