By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
South Effingham jumper Cameron Edwards excelled in a balancing act Saturday at the Class AAAAAA Sectional (A) track and field championships at Johns Creek High School.
With his three field events — the triple jump, long jump and high jump — held approximately the same time, Edwards balanced his energies and talents to advance to the state meet in all three.
The Mustangs junior was second in the triple jump with a personal-best jump of 44 feet, 5.5 inches, took fifth in the high jump at 6-0 and eighth in the long jump at 21-3.5.
The top four in each event from Regions 1, 2, 7 and 8 formed the field for Sectional (A).
The top eight in each event at Sectional moved on to the Class AAAAAA track and field state championships in Carrollton beginning Thursday.
“You have to keep your head on straight and not waste energy to get the job done (advancing to state) and Cameron listened and did a great job,” said SEHS coach Laura Soles, who announced she would be leaving the Mustangs track program after the season, but continue to coach cross country.
Soles has coached the SEHS track program since 2008. She’s been with cross country since 2005.
“(The track community) makes you almost not want to quit because it’s a family,” Soles said.
Soles will be taking seven Mustangs to her final appearance at state. Jacob Mitchell and Cailan Howard both advanced in the 1600 after placing fourth and fifth respectively.
Mitchell, who is headed USC Beaufort, posted a time of 4:31.15 and Howard was less than a second behind at 4:31.55.
The 4x800 relay team of Mitchell, Howard, Tyler Phillips and Gavin Vanness finished seventh at 8:26.75.
Joining Edwards in the field events will be Jake Kerns and Alex Brown. Kerns was seventh in the discus with a throw of 132-1. Brown, the lone Mustang female headed to state, was seventh in the high jump at 4-10.
Effingham County will send just three girls to state. Junior Candace Kieffer placed sixth in both the 1600 (5:18.58) and 3200 (11:41.31).
Freshman Roneisha Goss was second in the high jump with a leap of 5-0 and Megan Hilton, who recently signed to run at Emmanuel College, was sixth in the 800 with a 2:27.83.
Other local track and field athlete competing at Sectionals but failing to qualify for state were:
For South Effingham, Cheyenne Ryan (1600, 5:55.18, 12th), Diya Patel (1600, 6:01.22, 13th and 3200, 12:53.09, 13th), Sydney Sticha (pole, 8-0, 13th), Mitchell (800, 2:04.71, 9th) and Howard (3200, 10:30.21, 11th).
For Effingham County, Goss (200, 26.52, 10th), Skyllar Hoenshell (400, 1:00.94, 9th), Hilton (1600, 5:42.58, 10th), Enna Lackey (100 hurdles, 16.85, 10th) and Kalyce Watson (long jump, 15-2, 13th).