The Briarwood Academy track teams had their best showing in GISA AA state competition in recent years with the Lady Bucs capturing third place and the Bucs placing fifth at the meet last weekend at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany.
With points allotted to the top six finishers, the Lady Bucs had three first places, three second places, one third place, one fourth place, two fifth places and one sixth place for a total of 63 points for their third place overall finish. Trinity Christian placed first, while Gatewood School of Eatonton, who defeated the Lady Bucs for the Region 1AA title, placed second in state.
"I was real happy with how the girls did," said track Coach Clayton Parrish. "Our goal going into the state meet was to finish in the top five, so to finish in the top three is really good."
A ninth grader and two eighth graders took the three firsts for the Lady Bucs.
"It's not uncommon," Coach Parrish said of the young age of the Briarwood track team. "That, plus the fact that our middle school girls won their big meet makes our future in track look pretty good."
Ninth grader Lizzie Keen, who captured the only state championship title for the Lady Bucs last year in the 400-meter dash with a time of 63.45, improved her time to 62.01 to take this year's title in the same event. Keen took a sixth place in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.58. She also placed ninth in the triple jump. Keen earned 11 points for the Lady Bucs.
Eight grader Hannah Wilson not only led the Lady Bucs in points toward the title with 26, she placed third overall in AA High Points competition at the meet. Wilson took first in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 47.71. She also took second place in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.61 and second in pole vault with a jump of eight feet. Wilson led the Lady Bucs in points toward the title with 26 points.
Emily Henderson finished first in the 1600-meter run with a time of 5:38.64. Henderson also placed fifth in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:36.96. Henderson earned 12 points for the Lady Bucs.
Ninth grader Anna Goolsby took second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:34.6. She earned eight points for the Lady Bucs.
Junior Cassie Pickrell took fourth place in the discus throw and fifth place in the 100-meter hurdles to add six points towards the third place finish. She also placed 12th in the long jump.
Other Lady Bucs who placed in state competition include: junior Whitney Carani who placed seventh in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 55.18 and senior Olivia Lyons who tied for eighth place in the high jump.
"Competition was really tough," Coach Parrish said of boys' track at the state level. "We didn't do as well as we would have like, but it's an accomplishment to finish fifth."
The Bucs' speed paid off in state track competition with 27 of their 33 points earned coming from the running events.
Senior Jacob Gay was the top finisher for the Bucs with a second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.30. Junior classmate Hughlon Mays was hot on his heels for a third place finish with a time of 24.38.
The Briarwood 4x100-meter relay team of Gay, Mays, Joseph Batrous and sophomore Nick Dawson finished third with a time 46.54.
Batrous, a senior, finished fifth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 54.70. He finished fourth in the triple jump with a time of 39-05.5.
Junior Dave Joesbury finished fifth in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 17.83. He also placed fifth in the triple jump with a jump of 39-03.
The Bucs' 4x400-meter relay team of Mays, Gay, Batrous, and junior Carl Chapman finished fifth with a time of 3:52.86.
Junior Matthew Graziano placed sixth in the discus throw with a throw of 101'5". Junior Andrew Johnson finished ninth with a throw of 95'4".
Other Bucs who qualified and competed included eighth grader Ryan Nelson who placed eighth in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:19.46 and Dawson who placed 11th in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 49.66.