Wright comes in second, Green fourth at state
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
May 15, 2004 -- AUSTIN - A lean at the tape and a hundredth of a second. Those were the differences Friday for Sulphur Springs' Kendall Wright and Keelan Green at the UIL State Track and Field Meet.
Both Wright, a senior hurdler, and Green, a junior sprinter, battled a tightly-bunched pack of runners in their events to come away with satsifying performances.
Wright won a silver medal in the 110-meter high hurdles by making up four places over the last two hurdles. With a late burst in the final 10 meters, he placed second in a time of 14.53, edging out LaMarque's Andre Hilton who had the same time, and regional champion Chad Leath of Henderson who was 1/100th of a second behind.
In the 100-meter dash, Green got off to a good start and placed fourth in a photo finish that had FW Southwest's Josef Cooper in third at 10.72, Green a fraction behind him in 10.73, and Texas City's Whitney Provost in fifth at 10.74.
"Both guys did great," said SSHS head track coach Robert Wallace. "We knew both races would be tight, and they did a great job of running all the way to the tape. At state, it just comes down to a fraction of a second."
Both runners have improbable success stories.
Wright finished fourth at district last year and didn't even qualify for regional. This year, he not only won district, he placed second at regional and won the silver at state. He also set a school record in the event (13.91)
Less than a month before the district meet, Green wasn't even running the 100 - he was in the 200 and two relays. However, he showed Coach Wallace in one meet that he could be one of the best sprinters in the state, and he fulfilled that potential on Friday. Green also set the school record in the event at 10.52.
On Friday, the pair ran in back-to-back events during the 2A and 4A day.
Wright, who usually has a great start, was last out of the blocks. He leaned in anticipation, then had to hold as the gun went off.
With the slow start, he was last over the third hurdle, pulled up to sixth with two hurdles to go, and then used his late speed to catch everyone but North Crowley's Lance Moss, who won the event in a time of 14.09.
"With Kendall, he's always best to the first two or three hurdles and he's best over the last hurdle and to the finish," Wallace said. "But, he had a bad start and was probably fourth or fifth over the last hurdle. He just went by them. It helps to have that kind of explosion.
"He did good. That's a way to finish off your senior year."
Wright said he didn't even know what place he had until the results were posted. He was in lane 1, Hilton was in lane 4 and Leath in lane 8, so he didn't have a feel for where they were at the tape.
"When I looked to the side over that last hurdle, I was in fourth," he explained. "The last two hurdles is when I caught everyone. Before that, I think I was last or next-to-last."
Green, on the other hand, got off to a good start in the 100 and ran in a tightly-bunched group all the way to the finish line. With Beaumont Central's Ivory Williams, the defending state champion, and Greenville's Bradley Reed, who had posted the fastest time in the state this year, in the race, it would have taken an extraordinary effort to get in the top two.
Williams successfully defended his state title with a time of 10.33, while Reed was second in 10.43. They were clearly in the lead, then came a line of runners all leaning at the tape.
"It came down to the wire. That's about it," Green said. "I ran pretty good. I could have had a little better start, but overall, I did all right. It was better than my usual start, but it could have been a little better.
"I was just trying to stay with them. It just came down to the end, and he had a better lean than I did. That's what it came down to."
Green had the sixth-best qualifying time, so Wallace was pleased that he placed so well as a junior.
"Last year, we had a kid get third (Jeromy Donahue in the 300-meter hurdles)," Wallace said. "This year, we got a second-place and have two kids here. Next year is Keelan's turn to get first, and maybe we'll bring more kids here.
"Now he knows what to expect. He didn't even know how many people he would be running in front of. Then, to come out here and get fourth is pretty darn good."
Notes: Wright forgot to pack his uniform, so Green lent him his. They had to quickly change after Wright's race because Green's was next on the agenda. ...The state track meet wraps up on Saturday with the running of the 1A, 3A and 5A races. Five North Hopkins athletes will be competing on Saturday. They are: freshman Ebbonye Johson in the high jump at noon; junior Kate Hollenshead in the 800-meter run at 12:30 p.m.; senior William Johnson in the 400-meter dash at 2:10 p.m.; and senior Mary Casey and freshman Sabra Thomas in the 1,600-meter run at 3:05 p.m. ...Lancaster won both the boys and girls 4A team titles. The Lancaster boys scored 79 points and the girls 87 points. No other team was within 40 points of either.