For Banks County, a drop into Class AA brings new adventures.
Both the boys’ and girls’ squads return key pieces from last year’s group including several state qualifiers.
For the boys, Kayne Berryhill returns after finishing third at state in the pole vault. He ranks sixth in all classifications entering this season, head coach Will Foster said.
Demetrius Walker returns after qualifying in both the 110 and 300 hurdles. He finished fifth in the 110 hurdles and hopes to better that mark this year, Foster said.
Bryce Bennett will also be looking for a good year in several events. He qualified for state in the long jump and this year will be working towards making an “impact” in several different events, Foster added.
Several distance runners return as well. Samual Davidson and Hunter Cochran finished ninth and 11th last year in the 2-mile run at state.
Newcomers includes Griffin Stephens, a 9th-grader, and Jackson Ramey, also a 9th-grader, who throws both shotput and discus.
On the girls’ team, The Lady Leopards return several girls who qualified for state in relays and many who qualified for the sectional meet.
Taylor Parson, a senior, ran both the 110 and 300 hurdles last year at sectionals.
Maggie Dyer will be running both the 800-meter run and 1600-meter run, and will most likely compete on the 4x400 team, for which she has some state championship experience, Foster said.
“Kadajha Beasley and Kennedy Smith both qualified for state last year as members of the 4x400 and 4x100 teams and are poised to have a great year in both their individual and relay events,” Foster added.
Strengths: Depth. “We have lots of athletes participating this year, and like last year, we have top-tier athletes at a variety of events which hopefully bodes well for us and our run at state,” Foster said.
Weaknesses: “I don't necessarily think we have many weaknesses, maybe just some unknowns,” Foster said. “We have several new athletes and we are looking forward to seeing what they can do and what kind of impact they will make in the region and state scene. We are also in a totally new region and classification, so both our boys and girls will have to make an adjustment and see who should be on our radar on both sides.”
Region Outlook: “We are in a totally new region this year, so throughout the season we will be keeping track of the other teams in our region and come up with a plan that hopefully sees both teams on top of the region podium in April,” he said.
Season Outlook: “As always I want every member of the team to improve throughout the year,” Foster said. “That is our goal and what we strive for each day in practice. Most specifically, we will focus this year are a strong finish team wise at the state championship. I believe we have all the pieces to be very competitive and we will do what we can to put the team in a position to succeed.”