For Cumby, Miller Grove, Yantis, Sulphur Bluff, and North Hopkins, this upcoming meet was almost not. If the UIL had not relaxed their intentions to cancel the regional track meets these local athletes would not be sweating. With the reinstatement of the Region III-A track meet came changes to the location. The meet host will be Palestine ISD instead of Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.
“Our kids will run their best times at regionals, I have no doubts-they will perform,” Gary Parrish, Cumby head track coach said in an earlier statement.
Cumby Trojan Timmy Cook has qualified for regional competition in both the 800- and 400-meter runs. In District 17-1A, Cook placed second clocking a 2:16.50 in the 800-meter run and fourth in the 400-meter with 55.18.
Representing the Cumby Lady Trojans will be Savanah Neal in the 300-meter hurdles and triple jump, and Laura Oviedo will run in the 200-meter run and both the long and triple jump field events. Running in four legs of the girls' mile relay from Cumby will be Courtney Salinas, Neal, Ashley Anderson, Oviedo, and alternate Valerie Partridge.
Lady Trojan sophomores Neal, Oviedo, and Anderson are returning to regionals for a second year. At area hosted by Collinsville, Neal placed third in the 300-meter, 50.71; in the 200-meter run, Oviedo had a second place time of 27.04; the 1,600-meter relay team ran a time of 4:26.59 for third; Oviedo was second in the triple jump, 32-7 and third in the long jump with a distance of 15-7.5; Neal placed third in the triple jump, 32-7.
Miller Grove Hornet high jumper Andrew Steele cleared 5-8 at the area meet in Hawkins to qualify with his fourth place finish. “The area meet well for Andrew. He has not had much time to get on the track and practice,” Miller Grove coach Gary Billingsley, recently said. “He jumped 5-10 in the eighth grade as well as last year. Hopefully, he can get to that level at the regional meet. He has gained about 15 pounds this year so it is a little different jumping with the added weight, he has added from the weight room.”
Yantis regional trackster Amanda McKinney qualified with a time of 18.03 in the 100-meter hurdles at the area meet. She will face Cumby's Neal along with others from Region III.
“We are excited about the fact that regionals are approaching but due to Amanda being sick we have not got to practice in the last two weeks,” Yantis head track coach Jennifer Payne mentioned. “So we are just going to go to regionals and do our best. Just making it to regionals is a huge accomplishment, and I am proud of her.”
“Practice has gone well despite the setback,” said Sulphur Bluff athletic director and head track coach Charles Wright. “The boys have continued to work hard, when it would have been easy to have a let down. I'm proud of them and Lord willing they will perform well this weekend.” At Sulphur Bluff, long distance runner Everett Wilder, pole vaulter Dylan Horn, and 800-meter runner Trey Henderson will be returning to regionals again.
“Everett (Wilder) has an excellent chance to make it out of regionals in both the 3,200-meter and 1,600-meter runs. He has improved significantly from last year's sixth place finish at state in the 3,200-meter run, improving his personal best in the 3,200-meter last year by 21 seconds from a 10:25 to a 10:04 which he ran at Winona several weeks ago, and at the same meet he ran another personal best in the 1,600-meter run, running a 4:40. Everett is a senior and has worked very hard over the last four years, and Lord willing things will work out so that he can compete at the state meet, and have a great chance to win in both of his events,” said Wright.
In the 800-meter run Henderson finished fourth at area in Hawkins with clocking 2:10.94. “This year Dylan (Horn) cleared 11-0 in Hawkins at the area meet, and has actually cleared 12-0 in practice which will hopefully transfer over to this weekend's meet. Dylan is definitely an underdog at the regional meet, but he has great potential and hopefully things will go his way Friday when he jumps,” added coach Wright.
North Hopkins will be supporting two long distance runners in both long distance events, representing the Panthers-Erick Perez and the Lady Panthers-Haley Flanagan, at regional competition. “Both kids really come out and work hard-all of our kids do,” said Tim Menke, North Hopkins athletic director and head track coach. Menke has emphasized the competition between Wilder of Sulphur Bluff and Perez. The two went first and second in the 3,200-meter run at the area contest, and first and fourth in the 1,600-meter run. Perez was all-state in cross country this year.
Perez finished second in the 3,200-meter run with 11:02.44 and fourth in the 1,600-meter run with 5:05.83 at district. Perez finished with faster times at the area meet in Hawkins. He won second, 10:56.82 in the 3,200-meter and fourth in 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:04.
Flanagan will be taking on both long distance events at the regional track meet in Palestine this weekend. Flanagan placed third in the 3,200-meter run at district with a time of 13:42.55 and earned fourth with a time of 6:15.47 in the 1,600-meter run. At area in Hawkins, Flanagan also placed third clocking 13:32 in the 3,200-meter and finished 6:15 minutes in the 1,600-meter run for fourth.
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