Powered by the herculean effort from Brittany Kelly, Northeast High girls’ track team captured the Class AAA team state championship, edging out Dobyns-Bennett Thursday night on the campus of Middle Tennessee State during Spring Fling.
Kelly accounted for 40 individual points, capturing a staggering four state championships this past week, to help her team keep Dobyns-Bennett at bay down the stretch of the running finals Thursday night.
“People keep asking me what am I feeding these girls,” Northeast coach Christina Webb said. “I tell them hard work. That’s what these girls do every day, all spring. They work hard for each other and their school and their city. I’m so proud that they can see the fruits of all that hard work.”
Northeast’s state championship is the school’s first in any team sport. And its the first time in the city’s history any track team has won a state title, boys or girls. Rossview’s girls finished runner-up in 3A in 2005 while Kenwood boys took second overall the next year.
“They’re going to remember this,” Webb added. “They’re going to remember what they did (Thursday) night.”
And no one will forget what Kelly was able to do. She captured her first state championship Monday, taking the girls’ pentathlon title. She followed that Thursday morning with a state championship in the long jump after a jump of 18-feet, three inches. Her next event came Thursday evening with the 100 hurdles. Kelly took that title in a time of 14.67 seconds and then got the double by claiming the 300 hurdles state title in a time of 44.60.
“It was motivation that drove me this year,” Kelly said. “I knew what I did wrong at state the previous years and I used that to gain experience. I’m really excited about this year for our team and for myself and my sister, but I’m going to keep pushing forward.”
Kelly is the first track athlete from the city to win four individual state titles in one state meet, and this is the third straight year that the city of Clarksville has produced an individual state champion.
Kelly’s 40 individual points were a huge plus for the Lady Eagles in capturing a team title but, Northeast got contributions from others as well. Kelly’s sister Briana – who recently signed with Austin Peay – earned her own state championship in the high jump with a leap of five feet, six inches. That was good enough for 10 team points.
Meanwhile Sonja White picked up a fourth-place finish in the girls 200 meter dash and Northeast got more points in the 4×400-meter relay that took fourth. Both places were worth five points each.
“When we calculated it, we figured we’d have to win with around 63 points,” Webb said.
Northeast would win with 61 points, 10 points better than Dobyns Bennett.
“Everyone had to contribute and everyone did,” Webb said. “It was a total team effort.”
Other area athletes on the girls side competed Thursday as well. West Creek Taylor Pressley took fifth in the high jump. Clarksville High’s Shauntelle Medley took 12th in the 100 meter dash while Northwest’s Joanna Elmore took 15th in the 800. West Creek’s girls took ninth in the 4×100 relay. Rossview’s Jemiah Harrison took 15th in the shot put. Northwest’s Keya Ross took ninth in the triple jump.
On the boys side, the track finals will be Friday. But Kenwood’s Justin Young finished fourth in the pole vault finals Thursday while Clarksville’s Bailey Plaster took seven in the event.