May 14, 2010 8:34:00 AM
CALEDONIA -- Sarah Guess thought her track and field season would be finished by now.
Before the start of her sophomore campaign at Caledonia High School, Guess targeted reaching the Class 4A North Half State meet.
In her second year throwing the discus, she figured that would be an attainable goal.
Guess'' performance Saturday at the North Half State meet at Pontotoc forced her to re-assess her goals.
Guess, the only underclassman in the top six, finished second in the discus with a mark of 89 feet, 6 inches to qualify for the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A meet Saturday at Pearl.
Only Greenwood''s Ravyn Darby (96-0) and Raymond''s Janairrika Bland (107-7) have higher seeded marks than Guess entering the meet, so she has a strong chance at earning a medal.
That development would surprise Guess, who has consistently thrown in the 90-foot range in practice but never imagined she would get a chance to do it on the state''s biggest stage.
"This is amazing," Guess said. "Now I just have to push myself even harder."
Guess credited God for giving her the strength to do so well. She said she has trained hard to put herself in position to exceed her expectations.
Guess advanced to the Class 4A meet after finishing second at the Division 4, District meet (83-11) and third at the Region 2 meet (85-8).
She also finished third in the shot put at the district meet (29-6) and third at the Region 2 meet (33-6) before slipping to eighth (30-1/4) at the North Half State meet. She missed the top four places by two feet, nine inches.
Guess said her recent efforts have given her the confidence to know she can continue to close in on a bigger goal of reaching 120 feet.
"I plan to go higher and I plan to go to state each year now," Guess said. "I know I can do it. Next year, my goal is to get to the state meet in the shot put, too."
Caledonia High girls track and field coach James Reed praised Guess for her work ethic. He said she is one of the hardest workers on the team, and he feels that work will pay dividends Saturday.
"If she doesn''t go down there and burn out warming up, I am looking forward to her being on the podium," Reed said. "She should be in the top three."
Reed said Guess expects that kind of performance from herself in the classroom, too. He said he loves to coach athletes like Guess, who are motivated and willing to do what it takes to realize their potential.
"She is a straight A student," Reed said. "She wants to get the job done."
On Saturday, Guess will do her best to realize her new goal.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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