Making Up Ground: NH tracksters improve state standings in first two events
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

May 14, 2005 - AUSTIN - Kate Hollenshead and Ebbonye Johnson both battled through sickness and injury Friday in the debut races of their multi-event weekend at the UIL State Track and Field Meet.

In doing so, they actually placed higher than their qualifying standards would have suggested.

Hollenshead, a senior who is running in two distance races this weekend, battled through the effects of a lingering cold to place fifth in the 3,200-meter run Friday morning. Johnson, a sophomore who is competing

in the maximum five events, took sixth in the long jump despite a sprained ankle.

Both girls were competing again Saturday along with teammates Katy Williams in the shot put, Sabra Thomas in the 1,600-meter run, Yantis' Esther Fernandez in the 800, and Saltillo's Chloe Roberts in the high


Hollenshead went into the metric two-mile race with the sixth-fastest qualifying time, then placed fifth in the eight-lap race in a time of 12 minutes, 47.42 seconds. It was also on spot better than she placed

last year in the state 800-meter run.

Hollenshead, who was the individual state cross country champion in the fall, ran with the front group of four girls for the first three laps, but didn't have anything in the tank when they started pulling away.

"I felt pretty bad. It was like my legs were pretty dead because I hadn't been able to practice very good this week," she said after getting sick following the school's senior trip last weekend. "I've got all that congestion, and it felt like I was wheezing when I was running."

While her time was off her best mark of the season, she would have had to have ran well under 12 minutes to have won a medal.

"I tried," she said. "I think I came in ranked sixth, and I got fifth, so that's about right.

"I think I may have went out too fast on my first lap, and it pretty much drained most of my energy for the rest of the race."

She ran a 78-second first lap, which was faster than any other lap by at least 10 seconds. She came through the first mile in 5:55, and stayed solidly in fifth for the remainder of the race.

Alexandra Reyna of Ralls won the race in a time of 11:48.66.

"I could tell by the second lap that Kate wasn't running comfortably," said NHHS head track coach Tim Menke. "She ran as well as she could under the circumstances."

Hollenshead will race again today in the 1,600-meter run. She and Thomas, who was fifth in the same race last year as a freshman, are ranked seventh and eighth.

In the long jump, Johnson went into the event with the eighth-best qualifying jump, then placed sixth with a leap of 16 feet, 5 1/4 inches. She actually tied with Brittany Thomas of Wellington, but won the tie-breaker

which is the next-longest jump.

Johnson received treatment for a sprained ankle before the event, but still went out and jumped over 16 feet for the fourth consecutive meet. Even being completely healthy, it's doubtful she would have placed among the

top two as Hamlin's Ashely Malone leaped 18-5 and Hubbard's Tiffany Hawkins went 18-2.

Menke was hopeful the ankle won't give her trouble on Saturday as she competes in the high jump - where she won a silver medal last year as a freshman - along with the 100-meter dash, the 200 and the 400.

Several other area athletes placed at the state meet as well. They included:

Class 4A - Paris junior Tyler Tyndell placed sixth in the boys 3,200 with a time of 10:09.03. Greenville's LaQuinta Ross took fifth in the 200 with a clocking of 24.53, and was third in the triple jump with a distance of 39-3.

Class 3A -Chris Pearson of Mount Vernon was fourth in two races. He ran a time of 9:46.30 in the 3,200, then came back to clock a 4:25.54 in the 1,600. In the girls 3,200 race, Mineola's Meredith Blocker was fourth in 11:28.08. Emory's Leslie White cleared 6-5 to place fourth in the boys high jump. Gilmer's Manuel Johnson was a double winner in the long jump (24-1)

and the triple jump (47-6). Winnsboro's Blake Smedley placed fourth in the shot put with a throw of 54-5. Mount Vernon's Tim Monroe came in fifth in the 400 with a clocking of 50.19.

Class 2A - In the pole vault, Harmony's Dana Stribling, a former Como-Pickton student, was fifth with a leap of 13-6. In the 3,200, Quitman's Kevin

Emmert placed sixth with a time of 10:21.02.

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