After the field events at the Class AAAAAAA state meet, Peachtree Ridge’s girls track and field athletes didn’t need to look at the scoreboard to see where they stood. The small group entered the running finals with zero points, firmly in last place.
A day later, things changed substantially.
Tamiia Fuller, the Daily Post’s Girls Runner of the Year, and her teammates racked up the points on the way to a state runner-up finish. The Lions totaled 51 points in the meet’s final day, coming up just four short of state champion Walton.
“We did great,” Fuller said of the state performance. “I didn’t expect us to do that good at state. There were only six of us (on the state team), and we did great.”
Nobody at the meet did better than Fuller.
The sprinter capped her junior season with individual state titles in the 100- and 200-meter dash, and powered the Lions’ 400 and 1,600 relays to state championships. She finished as the AAAAAAA meet’s top scorer.
“Her state meet, it was awesome,” Peachtree Ridge girls coach Shawn Nix said. “We talked about it going into it, and I was telling her what we’re looking at. If things go the way we planned, she kind of knew if she went out and executed all her events and her teammates executed their parts, she could take that MVP award.”
Fuller won the 100 in 11.76 seconds, and took first in the 200 in a personal-best time of 23.81. She joined teammates Mariah Brooks, Nia Hicks, Trinity Marshall, Sydney Augmon and Kendalyn McBride on the championship relays.
“She had an excellent season,” Nix said. “If she can come back next year and do the repeat — she won the 100, won the 200, won our relays — I couldn’t ask for anything else. If she can come back, do that and improve her times, I couldn’t ask for me.”
Before state, Fuller made a little history with a sweep of the 100 and 200 races at sectionals. Her 100 time there (11.50) broke Courtney Champion’s long-standing county record, set in 2003 at 11.53. She ran 23.89 in the 200 at sectionals, nearing Champion’s 200 record of 23.53.
Fuller also won region titles in the 100 (11.91) and 200 (24.08), as well as a county title in the 100 in 11.66, breaking a meet record set in 2012 by Grayson’s Aliyah Abrams.
“It went more than great,” Fuller said of her season. “I did not expect to run what I ran so early. That means I have more later.”
Fuller began her track and field career as a 6-year-old in Omaha, Neb., where she lived until seventh grade when she moved to Georgia. The move, when her parents changed jobs, has been beneficial to her improvement in track and field.
“It’s way different down,” Fuller said. “It’s not as competitive (in Nebraska).”
Fuller, running this summer for ATL Zoom, and her family knew nothing about Peachtree Ridge track and field when they moved to the district — “We came here because my mom said the test scores were good.” When she showed up for track and field practice as a freshman, it didn’t take the Lions coaches long to realize what a special addition she was to the roster.
“I saw her in practice and said, ‘Okay, she’s the real deal,’” Nix said.
The Peachtree Ridge coaches envision letting Fuller take a shot at the school record in the 400, which she hasn’t run individually in high school, next season. She also may return to the long jump, an event she excelled in as a freshman, along with her usual work in the sprints and relays as the Lions hope to improve on their state runner-up finish.
Fuller figures to be the central figure in that mission.
“It’s just been really great to see her growth,” Nix said. “I remember her coming in as a freshman and she was serious, but not as serious as I’ve seen her this past year. With missing last year because of the pandemic, coming out this year you can see her being really focused. Sometimes she will separate herself to get her game face on, get her mindset to compete. But what I love is she talks to the other kids on the team to pull them up as a great leader.”