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Dynamic duo

Hartselle High School’s Quanesha Burks, right, and Ashton Pennington collected four gold medals at the State Track & Field Meet—Burks three and Pennington one. | Clif Knight

Burks, Pennington win four state titles

Two members of Hartselle High School’s girls track and field team struck gold at the Class 5A State Track & Field Meet in Gulf Shores.

Sophomore sensation Quanesha Burks captured three golds and a silver medal in the four events she entered and junior Ashton Pennington beat out two other competitors in a hard-fought battle to claim a gold medal in javelin throw.

“This was my third trip to state but I was still looking for my first gold medal,” Burks said. “Another thing was another girl was seeded first ahead of me in the 100 meters. That motivated me.”

“My goal was to make it to the top position on the winners’ podium” she added. “It really felt good to be up there to receive my medals.”

“I was beginning to think it was never going to happen,” said Pennington. “I was nervous the first two times I competed. at state. This time I felt relaxed and confident. My third time turned out to be my charm and my sixth throw was the winner. Making it to the top showed me that hard work does pay off,”

Burks clocked 12.19 in the 100-meter race to defeat Scottsboro’s A.J. McQueen who ran the distance in 12.35. She won the 200-meter race by out-pacing Amanda Dean of Mortimer Jordan 25.74 to 26.49, and jumped 18-9.25 to win the long jump over St. Paul’s Lacey Dent who jumped 18-05.5. All three events were held on Saturday.

Pennington’s gold-medal winning javelin throw covered 120 feet, 8 inches.

First second and third place winners each received a gold, silver or bronze metal and the team winners received trophies.

“I’m excited for them,” said head coach Kenny Lopez. “They all did well. All four are outstanding athletes as well as being good all-around students.”

The girls team compiled 48 points and finished fourth in team standings and the boys team came in 30th.

“I’m excited about the future of our track and field program,” he added. “Hopefully, it will continue to grow. If we can add a few athletes to our girls team, I think it has a great change to get on the winner’s podium next year.”

In addition, Jordan Frazier won sixth place in the 110-meter hurdles and eighth grader Johnathan Duncan finished ninth in the 3,200-meter run and came in 15th in the 800-meter run.

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