2 ’Cats, Cantrell place in top 3; Berdin breaks 11 seconds at state

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Many of the best athletes in the state of Georgia were in Jefferson this weekend for the boys track and field state championships.

Bartow County had several representatives and three athletes placed in the top three at state and four made it to the finals in their respective events.

Woodland High had a strong showing, placing 15th in Class 5A. The Wildcats were led by Thomas Jolly and Jarvis James. Jolly placed third in the pole vault and tied the second-place finisher with a vault of 14 feet. James placed third in the long jump with a distance of 22 feet, 8 inches.

Trevor Knowles also competed in Jefferson and placed ninth in the high jump with a height of 5 feet, 10 inches.

With all of Woodland’s representation at the state meet being jumpers and competing on Thursday, Woodland was third in the standings after Day 1 Thursday and sixth after Day 2 Friday.

Along with Jolly and James, Adairsville’s Jayson Cantrell also placed third in the discus throw in Class 3A with a distance of 137 feet, 10 inches.

Meanwhile, Trey Creamer was the lone representative from Cartersville at the state meet and he placed 11th in the long jump with a distance of 21 feet, 0.5 inches.

Cass also was well-represented as Ray Varnum competed in four events, including a relay with Terry Berdin, Laizon West and Dexter Wilkey. Berdin was the one Colonel to reach the finals as he placed seventh in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.29 seconds. He ran a personal best of 10.99 seconds in the prelims to qualify for the finals.

“The one that pushed on and got to the next elite group was Terry Berdin with his 10.99. Anytime you break that 11-second mark and get into that 10-second range, you start becoming a known speedster in the state of Georgia. It’s a good feeling for him. He did a great job,” Cass coach Danny Fairbanks said. “You’re talking about these kids going to the state track meet, so you have the top 16. They’re in the top 3 percent of Georgia. And, then, Terry ends up getting in the top eight, and that’s the top 1 percent.”

The Cass 4x100-meter relay team placed ninth, one spot off of reaching the finals. The Colonels were .08 second behind eighth-place Statesboro for a chance to run Saturday.

“Our 4x100 team didn’t make it. They missed it by a blink of an eye, but they broke our school record here,” Fairbanks said. “Every time they’ve ran they’ve gotten a personal best. They just came up short [Friday]. ... All four are great kids. They do a great job for Cass High School. They all play three sports and that’s what we like to see. They’re great kids and it was a lot of fun coaching them.”

Varnum was busy Friday as he placed 14th in the triple jump with a distance of 43 feet, 8 inches for a personal record; 11th in the long jump with a distance of 21 feet, 4 inches; and 15th in the 110-meter hurdles with a personal record time of 15.24 seconds.

“I was very happy overall. I think the kids did a fantastic job. Not any of them could feel bad about their performance at state,” Fairbanks said. “Every one of them came out with personal bests and it was a lot of fun to see them out there competing with the best.”