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Mill Creek's Kopanski repeats as state champ

Mill Creek's Michael Kopanski clears the bar in the pole vault during the state track meet in Jefferson on Thursday.

Mill Creek's Michael Kopanski clears the bar in the pole vault during the state track meet in Jefferson on Thursday.

JEFFERSON -- Mill Creek's Michael Kopanski thought the Class AAAAA pole vault state finals would be a piece of cake.

Then Newton's Tyler Ransom cleared 15 feet.

"Honestly, I thought it would be an easy meet," Kopanski said. "Tyler really surprised me."

Kopanski held his composure, cleared 15 feet and then went on to 15-6 to claim the state title at the boys state track and field meet in Jefferson. It's the second state title for Kopanski, who won it last season, and joins Cameron Cheek as a two-time winner for Mill Creek.

Kopanski, who will join the Clemson track program next season, attempted to break the school and state record with a vault of 16-1, but couldn't make it.

"He came back and had some good jumps," Mill Creek coach Rik Moore said. "I know he's disappointed in not breaking the record, but it's his second state title, so he should be happy about it."

Ransom finished with 15 feet for second place and Norcross' Doug Macgill was third with a mark of 13-6. Dacula's Terris Elliot took fourth with a vault of 13-6 in more attempts than Macgill.

"He just started jumping this year," Dacula coach Carlos Freytes said. "When he started he was doing nine feet. We started doing a couple of drills and now look, he's at 13-6 at state."

Wesleyan's Wes Ayers took sixth in the Class A pole vault with a mark of 10-6.

Erassa defends

mile state title

Kirubel Erassa jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in the Class AAAAA 1,600-meter run. The Grayson senior defended his state title with a time of 4 minutes, 8.24 seconds.

"I wanted the all-time record," Erassa said.

Erassa, who signed with Oklahoma State, was trying to break St. Pius' Ralph King's time of 4:05.30 set in 1974.

He beat Brookwood's Tyler Anyan, who placed second with a time of 4:10.01.

"I was happy with that," Anyan said. "This isn't my best event of the two. It's been fun racing with Kirubel. It sort of stinks that two of the best runners are 15 minutes from each other and we have to face each other at every meet and there's not that big build up at state."

Erassa and Anyan took 1-2 in the Region 8-AAAAA meet two weeks ago and are also two of the top cross country runners in the state.

They will face off one last time tonight in the 3,200-meter run, which Anyan won last year.

"I just want to come back and defend my title," Anyan said.

Wesleyan's Brandon Ramsey placed third in the Class A 1,600 with a time of 4:27.94.

Moore is good

Devin Moore got a confidence boost at the Region 8-AAAAA track meet two weeks ago when he beat defending state champion Julian Vann in the triple jump.

The Shiloh senior beat Vann again at Thursday's state meet to place second in the Class AAAAA triple jump.

"I wanted to win, I wanted to win it all," Moore said. "But I'm happy with my performance."

Moore finished with a mark of 47 feet, 113/4 inches and Lowndes' Kenneth Durden won the title with a jump of 48-61/4.

A second place performance is quite an improvement from last year for Moore, who didn't even make it to the finals. The senior took third at county and plans to run track at Albany State next season.

Vann, who will walk-on for the Ohio State football and track programs this year, took third with a jump of 47-51/4. Peachtree Ridge's Torri Tillman was fifth with a mark of 46-11/2.

Terrapin throwers

The Maryland football program is getting two standout football players over the next year that just happen to be pretty good in another sport.

Norcross' Max Garcia and Mill Creek's Tyler Cierski both placed in the throwing events at the state meet.

Garcia, who signed with Maryland in February and will enroll this fall, took eighth in the shot put with a throw of 49-11.

Cierski, a rising senior that committed to Maryland last month, took third in the discus with a mark of 160-1.