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ECHS, SEHS track athletes make run to state
Justine Nevels and Harrison Crofts
South Effingham girls’ high jumper Justine Nevels (left) and Mustangs boys’ high jumper Harrison Crofts are among Class 6A's top athletes in the event. The Class 6A boys and girls state track and field championships begin Thursday in Rome, Georgia. (Donald Heath for the Effingham Herald.)

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald


Survive, advance – two words that sum up postseason competition. Track athletes know them well.

Getting to the Class 6A state championships is the last lap of the journey. To make state, South Effingham and Effingham County athletes had to be among the top eight at Sectional B (Region 2,3,6,7) May 4 and 5 at Steele Road Stadium in Morrow.

The hurdles seemingly get higher.

So do the rewards – a chance to compete for a state championship.

“I don’t think anyone under-performed,” SEHS coach Rico Campbell said about the Sectional. “It was a very competitive meet. I thought all the schools brought their A game.”

Now on to the final meet of the season. State begins May 9 at Barron Stadium in Rome, Georgia.

Mustangs’ Brooke Crickard, Justine Nevels, Aubrey Edge, Danni Lynn, Zoe Robinson and the girls 4 X 800 relay team and Harrison Crofts were survivors.

Rebels Chloe Adkins, Braylin Nease, Sarah Hinely and Dakaria Walker also escaped Morrow unscathed.

“I thought we performed well,” ECHS coach Jordan Brown said.

With the threat of rain in the air, meet officials moved the Sectional field events and 1600 to Friday.

Nevels and Crofts – two of the best girls’- and boys’ high jumpers in Class 6A – remained on course to compete for state titles, Campbell said. Nevels cleared the initial jump of 4-feet-10 to make the final eight. Crofts soared 6-2 to advance in the boys meet.

Nease, who was second to Nevels at region, also made the Sectional’s cut-off jump of 4-10.

South’s Lynn, a freshman, made state in two events. She broke her own school record in the discus with a throw of 116-0.5 to place second and was sixth in the shot put with a toss of 33-2.5.

Brown said Hinely pulled out an eighth-place finish in the discus with her final throw of 90-0.25. 

Edge, SEHS’ record holder in the pole vault, held on to win a three-person run-off with a vault of 9-6 for eighth place and the final spot for state.

On Saturday, the Sectional continued with the running events. Crickard, the Mustangs’ 800-meter record holder, was fourth in the 800 at 2:19.71. She then teamed with Lydia Alderman, Lily McDonald and Mia Fitzpatrick to break the school record in the 4 X 800 relay with a time of 9:58.63 – seventh overall at the Sectional.

For Effingham County, Adkins eased to a fourth-place finish with a time of 11:36.39 in the 3200. Adkins was nine seconds faster last week while setting a school record at the region meet.

In boys’ competition, Walker pulled out an eighth-place finish in the 400 with a time of 50.15.

Robinson made state when a timing dispute was resolved by allowing all 16 girls from Sectional B to advance, Campbell said. 

There were some disappointing moments for the local schools. South’s Q’Ron France, who qualified in three events, was an early scratch after getting hurt in the long jump.

And ECHS’ relay teams fell short of state appearances by split seconds. The girls’ time of 49.28 in the 4 X 100 was .06 of a second behind eighth-place Alcovy . The boys’ time of 1:30.10 in the 4 X 200 trailed eighth-place Allatoona by .13 of a second.

Here are the results at Sectionals for both South Effingham and Effingham County.

SEHS girls – Zoe Robinson (200, 14th, 29.10), Brooke Crickard (800, 4th, 2:19.71), Lydia Alderman (800, 10th, 2:26.21), Lily McDonald (3200, 13th, 13:02.12), Olivia Johnson (3200, 12th, 12:52.58), Christeon Lewis (100H, 12th, 15.93; 300H, 14th, 48.22), Syraiah Wilkins (300H, 10th, 46.75), 4 X 200 relay (Lewis, Aubrey Edge, Madison Mills, Brianna Williams, 13th, 1:47.28), 4 X 800 relay (Alderman, Crickard, McDonald, Mia Fitzpatrick, 7th, 9:58.63), Justine Nevels (HJ, 1st, 4-10), Makenzi Polk (TJ, 15th, 32-0.5), Aubrey Edge (Pole, 8th, 9-6), Danni Lynn (Discus, 2nd, 116-0; Shot, 6th, 33-2.5).

SEHS boys – Kenny Carlton (110H, 14th, 15.74), 4 X 400 relay (Alejandro Higareda, Hayden Still, Carlton, Marcus Campbell, 16th, 3:39.64), 4 X 800 relay (Caiden Mason, Nathaniel West, Tyler Phillips, Ben Fluegel, 13th, 8:45.25), Harrison Crofts (HJ, 4th, 6-2).

ECHS girls –Jada Praylo (400, 13th, 1:04.44), Chloe Adkins (3200, 4th, 11:36.39), 4 X 100 relay (Kyla Hicklen, Victoria Foskey, Kameryn Watson, Dionna Rivers, 9th, 49.28), 4 X 400 (Foskey, Praylo, Rivers, Zaria Anderson, 14th, 4:17.78), Braylin Nease (HJ, 8th, 4-10), Sarah Hinely (Discus, 8th, 96-0).

ECHS boys – Dakarai Walker (200, 11th, 22.30; 400, 8th, 50.15), 4 X 200 relay (Cory Dekle, Jaden Praylo, Walker, Lamar Roberts, 9th, 1:30.10).