Northcutt, Ramirez, Wilson and Evans advance on first day of district meet

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

April 12, 2007 - MOUNT PLEASANT - Graham Northcutt cruised to a victory in the opening event of the District 11-4A track and field meet, as expected, on Wednesday. The Wildcats mixed in a couple of surprises as well.

Northcutt led Sulphur Springs' strong distance contingent to a 1-2-3 finish in the 3,200-meter run on the track at Sam Parker Field, with junior Tate Ramirez grabbing second, also as expected, and his cousin Tyler Wilson out-sprinting a Lindale competitor for third.

The top three places in each event qualify for regional, so the Wildcats will advance those three distance runner plus shot putter Rodney Evans, who once again surprised his coaches and competition with a third-place effort. It is the second straight year Evans had his best throw at district, qualifying him for the regional meet in two weeks at the University of North Texas.

The meet concludes today with the running of the track finals. It will begin at 4 p.m.

Coaches believed Northcutt and Ramirez would take the gold and silver in the metric two-mile, but didn't know if Wilson would be able to take third to complete the sweep. He did, though a Lindale runner broached his outer shoulder for the first half of the last lap.

Northcutt cruised the eight-lap race in 9 minutes, 59 seconds, with Ramirez in second at 10:17. Wilson broke away from the Lindale's Thomson to finish in 10:48, two seconds ahead of the fourth-place runner.

"I feel real good about what happened yesterday in the two-mile," said SSHS head coach Steve Hale. "I'm so proud of all of them, especially Tyler for hanging in there and working hard, probably being the underdog to get out."

Northcutt will be going for a distance sweep today when he lines up for the 1,600-meter run with Ramirez. Senior Kasie Carrell will also be a favorite to win the 800 and medal in the metric mile.

In the field events, Evans again came through with a strong performance at district, throwing the shot 47 feet, 9 1/2 inches to place third. Coaches had thought senior Demarcus Johnson had the best shot to medal in the event, but he was fourth, just 1/2-inch behind Evans.

"There's Rodney again, two years in a row finding a way to get it done in a clutch situation," Hale said. "I'm happy for him, but disappointed for Demarcus. It's too bad they didn't both qualify."

In the long jump, SSHS senior Jeff Pitts placed sixth with a 20-6 effort. But, Pitts' best events are today. He qualified in both the 100-meter dash and the 200, plus he will run the anchor leg on the 4x200 relay.

"I feel real good about Jeff in both races," Hale said. "It's so tight between third and sixth, that it's anybody's race. Hopefully by not jumping today and feeling fresh, he'll have a chance to get out."

The 4x200 team also has a chance with Pitts, Daymon Nash, Chris Thompson and Daqualin "Boo" Evans running. Evans is also in the finals of the 200.

Nash will be one of the favorites in the 110-meter hurdles. Last year at district, he was in the top three going over the sixth hurdle, when another runner's hurdle bounced into his lane and knocked him down. Nash also placed fifth in the high jump with a 5-10 effort.

Senior Jon Young will also be in both hurdle events today. On Wednesday, he placed sixth in the triple jump with a 39-5 leap.

"We had some surprises yesterday, and we had some disappointments," Hale said. "Hopefully, we'll get back at it today and get some good results."

The varsity boys are currently in third place with 44 points.

The JV boys were in first place after the field events and 3,200-meter run. Their results will be listed in a later edition.

Girls

The SSHS girls team, made up mostly of freshmen and sophomores, garnered six points but did not have anyone on Wednesday qualify for regional.

Senior Kristen McDonald took fourth in the high jump with a leap of 5-2, and freshman Karlie Junot was fifth in the 3,200 with a clocking of 14:00.

The Lady Cats' best chance to qualify someone for regional rests with half-miler Kelsey Evans, who placed third at district last year as a sophomore, and the relay teams.

The JV girls also scored six points. Their results will be listed in a later edition.

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