COLUMBUS — A small contingent of athletes maintained Greater Atlanta Christian’s girls track and field tradition Saturday.
The Spartans, lighter than many years in their number of state qualifiers, still made their debut at the Class AAAAA meet with a state championship, their fifth in the last seven state meets and eighth all-time title in the sport. All eight championships have come under longtime head coach Brad Kinser, in his 34th season at the Norcross private school.
GAC finished with 61 points and held off runner-up Cambridge (54.5) thanks to a runner-up finish in the meet-ending 1,600-meter relay in 3 minutes, 57.60 seconds.
“It was an amazing team effort,” Kinser said. “It was weird in the fact that out of the 18 events, we were only in seven of them. But we won four, got two seconds and a fourth. That’s different than some teams in past where we’ve been in almost every event.”
Seniors Nia Wilson and Morgan Collins led the charge.
Wilson won state in the 100 with a time of 11.51, a U.S. top-50 clocking, and was runner-up in the 200 in 23.99. She also ran on a state champion 400 relay (46.98) and on the runner-up 1,600 relay.
Collins was state champion in the 800 at 2:11.87 and fourth in the 1,600 at 5:14.10, in addition to joining Wilson on the 1,600 relay.
GAC’s Ava Kitchings won the long jump state title Thursday at 19 feet, 7 3/4 inches.
“It was a real competitive class,” Kinser said. “Some years we’ve scored 100 points and not won and this year we had 61 and won, just because it’s so competitive in 5A. There’s so much depth. … Every class we’ve ever been in has top people who are always good, but the eighth, 10th and 14th people in 5A were good. The depth was really incredible. That’s what we noticed. To win in 5A in our first year in was great because of the great teams and the great programs.”
GAC’s previous girls state championships came in 2005, 2009, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021.
The Spartans’ boys team was sixth with 29 points thanks to a state runner-up 800 relay (1:26.76), a sixth-place 400 relay (42.51) and top individual finishes from Josiah Asfaw (fourth, 800, 1:56.93) and Gabriel Daniels (sixth, 200, 22.09).
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