The GHSA Track and Field State Championships officially wrapped up at Grisham Stadium on Saturday afternoon where the Carrollton High School boys’ team finished near the top of their classification.
Bolstered by a pair of top-five finishes from two of their runners on Day 3, the Trojans tallied 51 points overall in the three-day event to tie for fourth in Class AAAAA alongside Starr’s Mill. Cedar Shoals took home first place as a team with 71 points.
After qualifying for the boys’ 400-meter dash on Friday, junior Bryce McNealy topped his qualifying time in Saturday’s final, running a 49.23 to finish fifth in state. The Trojan runner was excited to end his season on the podium and realize how far he had come.
“I think I did pretty well. I could’ve done better if I pushed myself more, but I’m proud of what I accomplished in the finals,” McNealy said. “I came a long way this year. I definitely didn’t see myself at this point at the beginning of the season.”
The junior described the grueling practices that took place between sectionals and state to get to this point.
“We did a lot of 250, 300 and 400 work and did a lot of speed drills,” McNealy said. “They were pretty intense workouts, but it got me here.”
Finishing the day for Carrollton was sophomore Gary Savage in the 110-meter
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hurdles, running a 14.83 to place fourth in AAAAA. The underclassman talked about his process of progressing toward this moment.
“It was just a process of grinding and working hard these past few weeks,” Savage said. “We just kept adding more and more hurdles and it paid off.”
Saturday rounded out an impressive all-around showing for the entire Carrollton program.
On Thursday, Jeremiah Pierce took home the state discus championship while finishing as a runner-up in the shot put, one spot ahead of teammate Natavious Clark, who finished third. Lady Trojan Kimberly McKinney closed out her Carrollton career by finishing third in shot put and ninth in discus. Joe Street finished as the state runner-up in the pole vault, while Tate Traylor in the high jump (10th) and Jake Musselwhite in the discus (12th) rounded out their Day 1 participants.
In Friday’s preliminary rounds, the boys’ mile relay team came up short with a 15th-place finish, while on the girls side Mary Katherine Dortch just missed the qualifying mark, finishing 12th in the 300-meter hurdles.
With their 2017 season in the history books, boys’ head coach Craig Musselwhite couldn’t have been more happy with the effort put forth by his team.
“They came up big when they had to,” Musselwhite said. “A lot of our points came from our underclassmen, so we’re excited that they’ll be back next year. A lot of them also got to experience a state meet for the first time and either got (personal-records) or got close to it. My senior 4x400 group worked really hard to get to where they got. They didn’t make it to the final unfortunately, but hopefully running in a state meet at home as seniors is something they’ll remember for a long time.”
Author: Corey Cusick