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Track athletes compete at state rec meet
Long and Liberty represented
Long County Recreation Department track athletes line up for a photo at the district meet. - photo by Provided

The first year Long County Recreation Department Track and Field Team took 35 athletes to the District 2 Meet in Kingsland in April.

After two months of training and four practice meets, the came away with 42 top eight finishes, including 12 top three finishes.

The top three finishers earned the right to compete at state meet this weekend in Commerce. Kikio Auku, Samaria Harris, Jay’den Tanner, Devion Smalls, Kayla Cowart, Macey Higgason and Carrington Dutton will represent the county at state.

Kikio and Samaria competed in the 13-14 year old girls bracket.  Kikio placed 1st in the 1600 meter run and 2nd in the 800m. Samaria placed 3rd in the 300m, 4th in the 100m, and 7th in the softball throw.

Jay’den and Devion competed in the 13-14 year old boys bracket. Jay’den placed 3rd in the 200m, 6th in softball throw, and 8th in the 100m.  Devion placed 4th in the 100m, but will compete at the state meet after the 3rd place finisher withdrew.  Devion also placed 6th in the standing broad jump. 

Kayla and Macey competed in the 9-10 year old girls bracket.  Kayla placed 3rd in the 500m, 3rd in the 200m, and 3rd in long jump. Macey placed 3rd in the 1600m, 3rd in shot put and 6th in the 800m.  Carrington competed in the 7-8 year old girls bracket and placed 1st in the 8m, 1st in softball throw, and 2nd in the 4m.  

Steven Quintero placed 4th in the 13-14 boys 800m and 8th in the 1600m.  Bryant Bleyman placed 5th in the 13-14 boys shot put and 5th in softball throw. Yuridia Sellars placed 7th in both the 11-12 girls 200m and 400m, and 7th in long jump.  Akirah Vaughn placed 4th place in the 11-12 girls high jump, Jordan Becton placed 5th in both the 11-12 boys 800m and 1600m.  Chris Campbell placed 6th in the 11-12 boys 400m.  Marquise Jones placed 6th place the 9-10 boys shot put.  SanDejago Wilson placed 7th in both the 9-10 boys 800m and 1600m.  Jazaria Wilkerson placed 7th in both the 9-10 girls 100m and 200m.  Jaeden Becton placed 7th in the 400m.  Asia Balsinger placed 6th in the 9-10 girls 1600m.  Kadyn Higgason placed 8th in the 9-10 girls 800m and 8th in the standing broad jump.  Brayden Hall placed 6th in the 7-8 boys 200m.  Angel Wilson placed 7th in the 7-8 boys 50m and 8th in the 100m.  Zachary Anderson and Rylan Johnson placed 5th and 8th, respectively, in the 7-8 boys long jump.

Most improved award went to Logan Strickland, who cut nearly 3 minutes off his 1600m. Honorable mention went to Liam Wills, the team’s youngest runner who was 6 and competed in the 7-8 boys 800m.

Department Director Brandon McManus said all the athletes competed hard, earning the team 179 points, placing Long County 8th out of 11 teams that participated.

The team was coached by Rusty and Karen Higgason, Patrice Wilkerson, Isaac Strickland, Emory Paxton, Thomas Henderson, Adam Thomas, and Johnathan Hall.

“This is our first GRPA appearance in the track and field,” McManus said. “I am extremely proud of our participants and parents for their hard work and dedication to the Long County Recreation Department Track and Field team. A special thanks to our coaches this year, they did an outstanding job organizing.”


The Liberty County Recreation Department track team athletes who qualified for the state championships are headed to Jefferson this weekend to compete. The track stars are ages 7-14 and will battle for the state trophies in their respective events in the Class A Division. They are pictured with their track coach Gary Guy. - photo by Special to the Couirer