• Lumpkin County’s Francisco Vasquez competes in the boys high jump event during the Indians’ 2019 season opening meet last week.

Lumpkin track & field begins season by hosting Union County

After rainy weather cancelled the first meet of the LCHS track and field team’s 2019 season, the Indians and Lady Indians were finally able to get the season started when they hosted the Union County Panthers for a meet on Tuesday, March 5.

“I was excited to finally run our home track meet on Tuesday because of all the rain and bad weather we’ve been having,” said first-year LCHS head track and field coach Chad Averett. “It was the first home track and field meet that Lumpkin has hosted in quite a long time. The team was eager to run in front of the home crowd and it showed with a lot of great performances.”

The Lady Indians saw impressive performances from Grace Jones, Coleigh Elmore and Kloee Graham in the girls shot put event. Jones’ 34’9.5” throw earned her top spot in the event at the meet. Elmore (25’5”) earned a third place finish in the event and Graham (25’4”) finished in fourth place.

Haylee Bagwell and Jones were tops in the discus competition for the Lady Indians at the meet. Bagwell, who was one of the team’s best throwers last season, continued to shine with her first performance of the season in the event. Bagwell record a throw of 90’2.5” to finish in second place in the event behind Union County’s Courtney Moose, who recorded a throw of 93’9”. Jones earned her second top four performance of the day with a third place finish in the discus with a throw of 84’4”.

Chloe Carver and Brighton Harder took first and second place, respectively, in the girls high jump at the meet for the Lady Indians.

Mercedes Housman edged out Union County’s Brooke Dockery in the girls triple jump event at the meet with a first place jump of 30’4”. Housman also earned first place in the girls long jump, recording a jump of 14’7”.

The Lady Indians also watched their 4x100 girls relay team defeated the Lady Panthers by almost three full seconds to earn first place in the event. The Lady Indians finished the race in 54.42 seconds.

Abbie Hilchie ran her way to a first place finish in the girls 1600 meter race. Hilchie finished the race in 6 minutes and 42 seconds (6:42), ahead of fellow teammate Brett Holloway’s second place finish time of 6:59.

Harder showed her speed in the girls 400 meter dash, picking up a first place finish with a time of 1:09.69. Harder also picked up a first place finish in the girls 200 meter dash with a time of 28.42, almost a full two seconds faster than teammate Housman’s second place finish. Chasen Wood earned a third place finish in the race with a time of 31.25 to give Lumpkin the top three finishes in the event.

Wood blazed past the competition in the girls 100 meter dash, earning herself a first place spot with a time of 13.29 seconds. Fellow teammate Housman finished in second place in the event with a time of 14.15.

Victoria Scott and Holloway earned second and third place finished for the Lady Indians in the girls 300 meter hurdles. Scott finished the race with a time of 56.66 seconds and Holloway finished just behind with a time of 57.2.

The Lady Indians 4x400 relay team earned a second place finish in their event with a time of 5:36, 23 seconds behind Union County.

On the Indians’ side, the boys team saw Seth Fuller earned the top spot in the boys shot put with a throw of 38’10.5”. Indians Devan Dye (37’6”), Jason Chamblee (35’11”), Aaron Hopkins (35’6”) and Jordan Jones (31’4.5”) rounded out the top five competitors in the shot put event.

Chamblee earned a second place finish in the boys discus with Dye following right behind him in third place. Chamblee’s throw of 85’2.5” earned him second behind Union’s Kyle Morlock. Dye’s throw of 80’2.5” earned him third in the event.

McKinley Johnson cleared 10’ in the boys pole vault to earn himself the top spot in the event at the season opening meet. 

In the triple and long jump events, the Indians saw two of its jumpers earn top three finishes at the meet. Francisco Vasquez jumped his way to a third place finish in the boys triple jump with a distance of 30’8.5” and Fuller jumped his way to a third place finish in the boys long jump with a distance of 18’2” for the Indians.

Trey Wilkes and Dylan Gee picked up second and third place finishes, respectively, in the boys 1600 meter race. Wilkes finished the 1600 meter race with a time of 5:31 and Gee finished the race with a time of 5:40.

Kyle Amburgey showed his speed in the boys 400 meter dash, earning himself a second place finish behind Union’s Hayes Glover in heat one. Amburgey finished the race with a time of 58.76. In heat two, Tanner Barber blew by the competition to earn a second place finish with a time of 57.57 behind Union’s Brian Bowman.

Fuller continued to have a successful day at the meet when he finished first in the boys 100 meter dash with a time of 11.79. Hopkins finished the race with a time of 12.33 to earn fourth place in the event for the Indians.

Roy Bennett earned a second place finish in the boys 300 meter hurdles with a time of 48.91 and teammate Bojack Dowdy finished in third place with a time of 49.8. Both Bennett and Dowdy also earned first and second place in the boys 110 meter hurdles, with Dowdy taking first place and Bennett taking second place.

With all the success the team enjoyed in its first meet of the 2019 season, Averett believes that the team should be at top form when it matters most this season.

“Our coaching staff was very impressed with how much heart and determination both the girls and boys teams showed through an extremely windy and cold night,” Averett said. “Our number one goal as a track team is to see individual improvement throughout the year, so we can excel at our Region, Sectional and State track meets. We want to be peaking at the end of the year for region, so our season can continue onto the sectional and state meet.”

Averett hopes his experience will be a good tool for his athletes to use in their develop and improvement throughout the 2019 season.

“This is my first year as the head track coach, however I want to bring my knowledge and passion to inspire our athletes to excel in the track/field realm,” Averett said.

Averett also credited his assistant coaches and others connected to the program for their help with the team.

“I couldn’t accomplish these goals without the help of coach Grindle and coach Hilchie,” Averett said. “They are invaluable assets on our coaching staff and devote a lot of hours to help our competitor’s excel in all facets of track and field. We also have a supportive team of administrators at the school as well as a vested athletic director by the name of Nicky Jenkins.”

With athletes like Harder, Bagwell, Jones and Wood competing for the Lady Indians and athletes like Johnson, Hopkins, Fuller and Amburgey competing for the Indians this season, Averett is excited about what the LCHS track and field team can accomplish in his first year at the helm.

“We are extremely blessed to have a great group of athletes that are very coachable and have an awesome work ethic,” Averett said. “We look forward to the rest of the season and will attack each track competition like it is our last.”

At press time, the LCHS track and field team was set to compete versus Habersham on the road on Tuesday, March 12. No official results were available.

The team will be back in action when they host their second home meet of the season behind the LCHS baseball and softball fields on Tuesday, March 19. Competition begins at 4 p.m.

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