Wildcats track sends 13 athletes to regional meet
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

April 14, 2006 - MOUNT PLEASANT - Sulphur Springs knew it didn't have the depth to compete for a team championship Thursday at the District 12-4A track and field meet. So, coaches were focused on getting as many athletes as possible to the regional meet.

How does 13 athletes in 10 events sound?

Pretty good to the Wildcats, because that's what they accomplished.

Six boys, including Graham Northcutt and Kasie Carrell in two events apiece, and seven girls, with Kelsey Evans, Whitney Roland and Treshonda Green all going in two events, qualified for SSHS.

"That's a pretty good showing," said SSHS distance coach Andy Holt. "That's probably as good as the girls have done in a long, long time."

Last year, the Wildcats sent 12 athletes total to regional, and just two girls.

Northcutt won the 800-meter dash, followed closely by Carrell in second and freshman Dylan Rutherford in fourth, then Northcutt and Carrell came back to place second and third in the 1,600.

The Lady Cats had a district champion of their own as Bridgette Nash defended her title in the shot put with a throw of 39 feet, 5 1/4 inches - a distance she hit three times in six throws.

Also making it to regional for the Lady Cats was Evans, who placed second in the 800 in a time of 2:31.36, and ran third leg on the mile relay, which provided the girls with their most drama of the day.

With freshman Treshonda running first leg and senior Kaitlyn Black second, the Lady Cats were in a pack with three runners for third place when Evans handed off to Roland on anchor. Roland established herself in third place halfway through the lap, but the Greenville runner caught up to her with about 40 meters to go, and the two ran side-by-side to the tape.

It was so close that it went to the tape, and it showed Roland outleaning her rival at the tape in a time of 4:15.32.

The SSHS girls also placed third in the 4x200 relay to qualify for regional. Running a 1:47.02 were Green, Tanya Runion, Molly Smith and Roland.

For the boys, the most dramatic moment was a disappointment.

Daymon Nash, running in the 110-meter hurdles, had a hurdle from a Texas High hurdler in the next lane bounce into his lane and knock him down. It appeared the Texarkana runner was purposely hitting hurdles, and SSHS coaches appealed the race, but it did no good.

Nash, who had the fourth-best qualifying time, was among the leaders when he went down after the sixth hurdle.

By that time, Northcutt had already wrapped up his district title in the 800, running the two-lap race in a time of 1:59.88. Carrell closed strongly to finish second in 2:00.5, and Rutherford also ran a great last lap to finish in 2:05.16.

The trio smartly let two other runners lead through the first lap, then starting picking off their competitors over the final 300 meters.

Northcutt and Carrell came back to qualify in the metric mile as well, and Tate Ramirez - who was third in the 3,200 on Wednesday - placed fifth.

Paris senior Tyler Tyndell won the 1,600, with Northcutt second in a time of 4:33.64, followed by Carrell in 4:37.01 and Ramirez in 4:40.55.

That was a good ending to the day for the Wildcats after a good start.

Senior Jayden Spencer, who hadn't picked up his pole for a meet this year, vaulted 13-0 to place second behind Mount Pleasant's Cory Bradford, who cleared 15-0. Spencer cleared 12-6 without a miss.

At the same time, Kaylon Page was at the high jump, punching his ticket to regional. Page cleared 6-2 on his third and final attempt to secure third place.

The Wildcats had others who placed but didn't advance. Jose Vargas was fifth in the discus at 128-7, Daymon Nash was sixth in the high jump at 6-0, and Tim Phillips was sixth in the 110-meter hurdles with a 15.5 clocking, and Jeff Pitts placed sixth in the 100-meter dash. The mile relay team of Rutherford, Northcutt, Nash and Carrell came in fourth with a clocking of 5:34.57.

That added up to 85 1/2 points for the Wildcats, who finished fourth in the team standings.

There was drama there as well. Greenville edged out Texas High by a 1/2 point, 157 1/2 to 157 for the team title. At first, it was announced that Texas High had won, but the total had been misfigured and the team title was a few minutes later rightly awarded to Greenville.

Greenville also won the girls district championship for the seventh straight year with 164 points. SSHS finished fifth with 48 points, a 20-point improvement over last year.

Along with the regional qualifiers, other girls who placed a the meet included freshman Cecily Adams in the 1,600, who was fourth in a personal-best time of 6:17.37, and a fifth-place finish by the spring relay of Roland, Smith, Runion and Green.

Others who made the finals but didn't place included Talea Reynolds in the 100 hurdles, Shelby Elkin in the 300 hurdles and Smith in the 200.

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