North Hopkins Ebbonye Johnson takes five medals at Class A, Region III track and field meet
From Staff Reports

May 1, 2005 - NACOGDOCHES - From Ebbonye Johnson's virtuoso performance to a pair of gold medals from Kate Hollenshead to Esther Fernandez's winning race, Hopkins County had a field day at the Class A, Region III track and field meet at Stephen F. Austin State University over the weekend.

When the rain had cleared and the meet was over, six county tracksters had secured trips to the state meet to compete in 11 events. The top two in each event at region advance to the state meet, May 13-14 at the Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus in Austin.

The most eye-popping performance came from North Hopkins sophomore Ebbonye Johnson, who won three gold medals and two silvers to qualify for state in the maximum five events. She personally scored 46 points as the Lady Panthers ran away to their second straight regional championship with 106 points.

"Not a bad little weekend," said NH head coach Tim Menke, whose teams have won seven regional cross country championships and two regional track titles. "Ebbonye had a great performance. Between competing in five events and being on the medal stand five times, she hardly had a chance to warm up between events."

Her teammate, senior Kate Hollenshead also was a multiple medal winner, as she placed first in both the 3,200-meter run and the 1,600. Sophomore Sabra Thomas came back from a disappointing third-place finish in the 3,200 to get second in the metric mile.

NH junior Katy Williams also won gold in the shot put to advance.

Yantis' Esther Fernandez, who was competing in two events, cemented her spot at the state meet with a winning performance in the 800-meter run, and Saltillo sophomore Chloe Roberts came away with a second-place medal in the high jump.

Things didn't start so promising for North Hopkins in the first event of the meet, the 3,200-meter run. Hollenshead won, as expected, in 12 minutes, 29.84 seconds. Thomas was in second place, but was edged at the tape by Centerville's Ashley Rogers. Thomas finished third in 12:37.06, just 1/100th of a second behind Rogers.

North Hopkins junior Rosa Fuentes was fourth in a time of 12:45.42.

"Thomas didn't know the other girl was there, and she kind of slacked off, and she was beaten right at the finish line," Menke said. "That was a bad start, but it got better."

Thomas, who competed in both the 1,600 and 3,200 at state last year as a freshman, got redemption in the mile later in the meet when she finished second behind Hollenshead. Freshman Jessi Mannis was third in the race with a time of 5:49.67, and Miller Grove's Stormy Combs placed 10th in a time of 6:17.35.

As great as Johnson was during the meet, her first event was almost a disaster. In the high jump - the same event she placed second last year at state and had cleared 5-5 earlier this season - it took her three tries to clear 4-10. She then was the only jumper to go over 5-0 to win the event.

Saltillo's Chloe Roberts was one of four jumpers to clear 4-10, and she claimed second place by virtue of fewer misses at the previous height.

"It was a bad day for jumping," Menke said. "The runway was slick. It rained part of the day, and we had a three-hour delay due to lightning and rain."

That was about the only thing that slowed her down all day.

Johnson won the 400 in a time of 1:00.29, just a quarter of a second off her best time of the year, and took first in the 200 in a clocking of 26.76. She was also second in the 100-meter dash (12.92) and the long jump (16-8 1/2).

Menke said she showed a lot of guts, especially in her final two races - the 400 and 200.

"In the 400, she was second coming into the straightaway, and the freshman from Boles (Sarah Duran) pulled up even with her. That made Ebbonye run harder and she ended up catching the girl from Harleton (Kydia Echols) and passing her at the tape," Menke explained.

In the 200, Johnson was in fourth halfway through the race, then turned it on to win the race by 2/100ths of a second over Tenaha's Cierra Beatriz.

In the 800, Yantis' Esther Fernandez emerged from a tightly-grouped pack to win the race in 2:31.72, while NH's Mannis was fifth in 2:35.30.

Fernandez also placed fifth in the 300-meter hurdles.

North Hopkins' Katy Williams made it an even half-dozen tracksters from Hopkins County who advanced to state when she won the shot put with a throw of 38 feet, 1 inch. She and Goodrich's Adrian McGowan were the only two throwers to go over 36 feet.

Williams also placed fourth in the discus with a throw of 98-11.

