Tifton Gazette

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May 3, 2014

Utley 2nd in state track meet, others get 3rd

TIFTON — There was an upset in the state track meet Friday. Katie Utley, Tift County Lady Devil, and top seed in the pole vault competition, finished 2nd in the event. She was one of several area athletes who participated in the three-day event, held Thursday-Saturday at Albany's Hugh Mills Stadium. The area produced no state champions, but did have a handful who took home medals.

Utley had won the state championship in each of the past three years and holds the state record at 12'06". She was one of the last two standing after clearing 12 feet, but came up just short in a jump-off against Shelby Smith of Kennesaw Mountain.

The Lady Devils also had a pair of 3rd place finishes in field events, courtesy of Staceyanna Murrell. Murrell competed in both shot put in discus. In the former, she threw for a distance of 38'09", which was slightly more than two feet shorter than the winner, Leena Morris of Etowah.

 In discus, Murrell had a distance of 121'02". Hayden Merrick of Johns Creek won that event. Quasha Fergerson also qualified for the state tournament in shot put and finished 12th.

Turner County, Cook and Fitzgerald each also had 3rd place competitors.

Fitzgerald's came in pole vault, where Leah Ward was 3rd in Class AA, clearing 10 feet. Teammate Alex Wallace was 10th.

Both Cook and Turner scored their best results in long jump, with another 3rd for the Lady Hornets in the 300-meter hurdles.

Keyanna Dawson, competing in Class A (public), jumped 16'06", a few inches behind winner Kimmie Davis of Baconton Charter. Cook had two finalists in long jump. Lakeyda Zackery was the third place winner, jumping 16'07.5", with fellow Lady Hornet coming in 15th.

Antwanisha Hill survived the preliminaries with 6th place in the hurdles to improve with a 3rd in the finals  Saturday at 46.52 seconds.

Henley and Zackery were also in triple jump together. Zackery again had the higher finish at 5th place, with Henley finishing 13th. Cook had two other athletes reach finals. Santajah Booker was 15th in high jump.

Turner, who had many locals active in Albany, scored a 5th place from Mylashia Yancey in the 400-meter. Yancey was additionally 7th in high jump, just one place ahead of Ebony Hicks, another Lady Rebel. Taylor Daniels was 8th in shot put.

Tift's other state track competitor, Sky Moore, was eliminated in the preliminaries of the 400-meter dash.

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