|North Hopkins' Ebbonye Johnson wins two bronze medals at UIL state track meet|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
May 16, 2005 - AUSTIN - In a span of three hours on Saturday, North Hopkins' Ebbonye Johnson cleared the high jump bar five times, ran three races against the best girls the state had to offer and walked away from Mike Myers Stadium with a pair of bronze medals.
Not bad for a 15-year-old.
Johnson was the top Hopkins County performer at the UIL State Track and Field Meet last weekend, but not the only one by far.
Yantis junior Esther Fernandez ran a personal best time in placing fifth in the 800-meter dash, while North Hopkins distance runners Kate Hollenshead and Sabra Thomas finished fifth and eighth, respectively, in the 1,600, NH junior Katy Williams was sixth in the shot put, and Saltillo sophomore Chloe Roberts came in eighth in the high jump.
Johnson's medals were bookends - she placed third by clearing 5-4 in the high jump at noon in her first event, then came from behind to take third in the her last event, the 200-meter dash. In between, she was sixth in the 400 and eighth in the 100. She also placed sixth in the long jump on Friday.
With the temperature close to 90 degrees, and the humidity high after an early morning shower, Johnson was understandably drained at the end the day. But, it was in her last event that she showed why she qualified for the state meet in the maximum five events.
Running the 200-meter dash, she came out of the curve in about sixth place, then caught and passed two runners in the final 100 meters to get third in a personal best time of 26.12 seconds.
"I'm ready to sit down and relax for a little while," she said after receiving her bronze medal. "I felt like I had a bad start. I tried to stride out in the last 100, and I kept hearing Coach (Tim) Menke say, 'Use your arms.' I was trying to fight through the wind. There was a little wind blowing across."
The only event in which she did not score points was in the 100, where she ran an eighth-place time of 12.98 seconds. Prior to the race, she had to walk up the stairs of the stadium three times to check in after she had just completed 11 attempts in the high jump.
"She was a little frustrated after the 100," said Menke. "She had wanted to do better in the high jump, even though she placed third and went two inches higher than last year when she was second."
Johnson cleared 5-4, and twice missed tying her personal best of 5-5 when her heels clipped the bar on both of her first two attempts at that height.
But, she came back to run a strong 400 in a time of 61.31 seconds. She went out fast in Lane 1, making up the stagger on the two runners closest to her by the halfway point in the one-lap race, but the heat, wind and fatigue hit her in the final 150 meters.
That's what made her 200 race, just 40 minutes later, all the more impressive.
Running in her first state meet, Yantis junior Esther Fernandez not only ran a personal best time of 2:28.61 in the 800-meter run, she also placed fifth.
Fernandez showed off her strong kick by passing two runners in the final 100 meters.
She ran in sixth place for the first lap, crossing the line in 70 seconds, which was about her target goal. Then, she dropped a spot in the next 200, but she finished strong.
"This has been a great experience for this young lady," said coach Randy Phillips. "Her dedication to her running has been great and has
carried her to this top level of competition. Just a junior, we look forward to returning next year to compete for a state medal."
In the 1,600, two of the North Hopkins girls, senior Kate Hollenshead and sophomore Sabra Thomas, were competing. Hollenshead, a sixth-place finisher in the 800 a year ago and a fifth-place finisher in Friday's 3,200, and Thomas ran together for most of the four-lap race. Thomas placed fifth in the race last year.
All eight runners stayed closely bunched for the first three laps, with just three seconds separating first from eighth.
Hollenshead came across her first lap in 1:21 (fifth place), just a second ahead of Thomas. Then, they both finished their second lap in 2:50 and third lap in 4:18, where they were in seventh and eighth, but still within striking distance.
Over the final 300, Hollenshead made a move to situate herself in fifth place as the top four runners broke from the pack. She then held off a late charge by Harper's Brittany Tatsch to stay in fifth in a time of 5:36.28. Thomas finished eighth in 5:39.61.
North Hopkins junior Katy Williams moved up one spot on her final three throws in the shot put to capture sixth place with a distance of 35 feet, 6 1/4 inches.
She had hoped to throw over 40 feet to get a medal, but the third-place throw was almost 42 feet.
Saltillo's Chloe Roberts was also participating in her first state meet, and she cleared 4-10 in the high jump to place eighth.
Roberts cleared the opening height of 4-6 and 4-8 on her first attempts, and made 4-10 on her second try, but couldn't quite tie her personal best of 5-0 on her three attempts.
