As scores of Middle Georgia track stars head to Albany this week for the GHSA girls state track and field meet, three of those with the best chances at state titles come from Macon.
Howard senior Anasterasia Terrell is the top seed in the Class AAAA triple jump. She is also the second seed in the 100-meter hurdles and the fourth seed in the long jump.
Adriunna Brown is the top seed in the long jump and the 300-meter hurdles. The Rutland senior also enters the meet with the fourth-fastest time in the 400 meters in Class AAAA.
FPD’s Grace Tinkey will travel to the Class A private school meet as the second and third seed in the 1600 and 3200 meters, respectively.
The three Macon girls all head to the final meet of their high school careers with common ground, hoping to punctuate impressive prep careers. They’re already ensured of their college futures: Terrell has signed with Clemson, Brown is going to Louisiana-Monroe and Tinkey will run at Air Force.
But all three also head to the state meet each seeking their own form of redemption.
Tinkey and Brown both had their junior seasons affected by injuries. For Terrell, redemption could come in the form of an elusive state championship.
“You always want the state meet to be your biggest one of the year,” Brown said. “Then it’s my last meet. You just have to leave everything out there and give it your best.”
Brown is happy to have the chance to be a full participant at this year’s meet.
The Rutland senior missed much of her junior track season after she dislocated her ankle during basketball season. She returned to run in the 4x100 relay at the state meet, but Brown watched as she couldn’t compete in her best events: the 300 hurdles and the long jump. Brown won the 300 hurdles as a sophomore, becoming the first individual in school history to win an individual state championship. She added a third place in the long jump.
“I literally cried during the (300 hurdles),” said Brown, who also finished second in the event as a freshman. “It was too hard. You just want to be out there.”
Tinkey, too, watched her teammates during last year’s state meet.
FPD’s distance champion -- she won four straight cross country state championships and added three individual track titles while FPD was in the GISA -- suffered a broken fibula during a race in St. Louis and added a fractured heel around the same time.
The injuries cost Tinkey her 2012 track season, but they also lingered throughout the summer and fall, forcing Tinkey to miss her entire senior cross country season as well.
She didn’t get a chance to finish her career a perfect 5-for-5 in state cross country meets.
“It was tough,” Tinkey said. “You’re not doing something you love. You’re devastated. I thought I’d be back in two months. I was frustrated.”
While Tinkey missed 10 months of competitive racing, colleges started to peel back their interest. Air Force, however, was one of the schools that stuck by Tinkey, and she’ll now receive the opportunity to train at a high altitude near the United States Olympic Committee training center in Colorado Springs, Colo. She’s also running pain-free and competed in the Boston Marathon 5K in April.
“I’m so happy to be able to run,” Tinkey said. “I’m really pumped for the race. I just want to go down there and have fun.”
Terrell hasn’t missed out on state meets like Brown or Tinkey, but she just hasn’t been able to get over the top at the state meet.
The Howard senior has finished second four different times at the state meet (twice in the 100 hurdles and twice in the triple jump) to go with two third places and a fourth place.
Terrell is also the most ballyhooed of the three Macon girls after landing the scholarship with Clemson. She said she doesn’t have any extra pressure, though.
“I’m going to try for (personal bests),” she said. “If I go down there and run and jump my best, I can live with whatever happens.”