Advancement: SSHS has 11 individuals, 5 relays qualify for regional track

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

April 10, 2008 - MOUNT PLEASANT - The SSHS track team wasn't able to unseat Texas High for the District 11-4A championship on Wednesday, but they did the next best thing - qualifying a total of 11 boys and girls in individual events and five relay teams to the regional meet in two weeks.

Along with the eight athletes who qualified in various events on Monday, the first day of the district meet, the Wildcats had senior miler Tate Ramirez and junior Ross Hicks qualify in their second events, hurdler Shane McQueen advance in two races, 400-meter runner Bryant Jackson qualify in his third individual event, half-miler Dylan Rutherford advance, and freshman Megan Massey place third in the metric mile.

In addition, all three of the boys relay teams placed in the top three to advance, and two of the girls relays qualified for the Class 4A, Region II meet at Fouts Field in Denton on April 25-26.

Boys

The Wildcats racked up 180 points, but came in second to Texas High's 210 after the Tigers won all three relays and came in first and second in three other individual races.

"It was a great day for the Wildcats," said head coach Jeff Riordan. "We scored 180 points, which is a lot of points to get second. Our kids went out and competed and went way above the expectations I had for them, and Texas High's kids competed well, too."

The highlight for the Wildcats on Wednesday was having a breakout performance from Jackson in the quarter mile, getting a second gold-medal performance from Ramirez, and having all three relays advance.

Ramirez, who won the 3,200-meter run on Monday, came back to dominate the 1,600, coasting in with a time of 4:34.34, more than 17 seconds ahead of second place. Teammate Ross Hicks took third in 4:48.99.

Sophomore Bryant Jackson, who qualified in both the triple jump and long jump on the meet's first day, came back to take second in the 400-meter dash in a time of 51.57 seconds and ran a leg on the second-place 4x400 relay along with Shane McQueen, Anthony Mills and freshman Irvin Anderson (who was also sixth in the 400).

That put Jackson in the regional meet in four events, and classmate McQueen will be going in three events after placing third in both the 110-meter hurdles (16.09) and 300 hurdles (39.39). Jackson was fourth in the 110s, while junior Johnny McSheffery was fifth. McSheffery added a fourth place finish in the 300 hurdles, and Kaylon Page was sixth.

Junior distance runner Dylan Rutherford, who has been plagued with injuries since setting school records in middle school, was an inspirational runner, using a late burst to place third in the 800-meter run in a time of 2:04.38, his fastest of the year. Finishing right behind him was Tyler Wilson (2:05.10), while Mills was fifth.

In the sprints, junior Ryan Young placed fifth in the 100-meter dash (11.33), while three SSHS runners placed in the 200: Daqualin "Boo" Evans was fourth, Lemarcus Kendricks fifth and Chris Thompson sixth. All four of the sprinters will be competing at regional in the relays.

The 4x100 relay team of Darrell Franklin, Young, Tyrik Rollison and Evans took third (43.27), and the 4x200 team of Thompson, Kendricks, Young and Evans was second (1:31.82).

The Wildcats will be taking 17 athletes who qualified for regional, five alternates and six others who finished fourth in their individual events to a qualifiers' meet in Eustace next Thursday.

Girls

The SSHS girls' meet was highlighted by Massey's third-place performance and the qualifying of two relays.

The Lady Cats scored 65 points, which is the most in five years.

"The girls had a great day," said coach Matt Young. "We had a goal as a varsity to score 70 points, and the varsity ended up with 65. We took a lot of girls and ran really well."

Massey, a freshman who had never ran distance before this season, ran a strong second half of the 1,600 to place third in 6:01.34, which is just five seconds off the school record. Classmate Julie Hromcik was fourth in 6:12.47.

Massey had placed fourth in the 3,200 on Monday.

Senior Kelsey Evans was just a half-step away from qualifying in the 800-meter dash, as she placed fourth in 2:31.51, just 1/10th of a second out of third place. But, she came back to run a strong anchor leg on the third-place 4x400 relay team which consisted of Ashanti Ivery, Stephanie Conley and Kara Tomlinson. They ran a time of 4:15.23.

The 4x200 relay placed second in 1:53.11 after dropping the baton on the third exchange.

The 4x100 relay team barely missed qualifying after placing fourth. The quartet of Ivery, Conley, freshman Bradyn Burney and Delandria Pryor ran their fastest time of the year (51.10 seconds), and were just 8/10ths of a second out of third place.

The Lady Cats had a good showing from their freshmen crew. In addition to Massey and Hromcik in the 1,600, Tomlinson ran on the mile relay, Jalie Eppars ran on the 800 relay and Burney placed sixth in the 100-meter dash (13.33 seconds).

They will be taking two individuals, two relays and four alternates to the qualifiers meet and the regional meet, giving SSHS more than 30 boys and girls advancing.

"It's a great experience when you can take 30 kids to a regional meet and get off the bus and have a great cheering section," Young said. " They can see what great qualifiers do and what it feels like to be at a big time meet."

Junior Varsity

Complete JV results were not available at press time, but will be in the weekend edition. The SSHS boys and girls both won their district championships.

The complete results from the varsity boys and girls meet,

which were not available immediately following the end of the meet Wednesday night, will also be in the weekend paper.

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