It's been a good spring at Harlem High School. The baseball team once again won the subregion, finished second in the region and earned a bid to the state playoffs. Regular season wins over Evans and Lakeside didn't hurt, either.
With a state quarterfinals finish, the girls soccer team made it deeper into the state playoffs than any other Columbia County girls soccer team.
Then there's track. The Harlem track and field team isn't known as a powerhouse. Head coach Jeff Collins will be the first to admit it.
"We have some good athletes at the school, but we can't always get them to come out for track," he said.
Heading into the region meet, the Lady Bulldogs had a squad of nine girls. That ruled out any chance of a team placement, but the individual girls still had a shot at a state tournament invite. Well, a long shot.
It takes a second-place finish at the region meet to earn a state meet invite. Collins said no Harlem girls athlete has qualified for state competition in the past five years.
That is, until Karis Smith stepped to the starting line.
Smith, a senior on the Harlem girls track team, ran the 3,200-meter (two mile) event in a time of 14:13 and took second place overall. She qualified for a trip to the Class AAA track and field state meet in Albany, Ga., on May 3.
"I couldn't believe it. It was such an amazing feeling," Smith said. "My junior year I just missed it because I got third place at region. So ever since then I decided I was going to state this year."
Smith didn't place at the state meet with her 3,200-meter time of 15:05, but Collins said the fact that a Lady Bulldog represented Harlem at the state level is progress in itself.
"We want to try to use this as a building block for our program," he said. "Maybe others will see this and want to get involved in track."
Director's Cup update
Lakeside High School, the defending county champs in the Dodge Director's Cup, took a big leap up the Director's Cup standings with last week's boys golf state championship. Lakeside will finish the year with 350 Director's Cup points, which currently puts them at seventh place in the state.
However, the final points total won't be enough for Lakeside to keep the county title. With a state semifinals appearance from the boys soccer team, the Greenbrier athletics program clinched a Columbia County Director's Cup Championship.
Greenbrier, even without points from the baseball team, currently holds 370 Director's Cup points and sits in fourth place in Class AAAA. That ranking could improve depending on how the Greenbrier baseball team does.
Evans, with the baseball team still playing, currently sits in a tie for 32nd place with 130 points.
A story last Sunday about the Augusta Christian track team's state championship incorrectly listed the length of Calyssa Lawyer's first-place long jump. Her winning jump covered 16 feet, 10.5 inches.
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