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McDonald puts versatility on display at Mustang Madness
Abby McDonald
Effingham County’s Abby McDonald briefly ditched her track shoes for Crocs during Mustang Madness at The Corral on Thursday. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald

GUYTON — Effingham County’s Abby McDonald has had an understandable progression into an odd mixture of track and field events.

Blessed with sprinter’s speed, McDonald runs the 100-meter dash for the Rebels. She also competes in the seemingly unrelated pole vault and shot put.

“I started to do the pole (vault) because of my brother and, the shot put, one day I picked it up thinking it would be fun and from that day on my coach said, ‘You’re throwing it,’” she said.

On Thursday, the junior displayed her versatility of speed, technique and strength, winning the 100, pole vault and shot put at the eight-team Mustang Madness hosted by South Effingham.

McDonald produced or tied season-best marks in all three of her events. She ran a 12.32 in the 100 to edge Savannah Christian’s Carly Wanamaker by .01 of a second. She won the pole with a vault of 8 feet and won the shot put by nearly four feet with a throw of 36-3.

According to website AthleticNet, McDonald’s 100 time and shot put distance were the best in Region 2-AAAAAA this spring and her pole vault height was second in the region by a half inch.

“You do see some of your competition in a meet like this but at this point in the season, you’re competing against yourself and trying to do your best,” said McDonald, whose older brother Liam was second at state in the pole vault with a vault of 14-0 in 2018.

Abby went to state in the pole vault as a freshman in 2019 and finished 14th.

McDonald wasn’t the only local athlete shining on the summer-like day when the temperature hit 90 degrees at the Mustang Madness.

McDonald’s teammate Megan Hilton, a senior, set the school record (according to MileSplit) with a winning time of 2:24.35 in the 800.

Hilton was a triple winner on the day, capturing the 1600 with a time of 5:28.17, and running a leg on the Rebels 4 X 400 winning relay team (with Aniyah  Mercier, Makaela Whitley and Skyllar Hoenshell) with a time of 4:28.32.

Junior Enna Lackey won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.90.

South Effingham’s Alex Brown was among the meet’s top female athletes and tied or set personal season bests in the high jump (5-2, second), 100 (12.36, third .04 behind McDonald) and 200 (25.93, second by .12).

Effingham County’s outstanding long distance runner Candace Kieffer participated in the War Eagle Invitational in Atlanta and placed second in the 3200 with a time of 11:58.04.

In the boys portion of Mustang Madness, first-place SEHS’ Cameron Edwards won the high jump with a leap of 5-10, the triple jump at 41-8 and was second in the long jump at 20-9.

Edwards also teamed with Victavious Smith, Jamari Fields and Larry Scott to post a 43.83 on the Mustangs’ winning 4 X 100 relay team.

SEHS senior Jacob Mitchell, who recently signed to compete at USC-Beaufort, won the 1600 with a time of 4:38.67. The foursome of Cailan Howard, Chase Garrett, Tyler Phillips and Mitchell won the 4 X 800 relay with an 8:55.13.

And Mustang senior Jake Kerns continued his area dominance in the discus, winning by more than 15 feet with a throw of 133-6.