The Lady Crusaders competed in the GISA state track championships this past weekend at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany and returned home as the State Champions in one of the closest contests in GISA history. The senior class has won 3 of the last 4 state championships and finished runner up once.

The Lady Crusaders started off amazing on Thurs in qualifying with the 4×100 team of Ellie Graham, Mary Hayes Palmer, Sarah Tuck and Kayla Blackshear breaking the state record and running a time of 49.90.  The Lady Crusaders kept the momentum going through the day getting almost everyone qualified for the finals on Saturday.

On Friday the Lady Crusaders found themselves in a pretty big hole after the first two rounds of field events but were able to get back within striking distance when Kayla Blackshear won triple jump with a jump of 33’11.  The Lady Crusaders followed that up by getting 18 points in pole vault when Samantha Threlkeld won state by clearing 9’3 and Mary Claire Wolfe finished state runner up by clearing 9 foot.

Going into the finals on Saturday the Lady Crusaders found themselves down by 20 points.  The Lady Crusaders in every event on Saturday finished one spot ahead of where their qualifying time had them slated to finish.  With Sarah Tuck winning state in the 300 hurdles with a time of 47.46.  Going into the final event, the 4×400 relay, the Lady Crusaders had erased the deficit and were tied for first at 80 points with Monsignor Donovan.  The team of Kayla Blackshear, Nicole Acosta, Ellie Graham and Sarah Tuck fought with everything they had and was able to finish two spots ahead of Monsignor Donovan to claim the State Championship with a score of 85-83.

Coach Smith” I am so proud of these girls and the way that they competed.  It took a total team effort and every member of the team fought for the other girls.  Going into Saturday the girls could have panicked when they saw how much we were down but every girl finished one spot ahead of where they were supposed to finish.  These ladies are tremendous athletes but more importantly that are great role models.  The first thing they did after they won was circle up and gave God all the honor and glory.  We would not have been able to repeat as State Champs without some major contributions from Coach Jacob Wilkinson spending countless hours with our pole vaulters, all the work Coach Kimmons does with the middle school track to have them ready for varsity and Coach Collins working with the throwers.  I would also like to thank our athletic director Coach Brant for the job he does with encouraging players being able to play multiple sports because without the tennis players and soccer players being able to do track as well this would not be possible.”

Lady Crusaders that finished in the top 8  

100 Kayla Blackshear 5th

200 Kayla Blackshear 7th

400 Ellie Graham 5th

100 hurdles Sarah Tuck 2nd PR 16.79

100 hurdles Analise Williams 6th

300 hurdles Sarah Tuck 1st 47.46

300 hurdles Nicole Acosta 7th

4×100 Ellie Graham, Mary Hayes Palmer, Sarah Tuck, Kayla Blackshear 1st PR 49.90

4×100 Analise Williams, Nicole Acosta, Rileigh Robinson, Mary Claire Wolfe 7th

4×400 Kayla Blackshear, Nicole Acosta, Ellie Graham, Sarah Tuck 4th

High Jump Mary Hayes Palmer 8th

Pole Vault Samantha Threlkeld 1st 9’3

Pole Vault Mary Claire Wolfe 2nd 9′

Triple Jump Kayla Blackshear 1st 33’11

Shot Tamaria Lewis 3rd

4 29 19 RTCA Lady Crusaders Track State

1st row – Ella Stanley, Samantha Threkald, Nicole Acosta, Mary Claire Wolfe, Analise Williams, Baylee Williamson
2nd row – Coach Smith, Kayla Blackshear, Sarah Tuck, Ellie Graham, Maryhayes Palmer, Rileigh Robinson, Maddie Williams
Not pictured – Tamaria Lewis, Madi Moncus, Roya Adkins, Emma Tapley, Payton Nance, Addie Thompson