The Region 4-4A track and field championships went a little better than expected for the Baldwin High School Braves and Bravettes.
The BHS girls team claimed its fourth consecutive region championship in blowout fashion, scoring a meet-high 219.5 points while second-place West Laurens finished with 134.5. The Baldwin boys, whose participation numbers are down this year, figured to compete more in the individual events, but actually wound up as region team runner-up behind champion Perry.
Baldwin, who hosted this year’s event, also came away with both the boys and girls high-point winners. Dexter Ricks Jr. was the boys top performer as he took first in the long jump (19 feet, 9 inches), 300-meter hurdles (39.76), and the 110-meter hurdles (14.72). No one was particularly close to catching Ricks in any of those three events. The junior athlete added a runner-up finish in the high jump to boost his individual score. Joining Ricks in earning the meet’s top individual honor was BHS freshman Madison Ruff who Region 4-4A opponents will have to deal with the next three years in both track and girls basketball. Ruff won the 100-meter dash (12.41), the 200-meter dash (25.64), the long jump (16 feet, 1.5 inches), and was the anchor on the girls 4x100 relay (50.49).
Beyond those two outstanding performances, Baldwin had many more athletes earn region titles and also earn a spot at next weekend’s sectional where they will try to qualify for state. For the girls, Jordyn Bolston won the 400-meter dash (1:02.49) by edging out teammate Amilliana Simmons (1:02.77). The Bravettes went 1-2-3 in the 800-meter run led by Jasmine Williams (2:35). She was followed by Ashley Johnson (2:40) and Simmons (2:43) in that event. Williams and Johnson finished first and second respectively in the mile, both crossing the line at just over six minutes. The Baldwin girls won all three relays convincingly. Ashanti Williams, Bolston, Jasmine Williams and Ruff took the 4x400 at 4:12 while Jasmine Williams, Heaven Simmons, Johnson and Nykeisha Thornton won the GHSA’s newest relay, the 4x800, with a time of 10:53. Jamilah Sessoms was the Bravettes’ other individual region champ as she won the pole vault at a height of 7 feet.
For the Baldwin boys, Emmanuel Dixon edged out a win in the 800, beating second-place River Livingston of Perry by 1/100th of a second. Amir Gilmore won the pole vault at 9 feet to give the Braves their only other individual region championship besides those won by Ricks.
Those names and more will take the trip to Columbus May 5 for the Class 4A “A” sectional that will include Regions 1, 2, 3 and 4. Finishes there will determine who moves on to the big event, the Class 4A state championships scheduled for May 13-15 at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany.