KJ Love Tallassee track and field sectionals

Courtesy of Tallassee track and field / Tallassee hurdler K.J. Love took home sectional titles in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles at the Class 5A Section 2 track meet.

The AHSAA sectional championships drew to a close Saturday with five teams from the Elmore County area participating.

The Tallassee boys team finished No. 2 in Class 5A section 2, with the girls finishing No. 4 in a tie with Elmore County.

And there were a multitude of top individual performers from the Elmore County area that earned a ticket to the state track meet.

If they meet state qualifying standards, the top five finishers in each event for sectionals advance to the state meet. The next four finishers who meet state standards can also be selected as wild cards depending on the results of other sectional meets.

Tallassee

The Tallassee boys track team came within eight points of a sectional championship this past weekend.

Many competitors on the boys and girls side advanced to the state meet for the Tigers, and a number of personal records, or PRs, were set across the two-day event.

“We couldn’t have asked any more from our kids,” Tallassee head coach Danny Worley said. “They did everything we asked, and we were right there. They did everything they could but Beauregard just did a little bit more. We were very pleased with what they did, they had a great weekend.”

Of all the athletes that competed from the Elmore County area this past weekend, Tallassee hurdler K.J. Love might have stood out the most.

Love took home not one but two sectional titles in the boys 110- and 300-meter hurdles, besting Elmore County’s Sam Barlet by .17 seconds in the former event and teammate Denzel Crosby by 1.25 seconds in the latter.

“We told our seniors what we thought it would take to win the sectional, we asked them to step it up and get PRs, and that’s what he did,” Worley said. “He did a great job, which all of them did. But he really pushed himself and luckily the way the meet was set up, it was spread out to where he had some good rest time and recovery time.”

Haleigh May set a PR and won a sectional title in girls discus for the Tigers, besting the rest of the field by more than 11 feet.

She picked up a fourth-place finish in shot put to qualify for the state meet and a seventh-place finish in javelin as well.

“That was a big PR for her in the disc,” Worley said. “We kept telling her, if she would just get it flat and trust the technique that it would get out there, and she got it way out there. Probably about 10 more feet than I thought she would.”

In addition to Love, Crosby and Michael Moore both advanced to the state meet in the 110 and 300 hurdles, Ethan Stevenson qualified in the 400, Ja’rece Edwards in the 800, Will Smith and Austin Gray in javelin and Jourdan May and Max Moore in shot put.

Lexi Love joined Haleigh May in qualifying for two events on the girls side, moving forward in pole vault and javelin after finishing No. 2 in both disciplines.

The Tigers’ 100 and 400 relay teams also qualified after fifth-place and third-place finishes at the sectional meet, respectively.

Elmore County

Sawyer Lett and hurdling were the stories of the weekend for Elmore County.

Lett took home the lone boys individual sectional title for the Panthers after winning the 3200-meter run. Only one other competitor came within 38 seconds of him.

That title came alongside a second-place finish in the 1600, although he came up 1.13 seconds short of qualifying for the state meet.

He beat his PR in the 1600 by about 10 seconds, Elmore County head coach Joseph Snelick said.

“I asked him if he was holding out on me all year, that’s how good he did,” Snelick said. “His two-mile was great too. He just honestly came alive. He was like a different guy this weekend.”

The lone individual title for the girls team came in the 100-meter hurdles from Courtney Sides. Her time of 58.73 seconds in the 300 hurdles finished No. 2 at the sectional but came 3.73 seconds short of meeting state qualifying standards.

Her results are especially impressive considering she’s a sophomore that didn’t hurdle prior to this season.

“Hurdling is a lot of technique, and it’s her first year. She’s come a long way in her first year,” Snelick said. “If she sticks with it, she’ll be doing really good things.”

Boys hurdler Sam Barlet may not have won either of his primary events but did qualify for state in both. His time of 16.64 seconds landed him No. 2 in the 110 hurdles and fifth-place finish in the 300 hurdles earned him an additional bid to Alabama high school track’s ultimate stage.

Maggie Thames’ third-place throw of 87 feet 2 inches in girls javelin qualified her for the state meet.

Snelick noted the girls team, which finished tied for fourth in Class 5A section 2, has just five or six athletes. With larger participation, the team can look forward to even better results in future seasons, Snelick said.

Wetumpka

Colby Golson’s been a consistent force for Wetumpka as a thrower, and that presence continued this past weekend.

His discus throw of 141-01 captured a sectional title, the only one for the Indians’ boys team, and his shot put toss of 48-07 would have set a new sectional meet record by more than three feet if not for a 49-05 launch by Opelika’s Trevon Moore.

Regardless, Golson is on to the state meet in both events.

“I was proud of that,” Wetumpka head coach Warren Brown said. “I think he actually PR’d in the shot put, which was good. It was a very competitive event, too. They were going back and forth, him and the kid from Opelika, and I think it came down to the last throw.”

Morgan Causey took home the lone sectional championship on the girls side in javelin, with a shot of 110-07 that cleared the field by more than 10 feet.

Jalen Johnson qualified for the state championships in two disciplines, posting a third-place finish in boys triple jump and a fourth-place mark in 300-meter hurdles.

He could be a wild card in the 110 hurdles as well.

“He’s been having a phenomenal year,” Brown said.

Jamya Johnson came in No. 3 for girls long jump and advanced to the state meet, and a sixth-place finish in triple jump will give her a chance at a wild card for the state championships.

Janae McCall advanced in triple jump after coming in fourth at sectionals, which Brown said is an event she picked up only a few weeks ago.

Avery Thomas finished No. 9 for long jump, but cleared the state standard by two feet and could make the state meet as a result.

Other qualifiers for the state meet from Wetumpka included Kyler Adams in the boys 800 and the boys 800 relay team, for which Adams ran the anchor leg.

Adams’ time of 2 minutes 0.79 seconds set a new school record for Wetumpka in the 800.

“That region of sectionals we were at was the toughest I’ve ever been at as a track coach,” Brown said. “There were so many phenomenal athletes and kids that were going into sectionals either No. 1 in 6A or top 5 or top 10. Our kids are battle-tested, they survived.”

Brown added that plenty of PRs should be expected from state qualifiers now that they can fully devote time to their best discipline or disciplines.

Stanhope Elmore

Stanhope Elmore did not have any outright state qualifiers on the boys or girls side, although thrower Mavin Toby did meet state standards in both boys shot put and discus and could advance as a wildcard pending other sectional results.

Holtville

Holtville did not have any state qualifiers on the boys or girls side. Its top individual performer was Lamonica Smith, who finished 10th in the girls long jump and 13th in the 100-meter dash.