Knoxville - The best AA athletes across East Tennessee faced off Saturday, May 13th, on the famous Tom Black track at the University of Tennessee. Several standout performances highlighted the day, impressive given the scorching 85 + degrees when running events kicked off at 4:00 pm.
Union County's Alden Wetzel and Greeneville's Adjatay Dabbs we head to head three times on Saturday with Dabbs winning the 100m over Wetzel and Wetzel winning the 200m (above) and 400m distances over Dabbs. Both advanced in all three events to Murfreesboro with Dabbs PR-ing in every event. Both will find themselves seeded in the inside lanes for every event next week.
Teddy Orton cleaned up the hurdle events nicely, winning the 110 (Above) and 300 hurdles in dominating fashion. Orton is currently ranked 1st in both events at the state level, a ranking he hopes to keep through the next several days until the state championship and the final podium.
Tyrell Miles of Claiborne High School performed equally well in the jumps, winning the triple jump and placing third in the long jump. He will be the top seed in the triple with a 43-11.5.
On the distance events, the Signal Mountain boys, to nobody's surprise, stole the show. Placing a casual second in the 4x800 meter relay behind a great winning effort from South-Doyle, Jack Gibby and Joshua Pote took over from there sweeping the top three spots in both the 1600m and 3200m distances and advancing a runner in the at-large position in the 800m. Gibby placed 3rd in the 800 meters, narrowly missing Will Spierdowis from Gibbs and the winner Roman Borghetti-Metz from Volunteer High, who ran a gutsy last 200 meters for the win and a ticket to state (below).
The 1600 meters in was all Signal Mountain, with the top three places going to the Eagles, led by junior Josh Pote in 4:33.39. The same result occurred in the 3200 meters, with Pote, Gibby, and sophomore Tynan Borders placing in the top three.
On the girl's side, Kaiya Simmons of Elizabethton won the hundred meters and placed 4th in the 200 meters. Not to be outdone in points, Ka'Shauna Dyer of South-Doyle placed 3rd and 2nd in the 100 and 200 meters and led the South Doyle women to a victory in the 4x100m relay (above). They are the defending champions in the event and will the top seed in Murfreesboro after their performance.
Speaking of defending state champions, the open 400-meter was won by Maddox Mayfield of McMinn Central who, after dipping under 59 towards the end of last year, finally dipped under 58 with a 57.99 en route to victory on Saturday. She also qualified in the 100m dash as well. Freshman Marlee Burkley of Signal Mountain also ran a new PR of 58.46 to finish second.
The girl's distance events were marked by strong performances from Tennessee High runners. Freshman Jenna Reecher placed 2nd in the 800 meters in 2:24.41, while senior Zoe Arrington won the 1600 and 3200-meter races. The performances propelled the Vikings to their first Sectional Team title in 39 years. Equally strong performances came from Signal Mountain, with athletes placing 3rd, 4th, and 5th, in the 800 meters, 2nd and 4th in the 1600 meters, and 4th, 5th, and 7th in the 3200.
The South-Doyle Boys took the 4x400 meters in an electrifying 3:30, narrowly beating Signal Mountain and Carter High School. For the girls, Signal Mountain won the 4x400 meters in 4:11.76 . Signal also won the 4x800 meter race in one of the more exciting races of the day against East Hamilton High School.
As the setting sun bathed LaPorte Stadium in a Volunteer Orange glow, most AA athletes wrapped up their seasons, while many moved on to Murfreesboro and the TSSAA State Meet kicking off in a week. I can't think of a better way to end a season than getting an opportunity to compete at one of the best track facilities in the country. For those of you moving on, congrats and good luck. For those whose seasons are over, get some rest, finish the school year strong, and get excited about next season. For you seniors, I hope the last meet was a special one.