By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
GUYTON — South Effingham’s boys and girls track coach Laura Soles says her runners will be entering the final phase of her systematic, four-part development plan while competing at Thursday afternoon’s Mustang Madness at the Corral.
To this point, workouts have been integrating sprints with distance runs while keeping an eye on building and recovery.
Now spring training is ending and competition is in the forefront.
“We’re at the point where it’s, “What do you run the best?” Soles said. “I want to see them PR (reach personal records).”
The ultimate aim is to be among the top four individuals April 21 at the Region 2-AAAAAA meet at Richmond Hill, be among the top eight May 8 at Sectionals at Johns Creek and peak for the state championships May 13-15 in Carrollton.
The nine-team Mustang Madness will be a good barometer to tell athletes where they stand about four weeks before region.
The SEHS meet will include Richmond Hill, Effingham County, Calvary, Savannah Country Day, St. Vincent’s (girls only), Savannah Christian, Bethesda (boys only), and McIntosh County Academy.
“It will be a great chance to show what they can do, particularly with (perennial region power) Richmond Hill in the meet,” Soles said.
Mustang freshman Tyler Phillips, who won the region cross country title and placed fourth at state, will attract attention after missing eight weeks with a hip flexor injury.
Phillips ran the 1600 and 3200 last Friday at the Indian Invitational in Vidalia and finished third in both events behind teammates Cailan Howard and Jacob Mitchell.
SEHS has several athletes ranked among the best in the region this season, according to Internet site Athletic.net. Cameron Edwards recorded the region’s best triple jump with a jump of 43 feet, 3.5 inches. He is second in the long jump (21-10) and second in the high jump (6-2).
Jake Kerns is first in the discus (139-9) and second in the shot put (46-2).
On the girls side, Effingham County’s Abby McDonald has the region’s best time in the 100-meter dash (12.66) and is second in the pole vault (8-0). Megan Hilton has the top 800 time (2:25.21) and region cross country champ Candace Kieffer is first in the 1600 (5:20.72) and second in the 3200 (11:44.11).
Enna Lackey is second in 100 hurdles (16.85) and the Rebels 4 X 400 relay team is second (4:32.01).
For South Effingham’s girls, Alex Brown has the region’s second-best high jump at 5-2.
SEHS tuned up for the Mustang Madness last Friday at the Indian Invitational in Vidalia. Winning events for the Mustangs boys were: Chase Garrett in the 800 with a time of 2:17.23 -- his season’s best. Howard’s 4:51.46 in the 1600 edged Mitchell by a little more than a second. Then in the 3200, Howard’s 10:13.59 was about two seconds better than Mitchell.
SEHS’ 4 X 800 relay team (Cailan Howard, Mitchell, Julian Howard and Cesar Martinez) won with a time of 9:07.32. Jake Kerns won the discus (136-8) and Edwards won the triple jump (42-10).
For the girls, Cheyenne Ryan won the 800 (2:34.41) and the 4 X 800 relay (Ryan, Diya Patel, Madison Hodge and Sydney Sticha) placed first with a time of 10:53.32.