Sydney Fobbus

Fort Payne’s Sydney Fobbus competes during the 100 meter hurdles at the Heil Northeast Alabama Invitational Saturday at Wildcats Stadium.

Fort Payne was expecting a good showing, but they may have even surprised themselves.

The Fort Payne girls track team placed first at the third annual Heil Northeast Alabama Invitational Saturday by a big margin of 56 points over second place Baylor School (Tenn.).

Sheldonna Chappell led the way for the Lady Wildcats with three first place finishes in the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash and the long jump. The girls 4x800 meter relay team continued their streak of first place finishes with a time of 10:20.81, and Olivia Thurman placed first in the 1,600 meter. Collyn Davis placed second in the 400 and 800 meter.

Track coach Kenny Chadwick expected that his team would be competing for the top spot, but he wasn’t expecting such a dominating performance.

“We weren’t expecting to beat those teams by that much,” Chadwick said. “We usually only run three events, but we want ran more on Saturday to try and go a little harder. As always our leaders all did unbelievable, and it was against really good competition like Paul W. Bryant, Baylor and Darlington.”

The standouts doing as well as they did was expected, but Chadwick said there was some surprise performances from a few athletes.

Nykeia McElrath threw a personal best distance of 103 in the javelin, which was good enough for second. Her previous best throws were in the 80s. Also, seventh grader Maggie Crow finished sixth in the 1,600 meter run and is competing for a spot on the 4x8 team.

“Probably the surprise of the day was Nykeia McElrath threw a 103 in the javelin, which put her third. Until Saturday her longest throw was in the 80s,” Chadwick said. “She’s been working on it. If she doesn’t do good in field events then we have a big hole in our score.”

Chadwick said as impressive as the day was that his team can do better. Several athletes Fort Payne was expecting a good showing, but they may have even surprised themselves.

The Fort Payne girls track team placed first at the third annual Heil Northeast Alabama Invitational Saturday by a big margin of 56 points over second place Baylor School (Tenn.).

Sheldonna Chappell led the way for the Lady Wildcats with three first place finishes in the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash and the long jump. The girls 4x800 meter relay team continued their streak of first place finishes with a time of 10:20.81, and Olivia Thurman placed first in the 1,600 meter. Collyn Davis placed second in the 400 and 800 meter.

Track coach Kenny Chadwick expected that his team would be competing for the top spot, but he wasn’t expecting such a dominating performance.

“We weren’t expecting to beat those teams by that much,” Chadwick said. “We usually only run three events, but we want ran more on Saturday to try and go a little harder. As always our leaders all did unbelievable, and it was against really good competition like Paul W. Bryant, Baylor and Darlington.”

The standouts doing as well as they did was expected, but Chadwick said there was some surprise performances from a few athletes.

Nykeia McElrath threw a personal best distance of 103 in the javelin, which was good enough for second. Her previous best throws were in the 80s. Also, seventh grader Maggie Crow finished sixth in the 1,600 meter run and is competing for a spot on the 4x8 team.

“Probably the surprise of the day was Nykeia McElrath threw a 103 in the javelin, which put her third. Until Saturday her longest throw was in the 80s,” Chadwick said. “She’s been working on it. If she doesn’t do good in field events then we have a big hole in our score.”

Chadwick said as impressive as the day was that his team can do better. Several athletes are dealing with injuries and some didn’t compete.

“I like the way we competed, but we can also do better,” Chadwick said. “It was a really good performance, though. We’re a little ahead of our times at this time last year, so that’s a good thing, but we need to keep working.”

The boys finished the day with an eighth place finish as a team.

Trea Prater was the Wildcats’ highest finisher at third in the long jump.

Chadwick said they are still trying to find where everyone fits in the best and they are dealing with lack of depth.

“I was proud of some of the things the boys did,” Chadwick said. “We’re still going to shake things up and maybe move some people around.

“I think we can still improve in a lot of areas, but we just don’t have a lot of depth.”

Probably the biggest bright spot of the day though was the how smoothly the day went with 20 teams and more than 600 athletes at Wildcat Stadium.

“I’m not going to lie when I saw how many people where there it was overwhelming,” Chadwick said. “We’ve received a lot of phone calls saying they thought it was a good meet and they wanted to come back. It went a little longer than we would have liked, but other than that it went very smooth.

“We had a great group of parents and officials help. We had close to 90 people help us and we needed every one of them.”

It was a perfect tune up for the sectional meet Fort Payne will host at the end of April and at that point Chadwick expects everything to be as close to perfect as it can be.

“We’re going to make some adjustments. They’ll be more people at sectionals but not as many races,” Chadwick said. “We learned how to make some of the logistics a little better for next time but the main thing is we have the best facilities and because of that everything went great Saturday and they’ll go great at sectionals.”

Here are some of Fort Payne’s top finishers:

Girls

4x800 meter relay team placed first

100 Meter

1. Sheldonna Chappell

2. Laura Ellen Rigdon

200 meter

1. Sheldonna Chappell

400 Meter

2. Collyn Davis

7. Maegan Dorsett

800 meter

2. Collyn Davis

3. Olivia Thurman

1,600 meter

3. Olivia Thurman

6. Maggie Crow

3,200 meter

3. Gracie Groat

100 meter hurdles

4. Ashley Morales

5. Sydney Fobbus

4x400 meter relay

4. Fort Payne

4x800 meter relay

1. Fort Payne

Long jump

1. Sheldonna Chappell

Shot put

5. Nykeia McElrath

Javelin

2. Nykeia McElrath 103

Boys

Long jump

3. Trea Prater

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