The East Jackson athletes are certainly no strangers to their home facilities.
Not only do they spend countless hours practicing in Eagle Stadium, they’ve hosted multiple home meets including the Region 8-AAA Championships.
Seventeen Eagle athletes will have one more chance this season to compete on familiar turf as East Jackson hosts the AAA East Sectionals this Saturday.
The Eagles are flying high after athletes qualified for sectionals in 18 individual events and two relay events at the 8-AAA championships last week.
Head coach Tomy Sitton called the Eagles performance at region “our best showing in some time,” noting that East Jackson had never had both teams score so well in a region meet.
“I was very pleased,” said Sitton. “That’s the highest combined finish we have ever had here. We qualified 11 to sectionals this year, so this is definitely a big improvement.”
The Lady Eagles finished in third with 87 points. North Oconee (166) took first, while Hart County (99) finished second.
The East Jackson boys finished fourth with 87.5 points. Elbert County took the region championship with 142 points, followed by North Oconee (118) in second and Oconee County (101) in third.
The top eight individual finishers in running events and the top nine in field events will qualify for the state meets in Albany (girls) and Jefferson (boys).
Sitton is confident that the Eagles can advance several athletes to the state level.
“I think some have a good chance to go on to the state meet,” he said. “I think close to half should be able to advance; others will really have to step it up to move forward.”
After several years of hosting multiple invitationals and region meets, Sitton felt like the East Jackson facilities were prime real estate for a sectional event.
“We felt that if we had the opportunity, we’d put in a bid,” Sitton said. “We feel like we do a good job (hosting meets) and it saves us from having to travel.”
The GHSA accepted Sitton’s bid, and now the East Jackson athletes will have the chance to compete for a spot in the state championships in front of friends and family.
“We feel like it’s been a very good year,” said Sitton. “We’ve broken quite a few school records and qualified a good number of kids. We feel like we have the program where we want it for right now and will continue to improve as the years go on.”
East Jackson sectional qualifiers are:
Girls – Lauren Sanders, second, 100-meter hurdles (17.32); Robin Adair, third, 100-meter hurdles (17.67) and second, 300-meter hurdles (51.03); Jasmine Pressley, third, 200-meter run (27.15) and second, 400-meter run (1:03.22); Randi Slizewski, second, discus (91-02); Lexie Evans, third, discus (88-01); Arianne Summers, second, pole vault (8-00); and Jalexis Chandler, fourth, shot put (29-03.75).
Boys – DeAngelo Moore, second, 100-meter run (11.6); Chase Kennedy, second, 1600-meter run (4:49.97) and third, 3200-meter run (10:07.21); Chandler Kennedy, 800-meter run (2:04.51); Austin Beauchamp, second, discus (135-07); Tyree Rakestraw, second, long jump (19-10.5) and second, triple jump (41-11); Justin Akin, third, shot put (43-04.5); Casey Reed, fourth, triple jump (40-05).
Relays – Boys’ 4x100 team of Beauchamp, Reed, Rakestraw and Moore, second, 44.62; and the girls’ 4x400 relay team of Adair, Pressley, Kristin Whitlock, Christina Stevens and Alexandra Poole, second, 4:19.26.