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GHSA GIRLS STATE TRACK & FIELD NOTEBOOK: Early's Reed wins two more state titles, breaks state record, goes for No. 3 today

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Nothing but Nett.

That's the way the second day of the girls GHSA state track & field meet started Friday as Early County's Nett Reed tucked away two state titles and shattered a state record in the triple jump before brunch.

The morning sun was still rising over Hugh Mills, where Albany is playing host to the state meet for the 25th consecutive year, when Reed began her day by not only winning the Class AA triple jump, but setting a new state record.

"It was awesome,'' said Reed, who destroyed the old record of 39-feet and five inches by leaping 40-feet and one inch.

Reed then added: "To win it and break the record was just awesome. I was a little nervous when one of the girls in the first heat went over 37 feet. But then I got pumped up and just went out there and nailed it with my second jump. It was pretty surprising to jump that far.''

That's all Reed needed -- two jumps. She didn't stay around for the final round, and stopped after just two attempts, rushing off to the long jump pit, where she won her second state title of the morning and the seventh of her career.

She won the long jump in 18-3, which wasn't close to her personal best of 18-8. The state record is 18-10 , but Reed said she never had a good run in the long jump.

"I think I was so excited that I broke the (triple jump) record that I couldn't get myself set,'' Reed said. "My foot coordination just wasn't right. I couldn't get my steps right.''

They were right enough.

Reed won the long jump state title all four years at Early County, where she hopes to bring home a team title today. It's a little uncanny that Reed never attempted the triple jump until this spring. She had always participated in the long jump and the 200 and 400, but Early County coach Jay Winkler suggested she try the triple jump this year instead of the 200.

"The 200 was her weakest event so we wanted to try something new,'' Winkler said.

Not a bad idea.

Reed won the 400 as a freshman and sophomore, but was second a year ago. She will try to win it today, and she is hoping for another record.

"Hopefully, I can get first place and break another record,'' Reed said.

She will have more rest.

Reed woke up a little after 6 a.m., had breakfast and made the hour long trip to Albany, where she began jumping at 9 a.m.

Her secret? A good breakfast.

"I had a good breakfast,'' she said. "I had a biscuit and a bottle of water, and felt great coming to the meet.''

She will feel even better if she wins No. 8 today in the 400. She had the fastest qualifying time on Thursday and Reed will also anchor both relay teams today as Early's 4x100 relay team had the fastest qualifying time in the prelims. Early County could score between 20 and 30 points in those three events, and Reed's younger sister, Letik Reed, also qualified in the 300 hurdles.

Nett Reed got Early on the board early by scoring 20 points by herself Friday, and the Lady Bobcats could have their best finish in history, and possibly even win the first title in school history.

"That would be awesome,'' Reed said.

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TIONA's TOSS:

Mitchell County's Tiona Burley just keeps making news in Albany. Burley, an All-State and All-region basketball player who has signed with UNC-Charlotte, won the MVP of the North-South All-Star Hoops Classic the last time she showed up in Albany for a big event.

On Friday, she showed up again and won the Class AA state title in the discus with a toss of 115 feet and 11 inches. Her personal best had been 109 feet and 8 inches.

Mitchell County also got some points from Twyla White, who tied for fifth in the high jump, and the Lady Eagles are hoping for their best team finish in years.

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STRAIGHT SOARING:

No one pole vaults like the Ebbets family from Lee County, and Holly Ebbets made her own statement Friday, finishing second in the Class AAAA meet with a vault of 10 feet, breaking her personal best of 9-feet, six inches. Her brother Caleb set the boys Region 1-AAAA record on Wednesday with a vault of 16-feet and will be trying to break the state record (14-9) next week in Jefferson. But Caleb is a senior and Holly is just a freshman. She has three more years to try to set the girls AAAA record of 11-6.

Westover had its own monumental moment in the pole vault Friday when Alysia Potts soared to new personal heights and broke the school record. Potts, a sophomore, cleared 9-6 to finish fourth in the Class AAA meet. It's hard to imagine anyone climbing higher any faster than Potts.

Just three weeks ago, her personal best was 7-6, but she has added two feet in less than 21 days. If that's not enough, she predicted her performance.

"I was excited to get it. I told my mom (Thursday night) I was going to get 9-6,'' said Potts, who tied the school record of 9-0 and then cleared 9-6 on her final attempt to move into fourth place and set a new standard at Westover. The bar wobbled just a bit then settled into place to give her the new school record.

"It's all about the Lord,'' Potts said, and then she quoted Philippians 4:13 -- "I can do all things through Christ.''

It is an amazing turnaround, gaining two feet in such a short period of time, but Westover coach Harley Calhoun feels Potts' work ethic and dedication were just part of the story, while her mental attitude pushed her over the top.

"You could see the change in her over the last couple of weeks,'' Calhoun said. "You could just see her confidence soar.''

Then Potts did. She admitted it didn't hurt to have the state meet in Albany.

"I came in real confident,'' she said. "This is my home turf. I never got nervous until I got here and started seeing (some of the other competitors). But then I thought, 'This is my day,' and got that confidence back. Next year, I'm going for 10-6.''

Westover also scored points in the high jump, where Clennysha Jones finished third, clearing the bar at 5-2. She had been jumping at 5-0 most of the year.

"I feel pretty good about it,'' said Jones, a junior. "I didn't place last year, and this year I was third, so next year is my senior year and I want to come back to state and go out with a bang.''

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TAYLOR'S COMEBACK:

Westover's Ericka Taylor, a freshman who dominated distance running in Southwest Georgia this year, ended her season Friday night by finishing sixth in the 3,200 -- the only running final of the day. It was a matter of pride for Taylor, who was a little disappointed after finishing 10th in the 1,600 on Thursday.

Taylor ran a 12:00 in the race, shaving 21 seconds off her previous best time. She was as proud of that as her top-six finish.

Other Southwest Georgia performers who finished in the top eight at state include Baconton's Taylor Gray, who finished fourth in the Class A pole vault with a vault of 9-feet, and Albany High's Samara Roberson, who finished eighth in the shot put (34-2).