Lowndes won the Region 1-AAAAA girls track title — again — with a dominant performance Tuesday in Albany.
The Vikettes garnered 150 points Tuesday, 54 more than second-place Tift County.
This is Lowndes’ 15th region title in the last 17 seasons. Only in 1995, when Valdosta beat them by one point, and 2000, when Bainbridge won, did the Vikettes fail to walk away with the title.
“We’re pleased,” Lowndes track coach Hiram Johnson said. “When you win, you feel good for the kids, because they’ve sacrificed to get to this point. They’ve put in a lot of work, and they’ve earned their success.”
Lowndes athletes won six of the 15 events, and had a girl place in the top three in 13 of the 15 events.
“About 98 percent of our kids performed up to the level we anticipated,” Johnson said.
Lowndes’ best performance may have come from distance runner Emily Touchton. Touchton won region championships in both the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. She won the 1,600 in 5:55, and won the 3,200 by 22 seconds, in 13:15.
“Emily is a girl that has done a lot with what she has,” Johnson said. “She doesn’t have as much natural speed as some of the other girls, but she’s learned how to run a disciplined race. She’ll pace herself, and run a disciplined race, and she’ll beat the girls that ran fast early, then got tired. We’re proud of Emily.”
Several other girls gave Johnson a reason to be proud. Adrienna Melvin won the 400 meters in 59.8 seconds, the only runner to break one minute. Markeisha Close won the triple jump with a leap of 34 feet, 4.5 inches. The girls’ 4x400 relay team of Taccara Bivins, Chanise Hart, Melvin, Zakiya Mitchell and Chelsea Williams took first in 4:06.53. Krystal Thomas threw the discus 124 feet, 7 inches, winning by 16 feet. Thomas also took second in the shot put (34 feet, 7 inches).
Brianna Hyre finished second in the 800 and 1600 meters. Hart was second in the 200. In the 100, Williams was second and Stephanie Sermons third. Bivins was second in the high jump. Close was second in the long jump.
Tashyka Dumas was third in the 100 hurdles. Mitchell was fourth in the 300 hurdles. Keia Tillman was fourth in the shot put. Brittany Hyre was fourth in the 3200. Lowndes’ second 4x400 team (Sermons, Dumas, Brittany Godfrey, Ariel Hodge, Marsha Swain) also took fourth.
“The difference between us and the other teams is that we’re competitive in every event,” Johnson said. “We’re always preparing next year’s team in addition to this year’s.”
Tift was second with 94 points, Coffee was third with 86 points, Valdosta was fourth with 68, Houston County was fifth with 48 and Colquitt County was sixth with 18.
Valdosta’s Lakeisha Spates won the 100 meters in 11.84 seconds and the 200 meters in 25.34 seconds. Chelsea Williams won the long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 2.5 inches. Valdosta’s third-place finishers were: Alyshia Johnson in the 800 and the 300 hurdles, Glenda House in the 3200, Spates in the triple jump and Marcia Hill in the shot put. In fourth were House in the 1600 and Williams in the triple jump.
The top two finishers in each event qualified for the state meet.
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