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Heathwood Halls Girls Win SCISA AAA Track Title Behind State Record Performances Of Gomez, Conyers, & David (Combined For 87 points), Top Point Producer Was Talented Hammond 7th Grader Bayli Aiken Who Produced 38 Points For Her Team

Heathwood Halls Girls Win SCISA AAA Track Title Behind State Record Performances Of Gomez, Conyers, & David  (Combined For 87 points), Top Point Producer Was Talented Hammond 7th Grader Bayli Aiken Who Produced 38 Points For Her Team  

By Billy G. Baker

Publisher

Charleston—The Heathwood Hall girl’s track team won their third AAA state track title in four years on May, 1 at the Porter-Gaud track led by two of the top athletes at all levels of the sport in South Carolina, Madelyn Gomez, earning 32.5 points for the Highlanders, while teammate Aly Conyers contributed 30.50 points as the team scored 144 points to win in dominating fashion.

Porter-Gaud was second in AAA with 116 points. Wilson Hall earned third place honors (66.50), while Ashley Hall (52) placed fourth and Hammond rounded out the top five (42) as Bayli Aiken produced 38 points for the Skyhawks, most of any AAA female performer at the meet.

The Highlanders have been coached for the past 16 years by Willis Ware and the 2021 track title was his sixth girl’s title while he has been at Heathwood Hall. “Freshman Madelyn Gomez had an awesome day winning the 1600 (5:10.72) the 800 (2:21.34). and the 3200 (11:22.81), and she also ran a leg on the winning 4X100 relay team (4:14.85),” said Coach Ware.

“Right behind Madelyn today is senior Aly Conyers, (set two state records at the meet) and right now she has the fastest time in the state in the 400 (public or private schools) with a time of 54.00 and today she won the event with a time of 56.60,” said Coach Ware. “Aly also won the 200 (24.81), finished second in the 100 (12.30), and she has signed a track scholarship with the University of California at Berkeley.”

Conyers has been named the 2021 HSSR-SCISA Miss Track in South Carolina for her excellence in setting two state records at the meet.  Coach Ware is the 2021 HSSR-SCISA AAA Girl’s track Coach of the Year.  

“If this is not the best all-around team, I’ve had the honor of coaching in my tenue at Heathwood, it is a close second, but I would have to go back and look at all the performances of our six state championship teams to be sure,” said Coach Ware. “It is certainly the only team that I’ve ever had with two performers having the best results in two events from all schools in the state public and private. The sky is the limit for both Madelyn and Aly and they have national times in both of their events. What they have accomplished is simply phenomenal.

“We are losing five seniors today who scored points so we salute each of them for a great job and right off the bat we will needing to find new performers to step up and help replace the 30.5 points we got from Aly Conyers today,” said Coach Ware. “We are losing one of our captains, Catherine Barron, who scored points today, but over-all we have a young team with numerous performers returning next year that should be able to keep our program competing at a high level.”

The Heathwood girls qualified 22 performers for the state track meet and they used their depth to build points throughout the meet.  Another top performer for Heathwood Hall was sophomore Gabby David who won the long jump with a leap of 18.06.00, over two feet beyond the second- place finisher. “Her jump earlier in the season of 18.07.75 is also the best broad jump of any female athlete, public or private schools, anywhere in South Carolina so we are very proud of that accomplishment,” said Coach Ware.  

The other gold medal winner for HH was senior captain Jamie Hicks in the high jump with a clearance of 5.00. She also finished in sixth place in the 400 hurdles. The HH 4x800 relay took first place honors led Reston Wood, Madeline Hurst, Catherine Barton and Hanna Coetsee.

David & Conyers were interviewed by the HSSR after the meet. All three performers have lofty goals on their bucket list before they complete their track careers, both in high school and at the next level. “My future goals over the next two years of my high school experience is to make steady improvement and stay healthy,” said David. “My goal is to jump 20- feet by the end of my senior year and earn a D-1 track scholarship. I stay positive through the encouragement I receive from my coaches and teammates at Heathwood Hall. In our track program everyone feels like they are a part of one big family.” David’s long jump is considered the 9th best broad jump for a sophomore in the nation this far this season.

David’s top five college programs of interest to her right now include: Georgia Tech, University of South Carolina, University of Georgia, Louisiana State University and Southern California.

Conyers, who performs with long painted glamour looking nails, including a heavy dose of blue eye shadow around her eyes, said, “I like to paint my long nails and wear make-up around my eyes to get me in the right mind-set and it helps keep me keeps focused on competing at a high level,” said Conyers who looked like she might be getting ready for the Prom after the meet. “I also feel like it intimates my competition a little.”

Conyers, who is committed to a track scholarship to USC-Berkeley in California, said qualifying for the NCAA’s indoor and outdoor track events is a big goal during her freshman season. “Competing in California has always been a dream of mine so when I got the offer, I got really excited,” she said. “My favorite events are the 400 and the 200 and setting state records in those events today had been a goal of mine.  I just started running the 100 this season and I got second in that event and I was just trying my best to help get the team points.”

Conyers moved to Columbia and joined the track program at Heathwood Hall two years ago, when her family moved from Washington, D.C. She has improved a full second in the 400 over the past year. “In track you compete both as an individual, and for your team, and the excitement of winning a championship, and earning that ring, and enjoying the moment when your teammates are cheering for you, makes me go even harder,” said Conyers with a lot of confidence in her voice. “The experience of winning a state title truly can’t be duplicated or matched. I’ll remember this day for the rest of my life and I can’t wait to text my new college coaches at USC-Berkeley about our state championship today.”

     

Aiken, just a 7th grader at Hammond, was the top points producer at the AAA girl’s state track meet and she has a ton of blue sky in front of her track career. She took first place honors in the 100- meters (12.22), first place in the 100- meter hurdles (16.09), and first place in the 400- meter hurdles (1:08:44). Aiken took a second place in the 200-meter dash (15.67) to conclude her outstanding day with 38 points. Aiken has earned HSSR-SCISA AAA Female Track Athlete of the Year honors for the 2021 season for her top points production at the meet.

Other first place finishes in AAA included cardinal Newman Erin Albert’s 34-11.00 gold medal winning triple jump. Emy Keogh of Porter-Gaud took top honors in the Shot Put with a winning heave of 33.05.00. Ginger Arnold and Keogh enjoyed a 1-2 sweep in the discus for the Lady Cyclones with Arnold grabbing gold with a heave of 98-04 while Keogh was at 89-01.50.  Arnold also won the Javelin heave with a 109-08 effort. Emmy Sobich took gold in the pole vault with a clearance of 10.00.00.  

All first- place finishers at the state meet earn 2021 HSSR-SCISA all-state track status from the HSSR. A banquet for Spring sports all-state performers will be help in late June at Seawells in Columbia.

Rounding out the top 10 AAA teams at the met were Cardinal Newman, Ben Lippen, Augusta Christian, Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate, and Pinewood Prep.

Larry Salley, the athletic director at Porter-Gaud, and three- time HSSR-SCISA Track Coach of the Year in South Carolina did an outstanding job directing the meet and keeping events on schedule.  Former USC football stand-out Phillip Logan, and his wife, came from Atlanta to score the meet and they did an outstanding job keeping things moving also.  


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