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Track and field: Forsyth collects 5 championships at state meet
South Forsyth sophomore Chris Nelson captured a state championship in the 200m finals Saturday at the Class 7A state meet, running a 21.42. Photo by Ben Hendren

West Forsyth senior Isaac Osifo went into the track and field season with the idea that anything other than a state championship in high jump would be a disappointment. 

“[When] I came into this, I couldn’t see myself going home without a state title,” Osifo said. “I’ve been training for this all season and last season, so I knew I was ready.” 

Osifo finally got to earn his state ring Saturday at the Class 7A track and field state championships at McEachern High School. Forsyth County won four additional state championships along with Osifo. 

Osifo said his only worry was his speed approaching the jump, but he did not expect to have a disadvantage competing against McEachern’s high jumper for the championship. 

“The crowd would get really into it when McEachern’s guy would land a jump, but it didn’t phase Isaac at all,” West head coach Clayton Tillery said. “He would just go and answer and then sit down. Very business-like out of Isaac.” 

Osifo added that it was his love for the sport that kept him level-headed on his way to the title. 

“My fuel has always been my love for the competition,” Osifo said. “I’ve always been like that. I love the fire and getting to compete for something I care about.” 

Alongside Osifo, Tyler Norr won the state championship in pole vaulting for West, reaching 15 feet. 

“We were really happy with pole vaulting,” Tillery said. “[Norr] is such a good kid and is so well conditioned.” 

South Forsyth also won two titles. Riley Jones took the girls pole vault title, reaching 12 feet on her first attempt. After South’s Chris Nelson was confusingly disqualified on the 100 meter prelim, he bounced back to win the 200 meter race, with a time of 21.42.

Nelson became the first Forsyth County athlete in GHSA history to win a sprinting event. 

Forsyth County accomplished another GHSA first after the 4x800 meter event was introduced as a state meet this season. 

Denmark head coach Andrew Hudson said he knew we would have a good group of athletes for the event that would immediately be able to compete for the title. 

“It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a long time,” Hudson said. “We knew we had a really good group of athletes and started to progress how I thought we would. We trained and tried to put races together. I felt like we had the perfect lineup to succeed in it. They’re just a phenomenal talent and work so hard. Can’t ask for more than that. ” 

Tavian Anderson, Ethan Ashley, Hayden Hare and Karthik Kochuparambil combined to win the race with a final time of 7:44.21. Anderson and Ashley both ran their personal best, with Anderson running a 1:57 and Ashley running a 1:55. Moss also ran a 1:57 and Kochuparambil led the pack with a 1:53. 

“We didn’t expect to have the lead that early, to be honest,” Anderson said. “We thought we would be behind and have to focus on closing speed, but it’s just a testament to how bad our guys wanted it.” 

Forsyth dominated the boys 4x800. Along with Denmark’s win, Lambert finished third with an overall time of 7:55.38 and West finished fifth with an overall time of 7:57.31. 

Ashley and Kochuparambil each finished third in their individual events. Kochuparambil ran the 800m in 1:56.07 and Ashley ran the 3200m in 9:10.06. Denmark also had Jessica Perriello run the girls 800m race, finishing sixth with a time of 2:20.77

Brandon Nyandoro almost set the West Forsyth school record in the 400m finals, finishing sixth with a time of 48.89. Nyandoro and Osifo teamed up alongside Bryce Allen and TJ Jennings as the 4x400m relay team that finished third in the state finals with a time of 3:18.19. 

West Forsyth also had Silvana Lopez-Ramirez finish third in girls pole vault at 11 feet and Bella Zorzoli finish sixth in high jump at 5 feet.  

Nelson’s twin brother, Josh Nelson, also qualified for the 200m finals, finishing fifth with a time of 21.82. Carmel Yonas had a big day for South as well, finishing sixth in the 1600m [5:10.13] and the 3200m [11:08.19].

Lambert had four athletes make it to the state finals in their respective events. Cooper Bocko finished fourth in the 1600m with a time of 4:23.51, Morgan Gore finished third in the girls discus at 117 feet 8 inches, Patrick Keenan finished sixth in the long jump [21 feet, 10 inches] and Salima Jabbie finished fifth in the 300m hurdles [46.40]. 

Lexie Durban represented North Forsyth in the finals, finishing fourth in shot put [38 feet, 6 inches] and Forsyth Central freshman Kieryn Jeter finished the girls 400m fifth, with a time of 57.27.