The Briarwood Academy track teams will compete in the GISA Region 1AA Track Meet beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday at Gatewood School in Eatonton.
The Lady Bucs placed second overall behind Gatewood in the pre-region track meet held last week at Gatewood, but all of the region teams weren't present, according to Coach Clayton Parrish. Region foe Edmund Burke Academy wasn't present at last week's five-way meet hosted by Gatewood in which Region 1AA teams Briarwood, Gatewood, Brentwood School, Piedmont Academy and Monroe Academy competed in a region preview.
"I think it will be close," Coach Parrish said of the competition for the region title. "Edmund Burke should hurt Gatewood more than they hurt us. It should be between us, Gatewood and Brentwood. It might just depend on who has the better day."
The Lady Bucs, led by seniors Melisa Newsome, Beth Gerlach and Katie Reese, won three first places and eight second places last week in the pre-region meet.
Newsome placed first in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 18:50. Newsome will compete in the long jump and both the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles as well as run on both relay teams at the region meet.
Two eighth graders captured the other two first places for the Lady Bucs. Erin Wester won the high jump with a jump of 4'9" while Anna Goolsby took the 800-meter run with a time of 2:40.
Coach Parrish expects both to do well in the region meet. Wester has cleared 4'10" this season in the high jump while Goolsby's sole loss in the 800-meter run was to the AA defending state champion from Bulloch Academy.
Seniors Gerlach and Reese both placed second in their top events. Gerlach, heaved the shot put over 32 feet, but should do better in the region meet, according to Coach Parrish, who said Gerlach also will represent the Lady Bucs in the triple jump, pole vault and both relays.
Reese, the defending state champion in discus, will also run on both relay teams and represent the Lady Bucs in the triple jump and the mile run.
Sophomore Cassie Pickrell was close behind Wester in the high jump, taking second place with a jump of 4'8". Pickrell is also the heir apparent in the discus, taking third place to Reese's at the pre-region meet. Pickrell will compete in discus in the region competition. A strong competitor, Pickrell also placed third in the 100-meter hurdles.
Sophomore Whitney Carani tied each other for second place in the pole vault. Coach Parrish expects one or both of them to place in the region competition. Carani also placed second in the 300-meter hurdles.
Eighth grader Lizzie Keen, another young runner Coach Parrish expects to take some points for the Lady Bucs, placed second in the 400 meter dash with a time of 67.17.
Both of the girls relay teams, the 4x100 meter and 4x400 meter teams, placed second. Team members for the 4x100 meter relay are Melisa Newsome, Lizzie Keen, Cassie Pickrell and Beth Gerlach. Runners for the 4x400 meter relay team are Whitney Carani, Melisa Newsome, Lizzie Keen and Anna Goolsby.
"We've got strong number two relay teams, too," he said, adding that he expects the number two teams to place, also.
In fact, the girls #2 4x100 meter relay team placed third in the pre-region meet.
Gerlach took two fourth places, one in the triple jump and the other in the 100-meter dash. Wester took fourth in the 200-meter dash.
Reese placed fifth in the triple jump.
The boys took only a small contigent of the Bucs' track competitors to the pre-region meet because of a conflict in scheduling; however, the Bucs took two second places and three third, fourth and fifth places.
Sophomore Dave Joesbury took second place in the high jump while fellow sophomore Hughlon Mays took second in the 100-meter dash.
Freshman Matthew Graziano took third place in the discus; Mays took third in the 200-meter dash, and 4x100-meter relay team placed third.
Eighth grader Matthew McElveen took fourth place in both the 100-meter and 200-meter runs. Joesbury took fourth in the triple jump.
Freshman Ben Raburn took fifth place in the 1600-meter run, and freshman Corey Davidson took fifth in the 400-meter run. The boys 4x400-meter relay team also placed fifth.