The track and field teams of Thomson High School have been very busy the past several weeks finishing up the regular 2007 schedule and preparing for region competition. In the region meet, a first or second place finish in any event will propel that athlete or athletes to the state meet.
Seventeen young ladies represented the Thomson High Lady Bulldogs at the Region 3-AAA Track and Field competition this past weekend at Burke County High School in Waynesboro. All the participants did extremely well in the meet; however, no one earned the right to represent THS at the state meet in Albany this weekend.
"We had a pretty good showing from everyone in the region meet," said first year Lady Bulldog Head Coach Megan DeVane. "Unfortunately, only the top two finishers in each event move on to the state meet, and we did not have anyone to get that far.
"The girls are already talking about working together this summer so they can be better prepared for the stiff competition next season and maybe earn the opportunity to represent Thomson High in the state meet."
The region preliminaries were held on the campus of Burke County High School on Friday, April 20, with the finals being held on Saturday, April 21. Several athletes earned the honor of participating in the region finals.
Destiny Barbour captured a third place finish in the long jump. During the season, she recorded a personal best jump of just over 18 feet.
Gloria Rowland captured a fourth place finish in the discus event. Her personal best effort for the 2007 season was a throw of 90'7".
Brianna Hart grabbed a fifth place finish in the discus, right behind her teammate Rowland. Hart's best effort this season was a throw of 66'10".
The 4x100 relay team - Ashlee Simmons, Etoryia Anderson, Dezzera Howard and Barbour - captured a third place finish behind some very fast squads in the region.
The 4x400 relay team, consisting of Anderson, Barbour, Simmons, Charlene Moore and alternate Brittney Brinkley captured a fourth place finish.
"Destiny Barbour did an outstanding job for us in all the events she participated in, especially in the long jump," Coach DeVane said. "In the long jump, she almost made it to the state meet. Destiny was also very instrumental in getting both relay teams as far as they did."
The Lady Bulldogs implemented a new motto - "You Gotta Learn To Love To Run...You Know!" - this season to try and boost the spirits and morale of all the athletes.
One of the main reasons for the success of the Lady Bulldogs this season was the performance of senior captain Ashlee Simmons.
"This year has been a little difficult for us," said Simmons. "The greatest challenge for us was having a female track coach. In the past we had football coaches guiding us, and this was just something we had to get used to.
"There's a lot of leadership coming up from the junior class, and next season should be a great one for the Lady Bulldogs. The group of juniors this season will become veteran seniors next season with a lot of leadership ability."
Coach Rodney Garvin's Bulldog track and field squad will travel to Burke County this week to participate in its region meet. Last year, the Bulldogs finished in fifth place, and two years ago, the squad came in second position. The preliminaries will be held on Friday, April 27, with the finals being held on Saturday, April 28.
"We want to improve drastically from our fifth place finish of a year ago, but we all know it will be tough since there are 14 teams vying for the top two spots in the region," Coach Garvin said. "We will probably take around 16 kids with us to region from our great mixture of participants from throughout the season."