This could be Deerfield’s year at state track & field meet

Tarah Young, the younger of Deerfield's Young sisters, will be key --- along with her sister Amber --- in today's GISA track & field meet.

Tarah Young, the younger of Deerfield's Young sisters, will be key --- along with her sister Amber --- in today's GISA track & field meet.

ALBANY — Amber Young is headed back to the GISA state track & field meet with a vengeance.

And she’s bringing her little sister with her.


The Young girls are just one of the stories that will unfold over the next three days at Hugh Mills Stadium, where the Young sisters will try to help Deerfield-Windsor win its first girls state track & field title, and where Class A Westwood will try to build on its incredible dynasty in track & field.

“We want to win state,’’ said Amber Young, who spent most of last year’s Class AAA state meet in tears after pulling a hamstring early in the meet in the 100-meter dash. She vowed to come back as a senior and have a meet to remember.

Now she wants one that will last forever.

“We want to be the first girls team from Deerfield to win a state title in track,’’ she said. “That’s our goal. We want to make history.’’

It could happen.

“After what happened last year, it is (emotional) for her,’’ DWS girls coach Allen Lowe said. “She knows we’ve got a chance. We’ve been pretty good the last few years, but this is our best group. I know she’s really excited about this meet.’’

It could be full of emotion for the kids at DWS.

This will be the final state meet for Deerfield’s Reed Hancock, who has re-written the novel on girls pole vaulting.

Hancock is a two-time defending state champ and state record holder who vaulted for the U.S. Junior Olympic team in the Philippines two years ago. She has already signed with Alabama and will see her remarkable high school career come to a close Friday when the field event finals will be held.

The meet starts today at 9:30 a.m with the running preliminaries and the 1,600 meter final. All field events will be held Friday, and the running finals will be held Saturday.

Amber Young was the high points girl in the Region 3-AAA meet, winning the 400 and long jump and finishing third in the 100 as well as anchoring both winning relay teams.

Her sister, Tarah, an eighth-grader, won the 200 and was second in the high jump and 100, and ran on two relay teams.

Lowe knows his kids must get points from every corner to win the team title, and he has solid kids everywhere, including MacKenzie Davis, who was The Herald’s Player of the Year in cross country last fall.

Davis will compete in the 1,600, 3,200 and 800, and DWS could rack up points with eighth-grader Virginia Moore, who won the 800 region title and was second in the 1,600. Libby Greene, a freshman, can get points in the triple jump as well as both hurdles, and Sabrina Curry is expected to get points in the discus.

“On paper Reed is the only one who is supposed to win her event,’’ Lowe said. “But we have a lot of bodies who can score points. It’s going to take a contribution from everyone. This is the best group we’ve had top to bottom.’’

Stratford is the favorite to win the boys Class AAA state meet, but DWS is sending a busload after winning last week’s region meet with 144 points. Matthew Fox (shot put), Jason Battle (high jump) Nick Michas (discus), Alex Berry (triple jump) and Dallas Margeson (300 hurdles) all won region titles and will score points this weekend. The Knights should be in the hunt for the title.

Sherwood Christian’s boys won eight of 16 region titles, including both relays, and should be in the hunt as well. Rashard Davis won region titles in the 200 and long jump and was second in the high jump. M.J. “Mack” Green won the 100, Vashon Gaines won the 110 hurdles, William Orr won the 3,200 and Keion Steward won the 400.

The Class A state meet has been Westwood’s private party for years. The boys and girls teams have won four of the past five state titles with the bump in the road coming in 2010 when the boys finished third and the girls finished second.

The Westwood girls won last year with a school record 222 points without a senior on the team, but the Lady Wildcats will be missing two-time hurdles and state record holder Virginia Vereen, who didn’t run track this season because of an injury.

The girls will be led by Miller Singleton, who is the defending state champ in the pole vault, the 100 and 200, and also anchored last year’s winning 4x100 relay team. Westwood’s boys team will be led by Mason Worsham.