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George leads Mill Creek girls to runner-up finish at state track

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Mill Creeks Malayshia George finishes first in the Class AAAAAA 400 meter dash in a time of 53.63 during the girls Track and Field State Championship meet at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany Saturday. George set a new state record in the 400 meter dash and scored 34 points for Mill Creek over the course of two days.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Mill Creeks Malayshia George finishes first in the Class AAAAAA 400 meter dash in a time of 53.63 during the girls Track and Field State Championship meet at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany Saturday. George set a new state record in the 400 meter dash and scored 34 points for Mill Creek over the course of two days.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Girls from the Mill Creek track and field team, Dami Agboola, left, Jaylen Goldwire, second from left, Malayshia George, second from right, and Malaya George, right, celebrate while receiving their second place trophy for being the second overall team in Class AAAAAA during the girls Track and Field State Championship meet at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany Saturday. Mill Creek scored 41 points overall, as Westlake placed first with 72.5 points.

ALBANY -- Mill Creek was in fifth place in the team standings of Saturday's girls track and field state championship.

Malayshia George did everything she could to make sure the Hawks got on the podium at Hugh Mills Stadium.

George won the 400-meter run and was second in the 200 to help Mill Creek finish second at the Class AAAAAA state meet.

"It means a lot because we don't have a lot of trophies for track," George said.

The runner-up finish is the first trophy for Mill Creek at the state meet in the school's nine-year history. It's also a week after the boys team won the state championship.

"We've never been in the top five before. It's a big deal," Mill Creek coach Jed Hodges said.

Westlake was in 20th place with 7.5 points to start the day and finished with 72.5 points to win the Class AAAAAA state title. Just two points separated second and fourth place. Mill Creek scored 41 to take second, Marietta had 40 and McEachern was fourth with 39.

Brookwood was fifth (32), Berkmar was sixth (24) and Norcross was seventh (23).

George was able to bring home a lot of hardware after her strong performance on Saturday. The Clemson signee won the 400 with a time of 53.63 seconds to have the best performance in the event out of all the 'classifications.

"I felt like she could do it," Hodges said.

Her time also set the new state record, breaking the old time of 53.65 seconds by Northeast Macon's Stephanie Smith in 2000.

"I was expecting to win based on seeding, but I wasn't expecting to do all that," George said.

George was also a title favorite in the 200, but lost to Westlake's SheKara Martin. George finished with a time of 24.54 and Martin ran 23.93.

"I have no idea (what happened.) Westlake is good," George said. "I wish I wasn't so worn out. Maybe if I was more fresh I could have won. But she deserves it, she's good."

The first-place and runner-up finish were a big improvement from last season when George was seventh in the 200 and fourth in the 400.

"I'm still happy. It's really all about the points for the team awards. I did way better than last year," George said.

George had a busy weekend. On Friday she won the state championship in the high jump and then had to qualify in four running events. The 400 relay team she was on placed sixth with a time of 48.14 seconds.

However, it was the 1,600 relay in the final race of the day that secured the runner-up finish for the Hawks. Mill Creek needed to finish seventh or better and they took sixth with a time of 3:59.52.

Mill Creek also got points from Lauren Hovis, who was fifth in the 3,200 and eighth in the 1,600. Sydney Shaw was seventh in the triple jump.

"It's been a good season. The kids really came to fight," Hodges said. "Every little point counts."