Photo: Larry G. Williams Peachtree Ridge's Autumn Burnette competes in the 100 meter hurdle at the state track and field championships in Albany.
ALBANY -- Freshman Aliyah Abrams couldn't believe her second place drew any attention.
When approached after climbing down from the award stand she quickly pointed out where her older sister, Jasmine, was sitting.
But with a time of 54.09, one-hundredth of a second off her best in the 400, the Grayson freshman finished second for her first state medal.
"It's different," the younger Abrams said of high school competition. "When I run indoors, I race with just my age group. Here there are older people."
Like her sister, Jasmine, who finished third in the 200 and fourth in the 100.
The two also combined to help Grayson to a third place finish in the 1,600 -meter relay, with Jasmine opening up the race and Aliyah bringing it home.
"It's fun," Jasmine said. "I wanted to get out and build a cushion so she didn't have too much pressure on her."
Aliyah does that herself, constantly wanting more out of each of her performances.
"I am very excited," Aliyah said of her 400 finish. "Usually I stall getting out. I am really pleased with my race today."
Sounds like her older sister, who was disappointed with her finishes in her senior year.
"I am a little sad, I would say," Jasmine said, noting her final results in the 100, where she thought she finished higher.
But, regardless, both Abrams held medals for the day and both got to enjoy a season running with each other.
"We just push each other to do our best," Jasmine said.
Finally, a state title
Sonikqua Walters knows the track at Hugh Mills Stadium well.
The Peachtree Ridge senior made it to the state championships every year of her high school career, but never left with a title of her own.
Walters started running the 800 less than a month ago, her first race coming in the Region 7-AAAAA tournament when she ran a 2:26. She cut that number to 2:22 at sectionals and when she made one of her final appearances at Albany in the 800 preliminaries, Walters cut her number down to 2:17.
"It was between me and one of my teammates as to who would even qualify for the finals," Walters said. "I just let it all out."
She did it again Saturday, finishing with her first state title in any event with a 2:13.56, meaning she cut 13 seconds off her 800 time in four races.
"I was just like, 'I have to do it again," Walters said. "I just have to get a state championship in something."
Lonely day on the track
After a day stocked of Wesleyan athletes in the field events, Landyn Duley found herself all alone in the infield on Saturday.
Duley was the first ever Wesleyan runner to reach state in the 100 and the sophomore didn't disappoint, finishing second and shaving nearly two-tenth of a second off her best with a time of 12.43.
"It's impressive for me," Duley said, clutching another medal.
Duley finished runner-up to state record holder in Class A in the event Mt. Zion's Hannah Wood.
"It was like, just stay with her," Duley said of her plan in the race. "I guess it turned out good."
Duley was the day's only competitor for Wesleyan, which built up a big lead with 56 points in the field and distance events leading into the championship's final day.
"I was kind of nervous, because I usually have someone out there with me," Duley said of standing on the infield before her race. "It's just the 100, so I didn't really mind."