By Chris Goltermann
The annual Nike Panther Relays track meet at Starr’s Mill had East Coweta and Newnan lineup finishing neck-and-neck in what could be a sign of things to come at this month’s county championships.
East Coweta, the defending title holder, placed fifth overall with 87 points at the two-day meet and Newnan was right behind in sixth at 85 among 18 schools.
Host Starr’s Mill kept the team trophy at home with a combined 201 ½-point total to finish ahead of Alexander (187), Archer (117) and Stockbridge (114).
Newnan’s boys outscored East Coweta’s by a 75-67 margin, while the Lady Indians came away with 32 ½ points compared to 13 by the Lady Cougars.
The Cougars, meanwhile, were strongest among six relays including special 800, 800 Sprint and 3,200 runs, while scoring 48 of their 85 points among the half-dozen events. They included victories in the 800 (1:29.36), 800 sprint (1:33.20) and 1,600 (3:23.44), while led by seniors Tyriq Hussie, Malik Hussie, Elijah Williams, Vyshawn Wright and Tre Bridges.
The Hussie brothers, both of whom signed with Kennesaw State’s track program on Friday, joined Williams in all three victories, with Bridges and Wright contributing to at least one each.
Bridges was also on a second-place 400 relay lineup for Newnan’s boys with the Hussies and Williams that finished 13-hundredths of a second behind Dutchtown in 42.55.
Individually, Williams won the long jump in 22-1. Senior San Juan Warner was second in the discus at 138-00, while Tyriq Hussie was runner-up in the 100 to Stockbridge’s Jordan Clark at 11.07.
The Cougars also were third in the 3,200 relay in 8:46.53, with a team of Gray Frederick, Bryson Houston, Beck James and Bo Palmer. Frederick and Houston also were on a fifth-place distance relay effort in 12:05 with Finlay Warner and Emory Walden.
The Indians scored 28 points in the field led by Konner Johnson’s victory in the pole vault at 12-6. Fourth-place efforts included Christopher Pitt in the long jump (21-9) and Christopher Moore in the discus (133-2).
East Coweta also had multiple scorers in the shot from Nelson Ramirez (sixth, 42-6 ½) and Moore (seventh, 41-9 ½), as well as a fifth-place finish from Rigon Musliu in the high jump at 5-10.
Ahumad Williams was second in the 110 hurdles (14.91) and third in the 300 (41.08), with Ramal Holston adding a fifth-place effort in the latter.
Kyle Harkabus scored in the 1,600 (3rd, 4:28.82) and the 3,200 (4th, 9:53:35).
The Indians were also fourth in the distance relay in 11:47. East Coweta was also eighth in the 1,600 and 800 relay.
Scorers also included Dantarius Chunn, who was fifth in the 100 (11.24).
Leading the Lady Indians was senior London Fowler with a second-place effort in the shot put (38-11).
Individual scorers also included Hannah Kunkle (sixth, discus), Kylie Ferguson (eighth, discus), Paishence Collier (sixth, long jump), Aaliyah Phillips (seventh, 100 hurdles), Holly Hind (eighth, 3,200) and Madi Duke (seventh, high jump).
Newnan’s varsity girls were led by sophomore K.K. Madrey’s victory in the high jump at 5-4.