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Godson, Spartans take early lead at region girls track championships

ATLANTA - First place already secured, Claire Godson had the pole vault bar set at 10 foot 8 - an inch better than the height for the Class AA girls state record.

The Greater Atlanta Christian junior didn't clear it, missing on her three attempts. "I was close," she said.

It really didn't matter this time anyway. State records can only be set at the state meet and Godson will be trying to make a little history in mid-May at Albany.

"I don't care exactly how high I go," the junior said. "As long as I win and it is more than 10-7."

Godson was one of three GAC athletes to win events on the first day of the Region 6-AA track and field championships Saturday at Westminster as the Spartans took a narrow lead in the team competition after the field events and the 1,600.

GAC leads the eight-school event with 58 points going into the remaining running finals Monday at Westminster. Lovett has 53 points, Decatur 50, Blessed Trinity 45 and Westminster 43.

Jessica Tuggle won the triple jump and finished second in the long jump for GAC, while Lauren Kester took the 1,600-meter run. The top two in each event qualify for the state meet.

Tuggle, a region champ as a freshman and sophomore, was edged by Lovett's Chloe Johnson in the long jump, going 17-23/4 to the winning 17-41/2.

"That was disappointing," said the junior, who finished second in the state last year.

But Tuggle bounced back to easily win the triple jump, going 36-41/4 on her final jump in the finals. She had a personal best of 36-51/4 in the preliminaries.

"This is my first year doing the triple jump," Tuggle said. "But it could be my best event now."

Tuggle is also a state contender in the 100-meter hurdles.

"It can be hard to compete in so many events, but I love it," she said.

"She's a great athlete," GAC coach Brad Kinser said.

Kester, a sophomore, pulled away on the second lap and easily won the 1,600 with a time of 5:23.48. She will also be the favorite in the 3,200.

Godson is a top hopeful in the 300-meter hurdles, but the pole vault is her event. She finished second at the state meet as a sophomore.

"I took up the pole vault as an eighth-grader and got serious about it as a freshman," said Godson, who has cleared 11 feet in practice. "I hope I can keep going higher and higher."

GAC finished fourth as a team in the state meet last May.

"I think we can be in contention for a trophy this year," Kinser said.

Buford's best performance Saturday at the region meet came from Kallie Case in the triple jump. She got the Wolves' their five points with a distance of 33-11.

SideBar: TRACK & FIELD

Region 6-AA Girls Championships

At Westminster

Saturday's

State Qualifiers

Discus

1. Meredith Kolff, Westminster, 105-10

2. Erin Bradley, Blessed Trinity, 101-5

High jump

1. Miray Seward, Westminster, 5-63/4

2. Asi Asuamah, Decatur, 5-2

Long jump

1. Chloe Johnson, Lovett, 17-41/2

2. Jessica Tuggle, GAC, 17-23/4

Pole vault

1. Claire Godson, GAC, 10-6

2. Sam Sanchez, Blessed Trinity, 9-6

Shot put

1. Katie Hawkins, Blessed Trinity, 35-21/2

2. Stephanie Carter, Decatur, 34-81/2

Triple jump

1. Jessica Tuggle, GAC, 36-53/4

2. Kelsi Dean, Lovett, 34-113/4

1,600 meters

1. Lauren Kester, GAC, 5:23.48

2. Elizabeth Rucker, Lovett, 5:25.63

Team standings

1. GAC, 58

2. Lovett, 53

3. Decatur, 50

4. Blessed Trinity, 45

5. Westminster, 43

6. Avondale, 15

7. Buford, 5

8. Cross Keys, 4