COMO — As the saying goes you could hear a pin drop-as the shock of Wednesday's announcement made by the UIL on the altering of the upcoming track schedule due to the swine flu-was made.
“I have to say I wasn't surprised by the announcement,” Como-Pickton Eagles head track coach Greg Roller said Wednesday. “But I admit that I don't agree with how the UIL is taking athletes to state.”
For some just like with death, many are mourning the end of a track season and a track career. “It would have been nice to have the experience (that regionals offers) for my young team,” stated Roller. “Dustin (Flowers), our senior, took the news the hardest.” So many students and coaches across Texas share his disappointment.
In fact as of Thursday morning reports that UIL is reconsidering the initial plans made that called for the cancellation of the regional track meets and extending the state meet, allowing for only the top four of each event to qualify to a shortened version of regionals at Austin.
The next few days should bring the situation more to light for all those involved. “It is really hard on my seniors who are winding down their year,” Green added. “I like many others have bombarded UIL with emails trying to get them to consider other options, such as delaying the meet a week and seeing what may happen…but selfishly, I am also very disappointed, I want to see all of my kids get the chance to perform.”
First Thoughts on the Regional Track Meet
“The goal is to get in the finals,” said Coach Roller. “We need to drop our time close to five seconds (referencing the mile relay team). Trevor (Cagle) will have to run a 50. These guys are young and just haven't been to many meets.”
In previous meets this year, the 1,600-meter relay was composed of Angel Mercado as first leg, followed by Seth Sturgill, Hunter Cooksey, and Trevor Cagle as the final leg, alternates included Even Tellez, Hunter Cain, and Dustin Flowers. Roller will use his discretion on what order they will run at regionals, (if it is allowed by UIL). “Next year we will set our goal at 3:26. We will have to work.”
At the District 13-2A track meet, this relay team qualified with a second place time of 5:00.19 just behind Lone Oak. Hunter Cain placed fourth in the 3,200-meter run at district in Grand Saline with a time of 10:54.65. Cagle cleared the crossbar with a height of 5-6 in high jump earning fourth and teammate Seth Sturgill placed fifth (places determined by misses) with 5-6 height in the same event.
“My goal for Trevor (Cagle) is for him to get to the finals,” continued Roller. “I think it is do-able. I am very proud of the dedication this group of guys has shown. They are really starting to realize how fun track can be.” Cagle advanced from district with his silver medal time of 53.0 in the 400-meter run.
Roller had planned on taking sophomore Angel Mercado, sophomore Seth Sturgill, junior Hunter Cooksey, freshman Trevor Cagle, sophomore Hunter Cain, and senior Dustin Flowers to the regional competition (Tellez had prior obligations).
The Eagles trekked last Friday for regional qualifiers to White Oak, long-time hosts of this meet. “I think this helped us get over our nervousness. The regional qualifiers meet is a time to run against really, really good competition. It is a chance to compete, which is what it is all about,” Roller added. “I expect for us to be good.”
The Como-Pickton Lady Eagles are represented by seniors discus thrower Maci Kight and pole vaulter Deanna Garrett along with freshman distance runner Alondra Alonso (competing in 800-meter and 3,200-meter runs).
“All have a great chance of doing well-however with everything, no matter the event, each year is different,” said C-P Lady Eagles head track coach Virginia Green. “There are no clear cut predictions to be made on anyone. They will all be challenged, and I know compete at their best level.”
Garrett participated at the regional qualifiers meet at Frisco Friday clearing 10-6 in contest following other pole vaulters from Plano West, Rockwall, Argyle, Centennial, Midlothian, Plano East, Wylie, and Hallsville. She tied for eighth place. In 2008, Garrett placed fifth at the state meet with a cleared height of 10-0. First place went to Madison Gattis of Hawkins with a vault of 11-3. Hawkins moved to the 1A Conference, making Gattis a non-issue for Garrett. Jessie Gibbs of Tuscola Jim Ned set the Conference 2A record in 2007 at 12-3.
Kight and Alonso went to Pittsburg for the regional qualifiers meet on Thursday. “Regional qualifiers is only a practice-very informal,” said Green. “These girls competed well.” Green has chosen to take Manon Schakel and Breanna Peoples as alternates in the regional competition.
At the District 13-2A track meet, Alondra Alonso placed second in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 13:44 and third in the 800-meter run clocking 2:43.43; Maci Kight was third in discus with a throw of 96-5; Deanna Garrett won first in the pole vault event clearing a height of 11-6; Manon Schakel was fourth in the triple jump with 33-1 and Breanna Peoples was fourth in the long jump gaining 16-4.
According to the initial UIL statement on the swine flu announcement, a list of regional qualifiers was set to be released on Wednesday, May 6. Most area athletes will continue to train as before with the final outcome still undetermined. And emotions will also continue to surge.
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