Strength In Numbers
Towards the end of the Walker Valley Jamboree on Saturday, a coach from Section 2 was texting me to see if I could give him any insight on what he can expect from the teams in attendance that are also Division I Class AAA. I told him Liz Lannom won the 100m dash (which didn't surprise me or him), Cleveland had some decent sprinters in the 400m (of course their last name's are Ryan), but nothing else really stood out at the time. Then the 200m dash occurred. As each of the 15 heats passed by, so did another Mustang from Walker Valley. It was kind of hard to track since they had three different uniforms it seems but after the girls were done I texted him back and said, "Has the participation rate at Walker Valley always been this high? I haven't seen results but I believe they just put a dozen girls between 26 and 30."
While it wasn't quite a dozen, eight Lady Mustangs did run under thirty seconds for the 200m dash with Jailee Easley (Lane 3 Navy) going 27.71 and Maliyah Woods (Lane 4 Yellow) finishing in 28.02 in the race above. In 2021, the team placed 9th at the state championship in the 4x200m relay missing the podium by one spot. Here is a side by side of their Top 10 performances in the open 200m on Saturday against their end of the season Top 10 from 2021.
Needless to say, the team is opening it's 2023 season with a squad of girls who, on paper, is deeper than the team that just barely missed medaling in 2021. While I won't go as far as to say they will medal this year, they're definitely a team that has a very high floor for the event and should be a for a couple of years to come. There were zero seniors in the list above, 2 juniors, 6 sophomores, and 2 freshmen. Outside of Rockvale, there likely aren't as many teams in Section 2 with this kind of overall depth. Should be interesting watching this team develop for the next two months.