Seventeen Fort Payne Wildcats will all compete for a state title this weekend.
The team’s success on all levels at the section meet last week earned them a spot in the state competition.
But, the Fort Payne Lady ‘Cats track team have made a name for themselves at the highest levels, and that success continued Friday.
For the third consecutive year, the Lady ‘Cats took home the sectional title.
“It literally took the whole team stepping up and having their best performance of the season to make this happen,” head track coach Ashley Jackson said. “I could not be more proud of each and every one of them than I am now. They have all worked so hard, some have fought through injuries, and they all deserved this win.”
One of those who fought with injuries all season was junior Collyn Davis.
Jackson said Davis qualified for state by placing first in the 800 meter run — she had also taken the title the previous two years — and she was also a member for 4x400 meter and 4x800 meter relay, both of which took home first place.
“Collyn has dealt with a hamstring injury most of this season,” Jackson said. “She showed a lot of guts in that 800 run. She went in seeded fifth, but (Davis) was determined to defend her title.”
The girls’ 4x400 meter relay team had a new season best of 4:07, Jackson said. The time now puts them in serious medal contention at the state contest. The team is just a few seconds from breaking the school record.
Jackson said she was also proud of the “outstanding performances” from eighth grader Maggie Crow, who participated in the 800-meter, mile, 4x800 and two mile events, and high jumpers Anabel Craig and Bailee Bruce.
All three will participate at the girls’ state meet.
“We all knew how well Anabel could jump because she had been here before, but Bruce surprised us and had a (record) of 4 feet 8 inches, which got us points we were not expecting.”
In the boys’ 4x800, Jayden Parris, Benny Lopez, Hector Juan and Bruce Sandavol qualified for state. Jackson said the team ran a season best time to earn the state spot.
In the boys, 4x400, Will Crow, Matthew Shaddix, Sandavol and Parris narrowly missed qualifying by one second.
Jackson also said at sectionals Matthew Shaddix, an eighth grader, was the only boy to qualify for an individual event. Shaddix finished in fifth place in the 100-meter hurdles.
Other members qualifying for state are: Sheldonna Chappell, Sydney Fobbus, Thanne Thompson and Keisy Trinidad, both of which will participate in the javelin event, Ari Neal, Craig, Abigail Johnston, Gracie Groat and Madi Wallace.
The team leaves today for the state meet in Gulf Shores.
The competition will be held Thursday through Saturday.