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Patriots track leads New-Rock after first day

Soph EHS Jomandi Smith takes first in the long jump at 22-9 1/2 feet.

Soph EHS Jomandi Smith takes first in the long jump at 22-9 1/2 feet.

CONYERS -- The Lady Patriots girls track team had a big enough lead to give Heritage the overall first-day lead in the NewRock Track and Field Championship at Salem on Thursday.

In the overall combined team scores, Heritage leads with 86 points followed by Eastside (68.5), Newton (63), Salem (57.5), Alcovy (51) and Rockdale (45).

"Field events really showed up. We put in the work at practice and all we can do is hope that it would come together. It looking like it's coming together pretty good," Heritage coach Jeremy Easley said. "All we have to do is keep it together for the running."

After six events on the girls side, Heritage has 57 points as a result of their two wins, two runner-up positions and two third place finishes. Trailing Heritage are Eastside (41.5), Rockdale (39), Newton (18), Salem (17.5) and Alcovy (13).

The Newton boys have a slim five-point lead over second place Salem with a score of 45-40. Alcovy is two points behind Salem with 38 followed by Heritage (29), Eastside (27) and Rockdale (6).

"We should have been further ahead. We didn't do as well in the discus as we thought we would," said Newton head coach Cortez Allen. "Other than that, things went pretty much as we thought it would."

Newton failed to finish in the top three in the discus but they did have a win in the 3,200-meter, with Alex Grady smoking the competition by finishing the run in 9 minutes, 53.35 seconds. Salem's Gabriel Alvarez came in second at 10:10.16.

Newton had a pair of second-place finishes in the triple and long jump by Malik Franklin. He had a jump of 43-feet, 3-inches in the triple and 21-07 in the long jump.

Winning the triple jump with a distance of 43-04 was Salem's Christian Bagley (43-04) with Eastside's Jomandi Smith taking the long jump in 22-09.5.

Alcovy's Natorie Philbert and Newton's Clifford White tied in the high jump (5-08).

Winning the throwing events, discus and shot put, were Heritage's Brenton Wilson (discus -- 129-10.5) and Eastside's Sheldon Rankins (shot put -- 48).

Winning the girls events were Salem's Daria Woods (3,200 -- 13:27.87), Eastside's Nylah Chavis (high jump -- 5-02), Heritage's Kiara Akporido (long jump -- 17-01.5 and triple jump -- 34-11) and Rockdale's Cree Clark (shot put -- 39-02.5 and discus -- 116-04).

Heritage had two second- and two third-place finishes, Eastside had three second-place finishes, Rockdale had a second- and third-place finish, Alcovy had two third-place finishes and Newton got a third-place finish.

"We're proud of what they've done," Allen said. "We have some young ladies that are stepping up in some places. We got hit by the injury bug. Two of top kids are probably going to be out for the rest of the season."

Even though Heritage has a 17.5 point overall team advantage, Easley knows that today's track events are very important if they hope to stay ahead of the pack.

"Anything can happen. You can have a big lead then something happens. Nothing ever comes as planned in a championship meet," Easley said. "We're hoping that our sprints and hurdles take care of everything. Hopefully, we'll come out on top."