|Lady Panthers run away with team track title|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
April 7, 2004 -- FARMERSVILLE -- The North Hopkins girls already had the team championship in hand when it came down to the final event Monday at the District 18-1A track and field meet, but that didn't stop them from putting it further out of reach.
The 4x400-meter relay team members all won multiple gold medals Monday, including in the final event, as North Hopkins ran away with the team title with 189 points.
As a result, the Lady Panthers will send 10 girls to the area meet in 13 different events. Cumby and Yantis will also send one of their relays and one individual to area, which will be contested April 14 at Rice.
North Hopkins freshman Ebbonye Johnson and senior Mary Casey each won three gold medals, senior Hope Harber and Kate Hollenshead won a pair of golds, and Sara Weir and Katy Williams each took first in an event as the Lady Panthers outscored second-place Boles by 69 points.
"The mile relay is what we really want to do well in," said Harber, who also won the discus. "That's our favorite event. It's mainly the thing we can make to state and win if we do our best. It's our best event out of everything."
The Lady Panthers finished in a season-best 4:20.2 without being challenged the on the final two legs, which were ran by Casey and Hollenshead. Casey had just finished winning the 1,600-meter run in a time of 5:28.5, then turned around and ran a solid split in the relay, which is the next event. Hollenshead ran the final leg with a 150-meter spread between her and second-place Boles.
Hollenshead, who qualified for state in two events last year, won the 800-meter run in 2:34.6, followed by teammate Rosa Fuentes in 2:42.5, Yantis' Esther Fernandez in fourth at 2:50.5, and NH's Kara Mannis in sixth.
That was one of three distance events which the Lady Panthers dominated. Casey, Hollenshead and Sabra Thomas finished 1-2-3 in the 3,200, with Casey running a 12:11.1, Hollenshead a 12:25.5 and Thomas a 12:39.3.
Casey then came back to take the 1,600 in 5:28.5, followed by Thomas in second at 5:46.9, and Rosa Fuentes in fourth at 6:03.0. Cumby's Karen Lacy placed sixth.
Johnson, meanwhile, won both the 200 (26.96), with teammate Chancey Harber in fifth at 29.78, and the 400 in a season-best 60.67, with teammate Hope Harber in fourth at 69.43. Johnson will also be going to area in the long jump after placing second with a 15-6 effort and the high jump (third at 4-8). Hope Harber was fourth in the high jump at 4-4, while her younger sister, Chancey, was fifth in the long jump and Yantis' Jamie Snider was sixth.
Weir will also be competing at area in multiple events after she won the 300 hurdles in a time of 52.11, followed in second by Chancey Harber at 53.74. Yantis' Esther Fernandez was fifth in 54.6, and NH's Rosa Fuentes was sixth in 57.91.
Weir also took third in the 100 hurdles in a time of 19.31, and placed fifth in the triple jump (28-3), while Chancey Harber was sixth (27-6). Weir, Hope Harber, Nancy Castro and Thomas finished fourth in the 800 relay in a time of 2:01.5.
NH's Katy Williams won the shot put with a throw of 39-0 and ran a leg on the 4x100 relay which finished sixth.
Cumby's Megan Strickland will be going to regional after finishing second in the high jump with a leap of 4-8. She also ran on the 4x100 relay team which placed second in 55.85 seconds, and finished fifth in the 100 in 13.78 seconds.
Cumby's Katy Huddleston finished fifth in the 400 in 75.13.
Yantis' Jennifer McCreight took fifth in the discus with a throw of 74-7, and the Lady Owls' 1,600 relay team finished fourth in 4:51.7