Notes - Two state meet records are still held by Hopkins County performers. The girls Class A record in the 800-meter relay is held by the 1979 Como-Pickton quartet of Lexie Simms, Annette Johnson, Katherine Wright and Janet Cagle. They ran a 1:43.3. The girls Class A 1,600-meter run record of 5:06.81 was set by North Hopkins' Tracie Akerhielm in 2000.
Other are performers who competed Saturday included:
Class 2A - Cooper's Kyle Thompson placed third in the high jump with a leap of 6-4, and fourth in the 110-meter hurdles in a time of 14.79. Cooper's Christin Nichols was third in the 100 in 12.46, while teammate Megan Walker was sixth in the 100 hurdles in 15.83 seconds. Quitman's Kevin Emmert placed fifth in the 1,600 in a time of 4:34.28, and his teammate Ashton Wells was eighth in the girls discus with a throw of 110-9.
High jump - 1. Elizabeth Mullins, Eden, 5-5; 2. Lindsey Clift, Gruver, 5-5; 3. Ebbonye Johnson, North Hopkins, 5-4; 4. Kandis Schroeder, Windthorst, 5-4; 5. Whiteny Williams, Port Aransas, 5-2; 6. Jessica Canales, Sunray, 5-0; 7. Courtney Frerich, Brackettville, 5-0; 8. Chloe Roberts, Saltillo, 4-10.
800 meters - 1. Kayla Warren, Sundown, 2:15.24; 2. Erin Britton, Whiteface, 2:19.08; 3. Chelsea Hermes, Lindsay, 2:22.71; 4. Breanna Tollett, Baird, 2:23.65; 5. Esther Fernandez, Yantis, 2:28.61; 6. Mandy O'Dell, Elkhart Slocum, 2:28.81; 7. Anne Daws, Evadale, 2:29.79; 8. Felicia Prince, McLeod, 2:35.39.
100 meters - 1. Ashely Malone, Hamlin, 12.28; 2. Jamilla Ward, Knox City, 12.34; 3. Vanity Darty, Big Sandy, 12.42; 4. Rachel Hobbs, Thrall, 12.53; 5. Katie Harthold, Valley View, 12.59; 6. Kourtney Johnson, Hale Center, 12.65; 7. Kayla Baca, Iola, 12.68; 8. Ebbonye Johnson, North Hopkins, 12.98.
400 meters - 1. Ty Green, Iraan, 57.87; 2. Kydia Echols, Harleton, 58.03; 3. Laci Norton, Albany, 58.20; 4. Megan Wright, Falls City, 58.47; 5. Ronique Anderson, Woodsboro, 59.65; 6. Ebbonye Johnson, North Hopkins, 1:01.31; 7. Raniel Bumpas, Sunray, 1:01.64; 8, Sophia Gutierrez, Knox City, 1:06.71.
Shot put - 1. Adree Lakey, Roby, 43-21/4; 2. Kiara Pulliam, Louise, 41-101/4; 3. Kendra Quincy, Ralls, 41-81/4; 4. Kelsey Richards, Cross Plains, 38-73/4; 5. Adrian McGowan, Goodrich, 37-81/4; 6. Katy Williams, North Hopkins, 36-51/4; 7. Ashely Malone, Hamlin, 36-01/2; 8. Kim Gilder, Colmesneil, 34-83/4.
200 meters - 1. Katie Barthold, Valley View, 25.34; 2, Rachel Hobbs, Thrall, 25.42; 3. Ebbonye Johnson, North Hopkins, 26.12; 4. Rebekah Melton, Milano, 26.16; 5. Amanda Alley, Crosbyton, 26.41; 6. Allie Gibson, Miles, 26.56; 7. Kourtney Johnson, Hale Center, 26.63; 8. Cierra Beatriz, Tenaha, 26.82.
1,600 meters - 1. Chelsea Hermes, Lindsay, 5:27.38; 2. Alexandra Reyna, Ralls, 5:27.45; 3. Lindsay Putnam, Ropesville Ropes, 5:27.70; 4. Halie Jacobs, Throckmorton, 5:34.99; 5. Kate Hollenshead, North Hopkins, 5:36.28; 6. Brittany Tatsch, Harper, 5:36.91; 7. Leslie McKown, Ben Bolt, 5:37.28; 8. Sabra Thomas, North Hopkins, 5:39.61.
Team: 1, Hamlin 68. 2, Crosbyton 52. 3, Falls City 48. 4, Hubbard 34. 5, Mount Enterprise 28. 6, Knox City 26. 7, Ralls 24. 8, Milano 22. 9, (tie) Roby and Muenster 20. 11, North Hopkins 19. 12, Windthorst 18. 13, Lindsay 16. 14, (tie) Valley View and Thrall 12. 16, (tie) Sundown, Eden, Albany and Iraan 10.