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Wilkins' wins leave Wolves in lead

MCDONOUGH -- Through the years Wesleyan sophomore Holli Wilkins has learned how to concentrate and perform in a track and field meet no matter what the conditions, but she was tested at the Region 7-A meet Monday.

The cool, blustery weather at the Eagle's Landing Christian Academy in McDonough made footing sometimes slippery for the shot put and discus because of blown dust into the throwing rink.

At times there was a constant wind in her face, strong enough to blow the Eagle's Landing Christian Academy team tent 100 yards.

But Wilkins overcame the wind to win the shot put and discus and give Wesleyan a first-day lead in the two-day meet.

Wesleyan, the defending region champions, has 98 points, followed by Eagle's Landing Christian Academy (46.5) and Fellowship Christian School (30).

The meet concludes today at 5 p.m. at Eagle's Landing Christian Academy with the finals in most of the running events. The top two finishers in each event advance to next week's girls state track meet.

Wilkins was one of three Wesleyan athletes who won events on Monday. The others were Grace Leah Baughn (triple jump), Wilson Sprinkle (pole vault) and Erika Ramsey (1,600-meter run).

"I'm proud of all of my girls, not only the ones who won," Wesleyan coach Candler Baxley said. "We had a lot of kids have their best performances."

But Wilkins led the way. The defending state champion in the shot put, she won the region with a throw of 37 feet, 101/2 inches. Her distance was more than six feet ahead of her closest competitor, Wesleyan teammate Caramia Tsirigos (31-3).

"I had my best throw on the last attempt," Wilkins said. "I just went for it."

Wilkins won the discus with a throw of 101-8. Her distance was more than 22 feet ahead of second-place finisher Nettie Brown of St. Francis, who had a throw of 78-10.

"The wind kept on blowing dust into the rink, and that made things kind of slick," Wilkins said.

Wilkins just hopes she won't have to deal with bad conditions during next week's state track meet in Albany.

"Last year I came out of region with a throw of 36 feet in the discus and in state I had a 38, and I hope I can get to state and do better," she said. "If I practice hard I think I have a chance to win state in the discus."