Academy standout shines at state

Published 11:48 am Friday, May 5, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – She was an eyelash away from a championship.

LaGrange Academy’s Haliah Stargell, after a stellar showing at the region competition where she had three first-place finishes, was looking to make a strong showing at the GISA state track meet in Albany.

She made it happen.

Stargell competed inthree events, and she finished ninth or better in all of them, and that included a second-place finish in the 400-meter run.

Stargell finished less than half a second behind Vivian Heinz of First Presbyterian Christian in the 400.

Stargell crossed the finish line with a time of 1:02.65, while Heinz took the top spot in 1:02.27.

Stargell also finished sixth in the 200-meter run with a time of 28.93, and Amaiya Jackson (27.02) of Windsor Academy was first.

In the long jump, Stargell was ninth with an effort of 15 feet, one inch.

It was an impressive performance by the freshman, and she enjoyed the experience.

“It was pretty fun. I had a good time,” Stargell said. “Getting ready for it was tough, but I had a fun time going to state.”

In the 400, Stargell had the sixth fastest time during the preliminary heat, and she and Heinz were separated by a number of lanes in the finals.

“I was in a higher lane than her,” Stargell said. “I was in front of her most of the race. During the race, I remember seeing her, and when we were coming out the curve, she was out there. I was trying to catch her, but I didn’t have enough time.”

Although it was a tight finish, Stargell was aware she’d come up just short.

“I knew I came in second,” she said.

At the Region 1-AA competition, Stargell didn’t have to settle for second.

Stargell won the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, and the long jump.

Stargell won the 100 with a time of 14.37, she claimed the top spot in the 200 with a time of 29.36, and her effort of 14 feet was good for first place in the long jump.

Stargell, who also plays basketball and softball at LaGrange Academy, said she would like to compete in track and field in college one day.

“I really want to take this to the next level, run in college,” she said. “That’s something I really want to do.”