A Track and Field Trifecta for Ebbonye Johnson
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

May 15, 2006 - AUSTIN - Ebbonye Johnson completed her full fashion ensemble on Saturday. She left Austin sporting gold, silver and bronze jewelry.

Johnson, a junior at North Hopkins, wrapped up a track and field trifecta at the UIL state meet on Saturday with three medals in three separate events.

She scored 24 points herself to lead the Lady Panthers to a fourth-place finish in Class A with 38 points, just two points out of the runner-up spot.

Johnson racked up the points by winning the high jump and placing third in the 200-meter dash on Saturday. That went with the second-place finish in the long jump on Friday. She was also eighth in the 400.

"I thought I had a good meet," she said at the end of her day at Mike A. Myers Stadium. "It's better for the team. We had 20 points yesterday, and we were tied with Hubbard, but they won the relays. It was a good meet for me and for the rest of the team."

Hubbard won the team title with 82 points, while Knox City and Lindsay tied for second with 40 points.

Also scoring for the Lady Panthers on Saturday was junior Sabra Thomas, who came in fifth in the 1,600. Teammate Jessi Mannis was seventh. Senior Katy Williams finished seventh and eighth in the shot put and discus, respectively.

And in the boys races, Saltillo's David Frew completed his whirlwind senior season with a fifth-place finish in the 100-meter dash.

Johnson made going up to the medal stand a habit.

She started the day with the high jump, an event in which she had placed second as a freshman and third as a junior. She cleared 5-3 without a miss, leaving just her, Chelsea Hermes of Lindsay and Laryssa Hise of Aspermont in the competition.

They all missed on their three attempts at 5-4, but Johnson won the event because she had not missed an attempt on her previous heights. However, the result was not official without some discussion.

At first, the official running the event said that Hermes would be allowed to jump at 5-3 after she had passed on that height originally. Hermes had to leave the high jump to run the 800-meter run (which she won), then upon returning decided to pass on 5-3.

Under the national rules, once a height has been passed, it cannot be re-attempted, and that was the conclusion finally reached by UIL meet officials. Thus, Johnson was first, Hise second because she had cleared 5-3, and Hermes third because she had cleared 5-2 then passed at 5-3.

Immediately after the high jump, Johnson ran the 400 meters in the 92-degree heat. She started off strong in Lane 7, but faded to eighth in a time of 1:02.71. Kayla Warren of Sundown won the event in 57.49.

Johnson also drew a poor lane assignment in the 200, running in Lane 8. She came out of the curve in fourth place, then picked off Carmen Herrera of Christoval to finish third in a time of 25.85. It was the best time of her career and the second straight third-place finish in the event at state.

Ashley Collier of Seagraves won the race in 25.31.

"I think I had a pretty good meet. I didn't do as well as I wanted to in the high jump, but I won. It took me a while to get over it, because it was disappointing," she said of the 5-3 height. She has jumped 5-6 four times this season.

Meanwhile, Frew stepped to the track to compete in the 100-meter dash. Running in only the fourth meet of his high school career, Frew got out of the blocks well and finished strong to come in fifth place in 11.08 seconds, edging three other runners, including McLeod's Josiah Thompkins, who were all within 6/100ths of a second.

"It seemed like I got out with the rest of the field, but I was just running," Frew said. "I just talked to Josiah the whole time before the race, trying to keep my nerves down the best I could. It affected me a little bit, but when the gun goes off, it all goes away."

Frew had never ran track before this year, but was able to score points at the state meet.

"I'm ecstatic for him," said Saltillo coach Garry Davison. "He kept getting better, and his times kept improving. You can't be disappointed when you run your best time at the state meet. "

Then, in the 1,600-meter run, the Lady Panthers' top two distance runners, Thomas and Mannis, returned to the track for their second races of the meet. Mannis earned a silver medal on Friday in the 3,200, and Thomas was fifth in that race.

In the 1,600, they both settled into the middle of the pack, with Mannis running fifth and Thomas sixth for most of the four-lap race. Then, over the final 400, Thomas moved up into fifth, finishing in a time of 5:41.52, while Mannis was seventh in 5:43.42.

Katy Williams competed in both the discus and the shot put, but wasn't able to place in either event. In the discus, she threw 102-9 to come in eight, and she tossed the shot 35-3 1/2 to place seventh.

Notes: The Class A girls 4x200 relay meet record, held for 27 years by Como-Pickton, was broken Saturday by Hubbard. In 1979, the C-P foursome of Lexie Simms, Annette Johnson, Katherine Wright and Janet Cagle ran it in 1:43.44. Hubbard clocked a new record in 1:43.06.

... It was one of eight new meet records set, including a national mark  in the boys 4x200 relay. Houston Eisenhower ran a time of 1:24.10 to eclipse the old mark by 2/100ths of a second. ... North Hopkins graduate Tracie Ackerhielm still holds the Class A 1,600-meter record of 5:06.81, set in 2000.

... Other area athletes who placed included Paris' Tyler Tyndell, sixth in the 3,200 (9:45.17); Greenville's Jordan Pitts, second in the 110 hurdles (14.15); and Greenville's 4x200 relay was fourth (1:26.30).

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