THE JEFFERSON girls didn’t finish second at the Region 8-AA meet as they had hoped, but Chad Cheatham was anything but a disappointed coach in the aftermath.
“You can’t be upset with kids who give you everything they’ve got,” Cheatham said. “That is the main thing these kids do for us. Heck, they’re the best kids in the world. They just give 100 percent and we PR’d (set personal records) in almost everything we did.”
Jefferson ended up third in 8-AA with 87.5 points behind region champion North Oconee (154 points) and Hart County (108 points).
Kasey McDonald paced Jefferson with second-place finishes in both the shot put (33-08) and discus (105-05) to qualify for state.
“Kasey threw well in the shot and discus, and she’s going to state,” Cheatham said.
Given North Oconee’s depth, Jefferson didn’t really expect to challenge the Lady Titans for the 8-AA title. But runner-up honors were seemingly up for grabs.
“We felt like we had a possibility to finish second,” coach Chad Cheatham said. “We knew it was going to be real tight with Hart.”
Others scoring in the region meet in addition to McDonald were Summer Bartek (fifth, shot put, 31-06; sixth, discus, 96-00), Rachel Goza (eighth, long jump, 15-02.5; fourth, 800 meters, 2:36.4), Eden Starnes (sixth, triple jump, 31-04.75; seventh, 100-meter hurdles, 18.05 seconds; seventh, 300-meter hurdles, 54.55 seconds), Abby Carson (seventh, triple jump, 31-02.75), Rebecca Stoudenmire (fourth, pole vault, 7-06), Lauren Taronji (fourth, 1,600 meters, 5:40.33; fifth, 800 meters, 2:37.87), Savannah Holland (fifth, 100 meter-hurdles, 17.74 seconds; fifth, 300-meter hurdles, 53.92 seconds), Holly Baron (fifth, 200 meter dash, 28.26 seconds;), Reese Bowles (fourth, 3,200 meters, 12:56), Allison Missler (fifth, 3,200 meters, 13:10), the 4 x 400 ‘A’ relay team (sixth, 4:24.15), the 4 x 400 ‘B’ relay team (eighth, 4:41.44) and the 4 x 100 relay team (seventh, 53.46).
“We just didn’t have the speed to run with Hart and Elbert and North Oconee,” Cheatham said. “We had to move some folks around and try to take advantage of it. And sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.”
But the future looks bright for Jefferson next year as the team returns several performers who got a lot of experience in this year’s region meet.
Cheatham notes that this is still a young team.
“We got a lot done this year,” Cheatham said. “We’ve got a lot to improve on. The good thing is that we’ve got a lot of kids that come back that ran this region meet that are freshmen and sophomores. A huge junior class will be seniors next year, and I can’t say enough about the kids.”