The Next Level: SSHS’ hopes for a state qualifier rest mainly with distance runners

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

April 27, 2008 - DENTON - The SSHS hopes for a state track and field qualifier rests on some thin, but more than adequate, shoulders.

Senior distance runner Tate Ramirez, the Wildcats' top hope to emerge from the Class 4A, Region II Track and Field Meet and qualify for state, is set to compete in the 1,600-meter run at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Fouts Field on the University of North Texas campus.

Ramirez and fellow miler Ross Hicks, along with senior discus thrower Jamal Freeman, sophomore long jumper Bryant "Day Day" Jackson and freshman distance runner Megan Massey were the final SSHS athletes with a chance to qualify for state today by finishing in the top two in their respective events.

Friday's slate of running preliminaries and some field event finals left the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats with some near misses as far as placing in several events.

The best the Wildcats could do was senior Rodney Evans' seventh-place finish in the shot put. Evans, who was competing in his third straight regional meet, threw 51 feet, 7 1/2 inches, which was less than two inches away from a sixth-place finish.

In the boys triple jump, Jackson had a disappointing outing when he scratched on all three of his attempts though he was getting out over 44 feet, and sophomore pole vaulter Garrett Ferguson no-heighted.

Senior high jumper Kaylon Page cleared 6-2, but couldn't crack the top six. North Lamar's Qualon Fort and Justin Collard placed 1-2 in the event after they both cleared 6-8.

The Wildcats had hoped to get a few of their runners to the finals, but were unable to. Sophomore 300-meter hurdler Shane McQueen barely missed out on being in the finals after he ran 40.08 in that race. McQueen also ran in the 110 hurdles, finishing in 15.2.

In the distance events, sophomore Dylan Rutherford ran a 2:06 in the 800, and senior Tyler Wilson and junior Ross Hicks both competed in the 3,200, with Wilson finishing in 10:32, and Hicks coming in at 10:40.

The boys 4x100-meter relay of Darrell Franklin, Lemarcus Kendricks, Tyrik Rollison and Daqualin "Boo" Evans clocked a 44.2, but didn't advance to the finals. The 4x200 relay of Jayden Wallace, Ryan Young, Kendricks and Evans competed, as well as the 4x400 relay of Tylan Harris, Jackson, Shane McQueen and Anthony Mills.

Jackson ran the 400 in 52.3 and Kendricks competed in the 200, but neither advanced to the finals.

For the girls, Massey ran the 3,200 meters in 13:42, and she will come back today to compete in the 1,600, an event in which she set a school record of 5:47 last week.

Sulphur Springs also had two girls relay teams competing. The 4x200 team of Ashanti Ivery, Stephanie Conley, Bradyn Burney and Delandria Pryor ran a time of 1:51.8, but were not able to advance to the finals. The 4x400 team of Ivery, Conley, Alyssa Burney and Frankeisha Hawkins clocked a time of 4:27.2.

Today's running finals was scheduled to start at 2:20 p.m.

Notes - The winning throw in the boys shot put came from Michael Carter Jr. of Red Oak (61-0). Carter is the son of former Olympian and NFL player Michael Carter, who set the national shot put record while he was in high school of 81-3 1/4. ... Garry Williams of Texas High placed sixth in the shot. ... Lindale's Caleb Strickland was fourth in the pole vault (13-6).

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