Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Monroe made it look easy -- again.

The Lady Tornadoes' track & field team won its third straight Region 1-AAA title Tuesday at Hugh Mills Stadium and qualified 11 individuals and two relay teams for the GHSA Class AAA state meet, which will be held in Albany, on May 12-14.

The Lady Tornadoes will be looking to defend their state title, which they ran away with last year with a staggering 102 points. Minutes after the conclusion of Tuesday's 4x400-meter relay -- the day's final event that gave the Lady Tornadoes 202 points -- Monroe coach Latoyia Johnson said her girls are now in great position to repeat as state champions.

"Team means together we stand and divided we fall," Johnson said. "(Tuesday) we were together as a team. And we expect to do the same next week (in state)."

Westover was second with 133 points, followed by Cairo (81), Dougherty (70), Americus (47), Worth County (24) and Crisp County (6).

Monroe junior Mimieux Land set the pace for her team with victories in the long jump (17-11 ), high jump (5-6) and triple jump (37-9 ) -- three events she won state championships in last year.

Land, who was also a part of Monroe's victorious 4x400 and 4x100 relays, had mixed emotions about how the day went for her.

"I wanted to set the standards for us as we go into state," she said. "As for the triple jump and long jump, I thought I could have done a little more ... I know I could have done much, much better."

Land said she is pushing herself to not just repeat as state champion in her three events, but to dominate.

"I want to do more than what I did last year; that's my goal," she said. "Not just winning those three titles again, but doing it at a higher level.

"We have five days of practice left, and we have a job to do and a mission to fulfill. And we need to do it."

Other Lady Tornadoes advancing in multiple individual events were Alexandria Childs in the shot put and discus, Chakerah Fletcher in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles, Maikea Davis in the 200 and 400 and Jade Perry in the 100 and 200.

"Today, the student-athletes really demonstrated determination, ambition and unity," Johnson said. "When the pressure is on, you really get to see the character of your team, and they really stepped up."

Westover's second-place finish was its third straight, and Lady Patriots coach Harley Calhoun said he was pleased with how his team performed.

"We came in knowing that Monroe was a really, really good team, a state-quality-type team," Calhoun said. "Right now, we are trying to get back to that level, and the girls gave us a good performance out there on the track."

Five Lady Patriots will be making the trip to state, including Ericka Taylor and Elizabeth Golinski, who finished 1-2 in both the 1,600 and 3,200 runs.

Westover also had the top two finishers in the pole vault with Alysia Potts at 9-6 and Kayla Kirkland at 8-6.

Dougherty athletes finishing in the top two and advancing to the state meet were the 4x100 relay team, Jasmine Lavant in the 400 and triple jump and Shontisnia Eady in the shot put.


Region 1-AAAA

While Monroe was having its way in the Region 1-AAA competition, Bainbridge and Hardaway were in a battle for the Region 1-AAAA championship.

Bainbridge held an early advantage with several good performances in the field events, but Hardaway came storming back in the running events to take the region championship with 118 points.

Bainbridge's 104 points clipped Northside Columbus, which finished with 100.5. Other team scores were Warner Robins (75), Thomas County (62), Lee County (61), Houston County (58.5) and Northside Warner Robins (38).

The Lady Bearcats advanced five individuals to state, including Diamond Bouie, who won the high jump (5-2), and Raven Burney, who won the long jump (16-8).

"(Bouie) had a lot of running to do (Tuesday) in a short amount of time, so I think she performed well. She is probably one of the leaders on my team," Bainbridge coach Tandria Phillips said about Bouie, who also finished second in the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.87.

Phillips also raved about Burney, a freshman who highlights the young -- but talented -- Lady Bearcats team.

"(Burney) is probably the ideal kid," Phillips said. "She does whatever you ask of her at practice. She is going to give 100 percent every time she steps on the track ... she is just the perfect athlete, if there is such a thing."

Phillips continued to beam about her squad that had just one senior compete Tuesday.

"We knew coming in that we were going to be very young," she said. "I see the potential they have, and if they stay together and keep that nucleus, there is no reason they shouldn't be successful."

Lee County's only athletes to advance to the state meet were Laine Ellington and Holly Ebbets. Ellington won the 800 with a time of 2:28.75, and Ebbets took first in the pole vault at 10-6.

Even though Ebbet's height in the pole vault tied her own region record, the sophomore was looking for something more heading into state.

"I think I was just nervous," she said in a phone interview Tuesday evening. "I am hoping to clear 11-6 (at state) ... I just have to move up on my other pole and train really hard."