It will be local tracksters—Everett Wilder, Sulphur Bluff Class of 2009 salutatorian and Deanna Garrett, Como-Pickton Class of 2009 salutatorian—that will be making the almost 550 mile round trip to Austin to compete at the state track meet at Mike A. Myers stadium on June 5-6.
William Everett Wilder, son of Gina Wilder and Bill Wilder of the Nelta community had the second highest grade point average, and thus was named this year’s SBHS salutatorian. He also is the younger brother of Emily Wilder. As a Sulphur Bluff Bear long distance runner, Wilder will be competing in the 3,200-meter and 1,600-meter runs after his silver medal finishes at the Region III-1A track meet that was held at Palestine May 15-16. Wilder clocked an official finish of 10:20.29 in the 3,200-meter, just 4.59 seconds behind first (Logan Mynar of Kopperl) and 4:41.45 in the 1,600-meter run.“Since I’m missing graduation, UIL will be having a special graduation ceremony for those of us (seniors), who will be missing our own graduations. It will be at the Mike A. Myers stadium on the UT campus,” stated Wilder in a school interview. The UIL is providing this opportunity to athletes as a consolation for the time conflicts the rescheduled state track meet may have caused graduating seniors and as an honor for their accomplishments.
“This is the second year in a row that he (Wilder) has made it to state, and he will definitely be working hard…we are extremely proud of him,” Sulphur Bluff athletic director and head track coach Charles Wright recently said. Wright mentioned that the school is planning to video tape Wilder’s graduation speech so that he will still have involvement in the local ceremony.
“The race in Austin should be really exciting because the regional time of all of us (those competing in the 1,600-meter) are really close,” said Wilder.
“I am mainly trying to stay injury-free and rest,” added Wilder on his preparation for his upcoming events.
“Wilder has improved significantly from last year’s sixth place finish at state in the 3,200-meter, 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,” said Wright. “…he has worked very hard over the last four years, and Lord willing he will have a great chance to win in both of his events.” At the Eustace meet, Wilder brought home two silver medals.
In addition to track, Wilder went to state in cross country running three miles to place eighth with a time of 16:56.41. He has also received dual high school and college credit in government, economics and English classes. He competed academic UIL all four years in calculator applications. Wilder was a member of the Beta Club, should soon be achieving his Eagle Scout ranking in Boy Scouts of America, served as a regional FCCLA officer a few years ago, and was a member of Hopkins County High School Leadership Class.
Pursuing even more above ground adventures, Wilder has also been working with pilot instructor Rickey Morgan, logging numerous hours toward his pilot’s license.
After high school, Wilder plans to attend Stephen F. Austin University on an academic scholarship, majoring in aerospace and mathematics which should serve him well in the future as he begins pursuing a career as a commercial pilot, something he’s become interested in it and “because it’s fun.”
He said that Coach Charles Wright has been an especially influential person in his life because “he’s helped me out with running.”
Revised by UIL as of May 4, the 3,200-meter runs for first session: 2A, 4A, 1A (Wilder’s event—set for 9:40 a.m.), and 3A will begin at 8 a.m., Friday, June 5. On Saturday, June 6 at 2:55 p.m. will be the Boys 1,600-meter running event—Wilder’s final event for the state track meet.
Third time will hopefully be a charm for Como-Pickton Lady Eagles state veteran pole vaulter Deanna Garrett. In 2007, Garrett vaulted 9-9 at regional with an eighth place finish at state of 9-6. In 2008, she finished fifth clearing 10-0 at the state competition. This year Garrett vaulted a 10-6 for the second place spot at the Region II-2A track meet in Stephenville on May 15.“She is doing great, compared to last year,” said George Rodriguez, Director of the Elite Vaulter Sports Complex in Fort Worth and Garrett’s private coach. “She is vaulting one and half feet higher, is stronger and faster.” Garrett makes the road trip from Como to Fort Worth twice a week for training. “The last seven days until Monday she will be in a cycle with running in addition to her vaulting. She does pole runs (running the length of the pole vault runway),” he went on to explain. “She is as prepared as she can be. I don’t think she has jumped as high as she can—that will come at state.”
But this is not her first time at Austin this year, recently Garrett was given the opportunity to compete at the at the 2009 82nd Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays presented by State Farm held at the Mike A. Myers Stadium at the University of Texas. According to reports, she cleared 11-0 for fifth place.
“This was her first time to qualify, for girls—pole vaulters must clear 10-foot,” Meg Garrett, Deanna's mother and CPCISD employee, said earlier. “This gave her a chance to get a preview of state.” At the beginning of March, Garrett cleared 11-0, her personal best, at the meet in Hawkins.
As the CPHS salutatorian Deanna Garrett, daughter of Meg and Mark Garrett, plans to use the $16,000 freshman honors scholarship she was awarded by UTA, as well as the $2,000 Texas High School Top 10 Percent Scholarship and a $100 Como-Pickton PTO Little Dribblers Scholarship to earn a degree in psychology. She said she will attend UTA for four years then transfer to UT and continue her studies.
“I wanted to be a doctor since I was little. I thought for the longest time I wanted to be a pediatrician, but as I got older I discovered I like to analyze people and things,” Garrett said in a recent interview. She encourages others to strive for success by paying attention in class “and doing what the teacher tells you to do.”
Garrett is slated to compete in the pole vault event at noon on Friday, June 5 in Austin and then hopes to make it back in time to speak at the Como-Pickton graduation ceremony that evening at the Hopkins County Civic Center at 7:30 p.m.
“I expect that she will make it back from state in time. The state meet does not have as many competitors with only eight pole vaulters, so it should not take quite as long. State is run off by a schedule that is on time,” said Rodriquez.
The UIL state track and field track was rescheduled for the June 5-6 dates due to the swine flu altercations. “I think this upset many vaulters,” said Rodriquez in reference to the changes and delays. “Some (at district) only jump for place, not height, but I understand the expedience to execute the state meet. Canceling that would have been worse… (on the good side) we ended up with an extra month of track.”
At the Elite Vaulter Sports Complex, Garrett is able to train with convenience of being indoors with the same conditions (that can be created when large doors are opened) as being outdoors. “The Russians, that hold all the records, trained indoors,” Rodriquez stated. “I am looking forward to working with her (Garrett) at the summer camps we offer.”
Garrett, the co-recipient of the recent respected C-P Ron Heflin Fighting Heart award, uses the Essex brand pole vault pole for her competition. “This is the pole that works best for Deanna,” her coach mentioned. “I expect she will start at 10-6 and go from there.” The starting height for girls in the 2A classification is 7-6, increasing at 6 inch increments until four vaulters remain and thereafter three inch increments.
Besides participation all four years in athletics (volleyball, basketball, track) she hopes to continue to compete in pole vault events at UTA. Garrett also participated in the UIL One Act Play contest as a freshman, and was an All-American Cheerleader and varsity cheerleader for three years.
“My coach asked me if I wanted to go higher. My answer was simple, 'yes',” Deanna Garrett recently said. In 1998, Rodriquez introduced a pole vaulting club "Texas Pole Vault" which started developing pole vaulters of all ages, level and gender. For the past six years many of these vaulters have medaled at the Texas State Championship and both USATF and AAU National competitions.
Putting her lucky, colorful socks to good use, Garrett has already exceeded novice and gold levels to move beyond the highest level of elite in the club.
“She is a good teacher,” ended Rodriquez. “She will excel at whatever she sets her mind to do.”
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