Hawks' George, Cheeks shine at state sectional

HOSCHTON -- Several Gwinnett County athletes turned in great performances in the Class AAAAAA girls and boys state sectional track and field meet on Saturday at Mill Creek's Markham Field to qualify for the upcoming state meet.

A total of 32 teams represented Regions 1, 2, 7 and 8 from across the state with the top eight individuals and relay teams qualifying for the May 2-4 boys' championships in Jefferson and the May 9-11 girls' championships in Albany.

Mill Creek had two outstanding performances on the Hawks' home track as Malayshia George picked up four first-place finishes and a third on the girls side, while Michael Cheeks took home a trio of top finishes and a second.

George won the 400 meters, 200 meters, high jump and anchored Mill Creek's 1,600-meter relay team that won in a time of 3:58.13.

Mill Creek's 1,600 relay team included Jordan Douglas, Jaylen Goldwire, Malaya George and Malayashia George.

George won the 400 meters with a time of 54.14, the 200 in 24.56 and tied for first in the high jump at 5'4" along with Duluth's Jazmyn Johnson.

George was also on the Hawks' 400-meter relay team that finished seventh.

"I thought I did well in the 4x400 relay right at the end," George said. "I don't mind being behind at the end because it makes me work harder and get a good split. But I also did well in the 200 and that's not my strongest event. I was also happy with my 400 today. State is right around the corner and I'm happy with where I am. It was so hot last year and I hope it's not like that again."

Shiloh's 400 relay team of Zensha Tennyson, Kayla Stephenson, Frantia Boudreaux and Quandra Spear took the victory.

On the boys' side, Cheeks picked up wins in the 400 meters with a clocking of 48.38 and anchored the winning 400-meter and 1,600-meter relay teams.

Mill Creek's 400-meter relay team edged out Grayson with a time of 42.075 and the 1,600-meter relay team took first place at 3:21.83.

Relay members on the 400 included Carter Governale, Brandon Holley, Devozea Gaines and Cheeks while the 1,600 consisted of Allen Eckles, Tyler Woodrome, Braden Canamare and Cheeks.

Cheeks' second-place came in the 200 meters with a time of 22.25 and also qualified for state with a fifth-place finish in the high jump (6-0).

"I'm happy with my performances today," said Cheeks, who also played on the Hawks' football team. "I was just concentrating on qualifying in the high jump and then and putting in some good runs. In the 200 and 400, I was just trying to beat the guy who beat me at (the Gwinnett) county championships -- Grant Swinton of Shiloh -- and redeem myself a little bit. So now I have to get ready for state coming next week and be ready."

Camden County's Justin Leggett won the 200 with a clocking of 22.07 and also the 100 meters with a time of 10.92.

Other solid performances from Gwinnett athletes from individuals like Brookwood's Simone Glenn, who won the girls' 100 meters at 12.06.

Brookwood's QuanDra Shanks earned a pair of victories in the 800 meters and 1,600 meters.

Shanks took the 800 title with a time of 2:19.08 and claimed the 1,600 with a time of 5:12.33.

Casidy Callahan of Norcross also won twice on Saturday by capturing the shot put (43-0.5) and the discus throw (138-7).

Other track winners from Gwinnett on the girls' side included Kendra Purifoye of Peachtree Ridge in the 100 meters (14.86), Mill Creek's Lauren Hovis in the 3,200 (11:22.43) and Elexis Guster of Berkmar in the 300-meter hurdles (43.12).

In other girls' field events, Bola Hambolu of Collins Hill won the triple jump (38-0.5).

Other boys' track winners included Andres Littig of North Gwinnett in the 800 meters (1:55.71), Christian Smith of Grayson in the 300 hurdles (38.78) and Jonathan Moses of Collins Hill in the 3,200 (9:49.87).

On the boys' side in the field events, Bailey Vitatoe of Brookwood won the high jump at 6-4; Kuttler Smith of Brookwood took the pole vault at 13-0; Jeremy McDuffie claimed the long jump at 22-8.75; Jared Munday won the shot put at 52-10.5; and John Patterson of Parkview earned top honors in the discus throw at 149-10.