Photo: The Ashville High girls 4×800-relay team of Callie Stewart, Meghan McCarthy, Kathleen McCarthy and Emma Drinkard (pictured, clockwise, from left) display their bronze medals after finishing third at the Class 4A/5A AHSAA state indoor track and field meet on Feb. 5 in Birmingham. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy/Publisher/Editor
After not competing for almost two years, the Ashville High girls 4×800-meter relay team shook off the rust in a big way on February 5 at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
Seeded seventh for the above event at the AHSAA Class 4A/5A state track meet, the Lady Bulldogs turned in a performance that resulted in a third-place bronze medal and a first-place finish among public schools.
The Lady Bulldogs’ time of 10:38.93 was only one second shy of runner-up Whitesburg Christian (10:37.24) and three seconds off first-place Randolph (10:35.52).
Ashville did not compete last season due to the COVID-19 shutdown of all high school sports in March of 2020. The last time that senior Callie Stewart (first leg) senior Meghan McCarthy (second leg), junior Kathleen McCarthy (third leg) and sophomore Emma Drinkard (anchor leg) ran the 4×800 together was in May 2019 at the AHSAA state track and field meet in Gulf Shores.
“We just wanted to see what we could get our time down to,” said AHS track and field coach Michele Rogers. “We have a good selection of girls, talent wise, and I think every one of them could run any leg and do well. Callie did a really good job of getting us a good start and leaving us in fourth place. Meghan did a good job of holding onto our position and holding off the fifth-place girl. Kathleen flew with it and got us into third, and Emma did a really good job of making sure the (fourth-place) Bayside Academy girl didn’t catch her.”
Also visiting the medal podium from Ashville was Wyatt Knight, who set a personal record while finishing third in the 4A/5A boys 1600-meter run. Knight’s time of 4:38.23 was just a second behind second-place Jake Moore of White Plains (4:37.97).
“I was seeded fourth, so I was at least trying to get third,” said Knight. “That last 800 [meters] felt like a sprint, and I was going as fast as I could. It’s always great to get a PR, and doing it at state was pretty awesome.”
Knight also finished 10th in the 3200-meter run at 10:37.90.
“I talked to Wyatt before the race about letting the other guys take the lead early on and to save it for the end,” said Rogers. “He did exactly what he was supposed to do. I couldn’t have asked him for anything more tonight.”
Local athletes finishing in the top 10 were:
* The Westbrook Christian 4×400 relay team of Jackson Martin, Sage Robertson, Torin Cantrell, and Drew Whittemore (fifth, 4:00.56)
* Ashville’s Emma Drinkard in the 400-meter dash (seventh, 1:01.81)
- Ashville’s Taylor Knight in the 1600-meter run (seventh, 5:40.25)
* Ashville’s Kayla Simpson in the triple jump (seventh, 30-06.25)
* Gadsden City’s Aaron Richard in the Class 7A shot put (ninth, 43-08.25)
* Southside’s Grayson Russell in the Class 6A boys 400-meter dash (ninth, 51.57)
* Westbrook’s Jackson Martin in the 1A/3A 400-meter dash (10th, 56.96) and 800-meter run (10th, 2:11.07)
* Westbrook’s Deacon Godfrey in the shot put (10th, 36-08)
* The Gadsden City girls 4×200-meter relay team of Trinity Price, Kyla Price, Jadien Price and Emani Morgan (10th, 4:29.24)