Augusta Christian's girls track and field team claimed another South Carolina Independent Schools Association state championship last weekend. The Lady Lions defended their state crown with a 6-point win over state runner-up Ashley Hall.
At a school where the girls track team has won the state title three out of the past four years, the Lady Lions were expecting nothing short of No. 1.
"It would have been depressing if we wouldn't have won it," senior Casey Brush said. "It's our senior year. It was not an option to lose state."
Brush was the top point winner at the SCISA Class AAA state meet last Saturday at Heathwood Hall. The senior won individual state titles in the discus with a throw of 109 feet and the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 2 inches.
Even with four different Lady Lions taking individual state titles, the team championship was still up for grabs going into the final event.
"It was really close. It came down to the 4x400," Brush said. "We just needed to finish ahead of Ashley Hall."
In an earlier heat, Ashley Hall's relay team ran the 4x400-meter relay in 4:36. The Lady Lion relay team of Lynlee Satcher, Stephanie Cipollone, Whitney Waters and Allie Lehi finished the race in 4:27 to seal the state championship.
It was the second straight SCISA girls track and field state title for the Lady Lions.
"That's the expectation that was set dating back to four seasons ago," Augusta Christian athletics director and girls track and field coach Bruce Lane said. "The thing that satisfied me the most as a coach was that the girls we expected to do well did well but the girls who didn't score at all at state last year came on this year and really stepped up."
One of those newcomers was senior Maggie Freeman who took first place in the 100-meter hurdles. Eighth-grader Stephanie Cipollone also scored with two third place finishes in the 100- and 200-meters and sophomore Calyssa Lawyer grabbed first place in the long jump with a personal best length of 16 feet, 10.5 inches.
Senior Lynlee Satcher took first place in the shot put with a career-best 32 feet, 1 inch. Satcher joined Lawyer, Cipollone, Freeman and Brush on the SCISA girls All-State Team.
ACS boys take 2nd place
Augusta Christian's boys track team also competed at the SCISA state meet and came home with a second-place finish. Junior Fred Auston was the top point-winner on the boys side and claimed first place in both the 400-meter hurdles and the 100-meter hurdles.
"I'm really happy about how we did because seeing our obstacles I thought second place would be pretty hard to get," Auston said.
The main obstacle facing the Lions was an issue of quantity. Augusta Christian's boys track and field team has only 19 members. Other SCISA schools at the state meet had more than 30 members.
"I saw some of the other teams lining up for team photos and I thought, 'Hmm, they have nine or 10 more boys than we do,'" Augusta Christian boys track and field coach Charles Cooper said.
Riding Auston's first-place finishes, the Lions grabbed second place overall and sent two boys to the SCISA All-State Team. Eighth-grader Christian Croft, who placed third in the high jump and 400-meter hurdles, also made the All-State Team.
Augusta Christian's William Banks claimed an individual state title with a first-place finish in the triple jump.
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