It was the perfect ending for Anna Davis’ stellar career at Tallulah Falls, as she wrapped up her time as a Lady Indian with a pair of state championships in the Class 1A Private State Meet. White County senior Rachel Gearing also made the most of her finale at state with multiple podium finishes, including PRs in two events. Both tied in voting for BLITZ Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
For Davis, it was a dream come true, but also the culmination of years of hard work and dedication, and some perseverance. Davis took the 100 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles state titles, the only in Tallulah Falls girls track and field history.
For Gearing, a Penn State University commit, her four region championships paved the way for a strong showing at state. Gearing posted a PR in the 400 meter, posting a 56.07, good for 4A State Runner-Up. Her 39-8 in the triple jump resulted in a third place finish, also a PR. Her long jump (17-7) netted a fifth place finish and her 4:00 4×400 relay time gave her a sixth place finish as well.
While neither time for Davis in the finals was a personal best (her area time in the 300 was a PR), she still managed to take down anyone in her way. Her 100 meter hurdle area runner-up finish clocked in at a 15.30. She shaved off nearly a third of a second in her state championship run (15.05). To add to her unforgettable weekend, she set a new PR in the long jump, earning a fourth place finish at state.
Our panel of 18 voters, made up of media reporters/broadcasters, former BLITZ players, former coaches and a couple of fans, submitted their Heisman-style ballots for the five finalists for the award:
HISTORY OF TRACK & FIELD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Davis is the first Tallulah Falls girl to win the T&F Athlete of the Year award and second overall (Zatrick Pearce won the boys T&F award in 2017). The award has only twice before gone to a senior, as Davis and Gearing become the first seniors to win this award since Rabun’s Sally Woerner in 2014. For Gearing, it’s a two-peat, meaning she’s the third athlete to win it twice (Jenna Gearing & Madalyn Walters).
2018 – Anna Davis – Tallulah Falls SR Hurdles/Jump &
Rachel Gearing – White County SR Jump/Sprint Relay
2017 – Rachel Gearing – White County JR Jump/Sprint/Relay
2016 – Kate Massey – Commerce SO Distance
2015 – Jenna Gearing – White County JR Distance
2014 – Sally Woerner – Rabun County SR Hurdles/Throw/Relay
2013 – Jenna Gearing – White County FR Distance
2012 – Jessie Dotson – White County SR Distance
2011 – Madalyn Walters – Dawson County JR Distance
2010 – Madalyn Walters – Dawson County SO Distance
LOOKING AHEAD – THE NEXT FAVORITE(S)
Interestingly enough, of the five finalists, three have now been Athlete of the Year at least once with Davis, Gearing (twice) and Commerce’s Kate Massey. All three move on, as will finalist Perryn Morgan (Rabun) and Allison Smith (Banks). This finalist group was comprised of all seniors. Next year’s front-runners might be Frankie Muldoon (Dawson) and Jaelen Alexander (White), both distance runners. This award has gone to a distance runner six of nine years.