It was a banner year in the spring for the local high school track teams.
All told, the six schools combined for four individual state championships, one relay state championship and 14 top-eight finishes in the state meets.
On the regional level, the local boys notched 10 region championships and 13 region runners-up finishes to earn 23 total state meet berths. The local girls captured 11 region championships and added eight runner-up finishes for 19 total state meet berths.
The Eastside girls, thanks to three individual championships and one relay state championship, finish third as a team in the Class AAA state.
Two athletes - Asia Palmer and J'Quyra Moncur-Blue - played key roles in the Lady Eagles' incredible spring showing. For their efforts, Palmer and Moncur-Blue are the Girls Athletes of the Year on the Citizen's 2009 All-Area Track Team.
Moncur-Blue, a senior, made a big splash in her first and only track season at Eastside after transferring from Miami. She captured two Class AAA state titles in the shot put (41 feet, 10 inches) and the discus (126 feet, 5 inches).
In the Region 8-AAA Meet, Moncur-Blue was also a double winner in the shot put (39 feet) and the discus (120 feet). She is continuing her track career at Fresno State.
Palmer did her damage for the Lady Eagles on the track, claiming the Class AAA state title in the 800-meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 17.55 seconds.
The senior also ran the second leg on Eastside's state champion 4x400-meter relay team. The Lady Eagles posted a time of 3 minutes, 56 seconds to claim the Class AAA state title.
For Palmer, it was a satisfying end to her high school career. She qualified for state in the 400 meters as a freshman, but she did not run at state that year due to an injury and she failed to qualify as a sophomore and a junior.
Palmer also narrowly missed a state berth in the long jump by finishing third in the Region 8-AAA Meet with an effort of 15 feet, 71/4 inches.
On the boys side, Eastside's Karl Williams and Jake Hudson are the Boys Athletes of the Year.
Williams, a senior, showed his speed by winning the Class AAA state title in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.66 seconds, which was the third fastest winning time among all classifications.
Not bad for a someone who doesn't have a prototypical sprinter's body. Williams is 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 225 pounds.
In fact, this spring was the first time Williams had even competed in the 100.
Williams, who will compete in track and football at Georgia State, also just missed a state berth in the 200-meter dash with a third-place finish in 8-AAA (22.18). He also placed second in discus at the region meet with a toss of 129 feet, 5 inches.
Hudson, also a senior, was a distance-running ace for the Patriots, helping them claim another Region 8-AAAA team championship.
At the Class AAAA state meet, Hudson finished third in the 1,600-meter run (4 minutes, 29.57 seconds) and fourth in the 3,200-meter run (10 minutes, 2.64 seconds).
He was a double winner in the Region 8-AAAA meet in the distance races, claiming the 1,600 in 4:32 and the 3,200 in 10:25.83.
Hudson, who earned all-state honors in cross country, is now running at West Georgia.
Jeff Gillespie can be reached at email@example.com.
SideBar: All-Area Team
Boys Athletes of the Year: Karl Williams, Eastside; Jake Hudson, Heritage
Girls Athletes of the Year: Asia Palmer, Eastside; J'Quyra Moncur-Blue, Eastside
100-Meter Dash: Karl Williams, Eastside, 10.66 (First in Class AAA State Meet)
200-Meter Dash: Karl Williams, Eastside, 22.18 (Third in Region 8-AAA Meet)
400-Meter Dash: Corrie Roach, Rockdale, 50.33 (Third in Region 8-AAAA Meet)
800-Meter Run: Aaron Worthy, Heritage, 1:57.62 (Fifth in Class AAAA State Meet)
1,600-Meter Run: Jake Hudson, Heritage, 4:29.57 (Third in Class AAAA State Meet)
3,200-Meter Run: Jake Hudson, Heritage, 10:02.64 (Fourth in Class AAAA State Meet)
100-Meter High Hurdles: Dorian Powell-Harris, Rockdale, 15.53 (Third in Region 8-AAAA Meet)
300-Meter Intermediate Hurdles: Brandon Thomas, Alcovy, 40.66 (Third in Region 4-AAAA Meet)
4x100-Meter Relay: Rockdale, 42.61 (Third in Region 8-AAAA Meet)
4x400-Meter Relay: Heritage, 3:21.45 (First in Region 8-AAAA Meet)
Shot Put: James Johnson, Eastside, 46-101/4 (Third in Region 8-AAA Meet)
Discus: Xavier Molette, Rockdale, 152-11 (Third in Class AAAA State Meet)
High Jump: Anderico Bailey, Eastside, 6-2 (Seventh in Class AAA State Meet)
Long Jump: Tyler Askew, Salem, 21-113/4 (Seventh in Class AAAA State Meet)
Triple Jump: Kenny Stokes, Alcovy, 42-103/4 (Fifth in Region 4-AAAA Meet)
Pole Vault: Morgan Tabb, Heritage, 12-0 (Third in Region 8-AAAA Meet)
100-Meter Dash: Cierra Johnson, Eastside, 12.68 (Third in Region 8-AAA Meet)
200-Meter Dash: Kimberly Thomas, Eastside, 25.31 (Second in Region 8-AAA Meet)
400-Meter Dash: Kimberly Thomas, Eastside, 58.01 (Fourth in Class AAA State Meet)
800-Meter Run: Asia Palmer, Eastside, 2:17.55 (First in Class AAA State Meet)
1,600-Meter Run: Jada Fambrough, Heritage, 5:29.44 (Seventh in Class AAAA State Meet)
3,200-Meter Run: Ameryst Armstead, Newton, 12:38.19 (Fifth in Region 2-AAAAA Meet)
100-Meter Intermediate Hurdles: Kiara Akporido, Heritage, 17.62 (Sixth in Region 8-AAAA Meet)
300-Meter Low Hurdles: Kim Abrams, Salem, 50.61 (Sixth in Region 8-AAAA Meet)
4x100-Meter Relay: Eastside, 49.32 (First in Region 8-AAA Meet)
4x400-Meter Relay: Eastside, 3:56 (First in Class AAA State Meet)
Shot Put: J'Qurya Moncur-Blue, Eastside, 41-10 (First in Class AAA State Meet)
Discus: J'Qurya Moncur-Blue, Eastside, 126-5 (First in Class AAA State Meet)
High Jump: Deja White, Heritage, 5-0 (Sixth in Class AAAA State Meet)
Long Jump: Asia Palmer, Eastside, 15-71/4 (Third in Region 8-AAA Meet)
Triple Jump: Aliea Griffith, Newton, 34-10 (Third in Region 2-AAAAA Meet)
Pole Vault: Chantai Harris, Heritage, 8-6 (Fourth in Class AAAA State Meet)