The Buford girls and three northeast Georgia runners grabbed state titles Saturday in the finals of the Georgia High School Association track and field championships.
White County's Jaelen Alexander was the first northeast Georgia area runner to capture a state title. Not long after, Buford's Alexa Rossum brought home the first of two golds on the day in the Class AAAAA 100 meters in Carrollton. Her Lady Wolves teammate Erin Marsh later won the 300 hurdles.
Alexnder outsprinted Blessed Trinity's Emma Rose Bagwell to the finish with a winning time of 2:17.69 to win the Class AAAA girls 800 meters at Valhalla Stadium at Berry College in Rome. Bagwell finished in 2:18.10 for second. The top three runners and four of the top five in the event came from Region 7-AAAA.
Rossum sprinted home in an 11.72 time to beat Faith Lindsey of Woodland Stockbridge, who finished in 11.99 for second. Her victory at the time helped push the Lady Wolves into first place in the team standings. Later, Rossum won the 200 meters in 24.03 beating teammate Kimberly Harris, who clocked a 24.52 time for second.
Marsh held off Jayda Drake-Howard of North Springs at the tape stretching for 42.48 time to beat Howard by 8/100ths of a second.
Then, Harris, Britiney Johnson, Marsh, and Rossum teammed up to win the 4x400 relay gold to put the icing on the Lady Wolves dominating team championship. Buford titled 100 points to just 55 for second place Fayette County.
There were several near misses for area runners as well.
Jefferson's Clay Pender just missed out on his own state title finishing second in the boys Class AAAA 800. Ponder finished in a 1:55.56 time but was nipped by Brian Faust of Marist, who clocked a 1:54.68 winning time.
Rabun County's Justin Wilkes also just missed out on a title taking second in the Class AA 800 meters. Wilkes posted a 2:00.36 time but could not catch Tristan Lynn of Toombs County, who claimed the title with a 1:57.86 time at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany.
Another near miss was in the Class AAA boys 800 meters as North Hall's Tommy Johnston took second in a time of 1:56.96 but was nipped at the line by Everett Smulders of Lovett, who finished in 1:54.92 in Albany.
In the Class AAAA girls 300 hurdles, Chestatee's Megan Dew finished second as Mary Person's Olympia High outstretched her at the tape by just 2/100ths of a second. (44.64 to 44.84). The 3 White County 'A' team took third in the girls 4x400 relay.
The Riverside Military 4x400 relay team of Demaldi Lasisi, Antonio Copeland, Charles Dimnwaobi, and Isaac Teasly finished second.
Also in Albany, the East Jackson 'A' girls 4x100 teamand 4x400 relay teams finished eighth in the Class AAA finals. Also in Class AAA, North Hall's Olivia Bradley took fourth in the 400 meters. Her finish at the time moved the Lady Trojans into fourth place in the team standings. North Hall's Gracie McBride finished third in the 100 hurdles with East Jackson's Bailey StaudIn taking fifth.
In Class AA, Rabun County's Taylor Grimmett placed sizth in the 100 hurdles. the Banks County 'A' 4x400 relay team took fifth.
Also in AAA girls, East Jackson's Sue Ann Morales finished fifth in the 800 meters. In AAA boys action, North Hall's Cutter Sanford took sixth in the 300 hurdles.
In boys action at Albany, DaJuan Wood of Commerce finished sixth in both the 400 meters and 300 hurdles in the Class A Public. In Class AA, Bryce Bennett of Banks County placed sixth in the 400.
In Carrollton, in Class AAAAA, the Buford 'A' boys 4x100 relay team took fifth. The Wolves' Josh Blackwell placed third in the 100 meters. In the AAAAA girls, Buford's Erin Marsh finished third in the 100 hurdles while Britiney Johnson took fourth in the 400 meters.
In Class AAAAAA, Gainesville's Devonte Mize finished seventh in boys 300 hurdles. Jada Harrison finished fourth in the girls 110 hurdles for the Lady Red Elephants.
Also at Valhalla Stadium at Berry College in Rome, the White County 'A' boys 4x100 team finished eighth in Class AAAA. West Hall's George Lira third in the 200 meters and finished eighth in the 100 meters. Jefferson's Tanner Carson took eighth in the 110 hurdles.
In Class AAAA girls action, the Lady Warriors' Rachel Gearing continued her strong meet placing third in the 400 meters. Jefferson's Akera Benton also continued her good work from Friday taking eighth in the 400.
In the Class A boys Private, Riverside Militar placed a pair of runners in the scoring column in the 400 meters as Isaac Teasly took fourth and Demaldi Lasisi finished seventh. Riverside's Charles Dimnwaobi then followed with a third place finish in the 100 meters, which moved the Eagles into the top 10 at that time in the team standings. Dimnwaobi later took third in 200 meters.