Class A, Region III

at Stephen F. Austin State University

(Hopkins County results)

GIRLS

High jump - 1. Ebbonye Johnson, North Hopkins, 5-0; 2. Chloe Roberts, Saltillo, 4-10; 3. Mandy Beecham, Big Sandy, 4-10; 4. Aja Brunner, Melissa, 4-10; 5. Kayla Clemmons, Roxton, 4-10; 6. Tara Davis, Mount Enterprise, 4-8.

Long jump - 1. Tiffany Hawkins, Hubbard, 17-9; 2. Ebbonye Johnson, 16-8 1/2; 3. Jordan Vannatta, Valley Mills, 16-1; 4. Kydia Echols, Harleton, 15-9 1/4; 5. Amanda Wilson, Valley Mills, 15-4; 6. Ashley Ross, Oakwood, 15-2 3/4.

Shot put - 1. Katy Williams, North Hopkins, 38-1; 2. Adrian McGowan, Goodrich, 37-9 1/2; 3. Valerie Hallmark, Meridian, 35-11 1/2; 4. Natasha Proctor, Harleton, 34-4 3/4; 5. Susana Armas, Carlisle, 33-6 1/2; 6. Erica Vara, Walnut Springs, 32-4 1/2.

Discus - 1. Misty Patt, Detroit, 122-1; 2. Rachel Price, Union Hill, 107-5; 3. Susana Armas, Carlisle, 99-2; 4. Katy Williams, North Hopkins, 98-11; 5. Megan Cook, Overton, 98-2; 6. Kayle Weaver, Aquilla, 96-5.

3,200-meter run - 1. Kate Hollenshead, North Hopkins, 12:29.84; 2. Ashley Rogers, Centerville, 12:37.05; 3. Sabra Thomas, North Hopkins, 12:37.06; 4. Rosa Fuentes, North Hopkins, 12:45.42; 5. Megan Clark, Bland, 12:57.45; 6. Courtney Lyons, Harleton, 13:33.37.

800 - 1. Esther Fernandez, Yantis, 2:31.72; 2. Felicia Prince, McLeod, 2:33.03; 3. Michelle Diaz, Axtell, 2:33.83; 4. Daisy Pineda, Penelope, 2:33.98; 5. Jessi Mannis, North Hopkins, 2:35.30; 6. Camille Blount, Joaquin, 2:35.46.

100-1. Vanity Darty, Big Sandy, 12.49; 2. Ebbonye Johnson, North Hopkins, 12.92; 3. Cierra Betriz, Tenaha, 13.00; 4. Jordan Vannatta, Valley Mills, 13.24; 5. Sarah Duran, Boles, 13.27; 6. Marquita Moore, McLeod, 13.29.

400 - 1. Ebbonye Johnson, North Hopkins, 1:00.29; 2. Kydia Echols, Harleton, 1:00.40; 3. Sarah Duran, Boles, 1:00.92; 4. Jacey Moran, Rice, 1:03.07; 5. Cierra Person, Bloomburg, 1:04.24; 6. Lenae Boykin, Meridian, 1:05.84.

300 hurdles - 1. Tiffany Creel, Mount Enterprise, 48.64; 2. Jessica Gleason, Neches, 49.69; 3. Lauren Gatlin, Harleton, 50.60; 4. Haley Thedford, Rice, 50.62; 5. Esther Fernandez, Yantis, 52.74; 6. Amber Sheppard, Cayuga, 54.06.

200 - 1. Ebbonye Johnson, North Hopkins, 26.76; 2. Cierra Beatriz, Tenaha, 26.78; 3. Britnee Simmons, Martinsville, 27.16; 4. Brittany Martin, Rice, 27.30; 5. Marquita Moore, McLeod, 27.35; 6. Sarah Duran, Boles, 27.66.

1,600 - 1. Kate Hollenshead, North Hopkins, 5:36.35; 2. Sabra Thomas, North Hopkins, 5:41.59; 3. Jessi Mannis, North Hopkins, 5:49.67; 4. Megan Clark, Bland, 5:55.37; 5. Lyndia Johnson, Cayuga, 5:59.84; 6. Ashley Rogers, Centerville, 6:01.44.

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