The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

Speedy Strides: NC hosts Track and Field regionals

Ivan Mendoza
Nationally-ranked No. 37 and No. 4 in the state, junior Keira Beaumont takes the lead as NC hosted their fourth track meet in two years on both April 17 and 19. As schools around Cobb County battled each other for a spot in sectionals, the NC track team brought their best and placed among the various events. As NC senior athletes showcased their abilities for one of the last time, the growing track program looks forward to a bright future.

April 17 and 19, NC hosted a regional competition where various Cobb County schools and students fought for first place in their respective categories. As head coach Chad Talley announced events and assistant coach John Huff cheered his team on, NC runners felt determined for their upcoming activities. From thrilling long jump events to intense meter runs, NC athletes tried their best to outrace opponents and represent their school during regionals. 

“It takes a lot of work [to set up an event like this]. We have 18 events and we have six schools so we try to spread everyone out between boys and girls. It takes weeks and weeks of preparation. It [Hosting meets] definitely helps us with our home meets. Before last year, we had not held a home meet in eight years so this would be our fourth in two years. Every year after covid, track is becoming more and more popular. The better that we are, the more popular it becomes and the future looks really bright,” Tally said. 

As gray clouds hovered above the NC football field April 17, the GHSA 7A regionals started with field events such as high jumps, pole vaults and shot puts. Sophomore Carlos Lopez-Ledbetter obtained second place in the Boys Long Jump with a mark of 22-10, followed by sophomore Jesumatosan Odiase in sixth place and junior Derren Chapman in 10th place. The girls participated in both the long jump and triple jump events, and junior Audrey Ward made her school proud by securing first place in the Girl’s High Jump; Magnet senior Kortlyn Riley also received fifth place with a mark of 31-0.50 in the Girls Triple Jump

Senior Shea Thiewes used his precision and agility to win first place in the Boy’s Pole Vault, followed by junior Riley Kennard in fifth place. NC athletes in the Girls Pole Vault charged along a runway and jumped over a horizontal bar, resulting in magnet senior Kate Kunst earning sixth place with freshman Sanah Gangu at seventh and junior Gabi Haigh at eighth. Although senior Soleil Smith performed solo in the Girls Shot Put finals, she performed excellently and secured ninth place with a mark of 27-6.50

Magnet senior Ndiya Onuoha prepared herself for the first running event of the day, as she would run the first leg for the Girls’ 4×800 Meter Relay. After the starter shot his gun up in the air, Onuoha sprinted around the NC football field with a gold baton fiercely gripped in her hand. As Walton’s first leg ran in front of her with Cherokee charging behind her, Onuoha kept her energy as she ran two laps and passed the baton to freshman Emma Wells. After Wells passed the baton to magnet senior Isabel Baxter, Cherokee athletes began to catch up with NC runners; by the time freshman Jordan Homier received the baton for the fourth leg, Cherokee and Walton led the race. Even though the NC athletes maintained their determination throughout the event, NC ended up in third place with a time of 11:08.99

Whether or not NC athletes marked highly for their events, every athlete showcased diligence and hardship during their runs. While NC athletes secured fifth place in the Boys 4×800 Relay, magnet senior Lois Mwenja, seniors Eliana Mbadinga and Alexia James, and junior Syncere Daniels impressively placed first in the Girls 4×200 Meter Relay.

For the Boys 4×200 Meter Relay, seniors Josiah Alexander and Zion Bryan successfully collaborated with sophomores Sebastian Easley and Cameron Owens and earned second place.  

“Because it’s my senior year and it’s my last regular season track race, it is kind of everything I’ve been working towards the past four years and it’s all coming together. I really just wanna have fun today and savor it all because this is my last ‘real’ track meet, so this is nostalgic,” Baxter said.

On Friday, the NC track team looked to place in their final events on the last day of regionals. Magnet senior Laibon Gitonga showcased his excellence in the hurdle events and placed second in the Boy’s 110 Meter Hurdles Finals and fourth in the Boy’s 300 Meter Hurdles. The Girls 4×100 Meter Relay, Mwenja, Mbadinga, James and Daniels repeated their results on the previous day and placed first in the event as well. The girls continued to dominate the relays with Daniels, Mwenja, senior Ruqayya Reed and junior Lyric Montgomery-Porter earning second place in the Girls 4×400 Meter Relay. Mwenja individually exhibited her skills in the Girls 400 Meter event, placing second. In the field events, sophomore Carlos Lopez-Ledbetter placed third in the Boys Triple Jump, reaching 43-11.50 meters.

“For the 110 hurdles, I was feeling really nervous beforehand. I was feeling a little weak that day but I showed up, got on the starting line and just did the best I could and I’m happy with that event. For the 300 hurdles, I definitely would have gotten third but I just tripped on that last one so for practicing, I’m just gonna work on endurance and keeping my form. I’m just really excited to go to sectionals in the first place and I know a lot of people wanted to be there but couldn’t and I’m gonna run for all my friends whose seasons are over,” Gitonga said. 

The junior Olympian Jasmine Robinson represented the NC track team strongly and placed first in multiple events. In the 100-meter and 300-meter Hurdle Finals, she ran over three seconds faster than her opponents. For the Girls 200 Meter Dash Finals, Robinson timed at 23.81 seconds to earn the top spot at first place. The esteemed sophomore placed first in Girls Long Jump Finals, jumping 18-3 meters. 

The Chant wishes the NC track and field team good luck ahead of their sectionals held at McEachern High School May 4. NC students and families can purchase tickets for the event on GoFan for $8.00. For the 2024 graduating seniors, The Chant also wishes them the best on their collegiate journey. 


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About the Contributors
Ivan Mendoza
Ivan Mendoza, Page Editor
Ivan Mendoza is a senior at NC and has been a part of The Chant staff since 2022. Since his adolescence, he always pursued reading and writing and felt that The Chant provided the perfect outlet for him to write about whatever he wanted. From music reviews to thorough investigations to award-winning documentaries, Mendoza is not afraid to expose his thoughts and opinions on the world around him. Whenever he’s not writing for The Chant, Mendoza is either filming a video, biking or wasting his entire paycheck on amazing novels, memoirs or superb vinyls. Find him on Instagram at @ivans.interludes.  
Rose Ordonio
Rose Ordonio, Page Editor
Rose Ordonio, a senior at NC, is a returning member of The Chant. She hopes to continue writing about developing topics around the world, showcase her opinions and get involved in the Kennesaw community. She enjoys plants and is involved in NC's environmental clubs. Outside of school, she loves watching her favorite dramas, going out with her friends, and watching games from her hometown baseball team: the Atlanta Braves. Ordonio plans to study public relations in college and pursue journalism.    

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