Wildcats sweep team championships at Henderson track meet, appear poised to challenge at district
By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor
March 28, 2008 - HENDERSON - The Sulphur Springs track coaches weren't sure how the Wildcats would run at Thursday's meet in Henderson because of the hard weight-lifting and offseason workouts they had been going through.
The coaches were pleasantly surprised when the SSHS varsity and JV boys both won their divisions in the six-team field that included district foes Mount Pleasant and Lindale.
"These guys have been working their tails off," said SSHS head coach Jeff Riordan. "For them to win the meet in both divisions and compete like they did is exciting because we worked them hard the day before.
"They were dead-legged, because we weren't worried about how they did at this meet - we want them ready for district. As hard as we've been hitting them running, I was really proud of them."
The JV boys placed in every event except for the 4x100 relay, which they won but were disqualified for a bad exchange. The varsity boys won four events by distance runners Ross Hicks and Tate Ramirez, hurdler Shane McQueen and discus thrower Colton Nash.
The SSHS girls, meanwhile, had gold medal performances from junior Delandria Pryor and senior Kelsey Evans and the best times of the season in two of the relays.
The Wildcats scored 174 points to out-distance Nacogdoches in second with 153 points. They did it with depth - in nine events they had multiple athletes score points.
Tops among them was McQueen, who won the 110-meter hurdles in a time of 15.92 seconds and was second in the 300 hurdles in 40.39. Bryant "Day Day" Jackson was second in the 110s (16.45), placed third in the triple jump at 42-1, and was sixth in the 400 (53.38).
They also both ran a leg on the 4x200 relay, along with Ben Barrows and Daqualin "Boo" Evans, in 1:32.98 to place third. Evans, Tyrik Rollison, Darrell Franklin and Lemarcus Kendricks clocked a season-best 43.59 in the 4x100 to take third as well.
The distance runners dominated as Hicks won the 3,200 in a time of 10:40.7 continuing his string of strong performances, while Tyler Wilson took third in 11:05.05. They both came back in the 1,600 to contribute to a sweep led by senior Tate Ramirez.
Ramirez, whose time of 4:29 last week in the metric mile is one of the top in the region, won the 1,600 in 4:34.3 at Henderson, followed by Wilson in second (4:48.3) and Hicks in third (4:49.2).
The Wildcats also swept the discus as Nash won the event with a throw of 133-3, Andrew Burton placed second in 129-3, and Rodney Evans was third at 121-9. Evans placed second in the shot put with a personal best throw of 51-3, while Nash was fourth at 45-1, his best throw of the year.
Senior Kaylon Page narrowly missed 6-4 in the high jump and settled for second place with a 6-2 leap. Chris Thompson placed sixth at 5-8. Meanwhile, in the long jump, Rollison placed sixth with a 19-0 jump.
In other running events, the Wildcats took fourth through sixth in the 800 with Anthony Mills (2:09.0), Dylan Rutherford (2:09.0) and Andy Ginn (2:11.48) finishing close together. Kendricks and Franklin were fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 100 meters. Boo Evans and Barrows took fourth (23.39) and fifth (23.71) in the 200.
This was the final meet before the District 11-4A contest on April 7 and 9 in Mount Pleasant.
"We were scoring points all over, and I think that's the strength of our team," Riordan said. "Everybody pulls their weight and pulls their points in their events, and that's how you win track meets. If everybody peaks and does what they can, we have a shot at knocking off T-High (at district)."
The JV boys scored in every event, led by winning performances from Ryan Young in the 100 and 200, Jamal Freeman in the discuss, Demontra Morris in the high jump and Preston Weaver in the 800. the Wildcats also won all three relays, though the sprint relay was later disqualified.
They ended up scoring 205 points, almost twice as many as second-place Nacogdoches with 118.
Young won the 100 in 11.40 and the 200 in 23.01. Freeman won the discus at 115-9 and Jake Russell not only took gold in the shot put (41-1) but also placed second in the discus, ran a leg on the winning 4x200 relay team (1:36.47) and placed fifth in the 200.
Weaver won the 800 in 2:13.2, followed by teammate Chris Sorley in second at 2:17.36 and Jarod Morgan in fourth at 2:21.2. Morgan also placed second in the 1,600 in 5:22, followed by Andrew Wallace one second back in third. Wallace was second in the 3,200, with Tanner Bolton in fourth. Morgan also placed third in the pole vault at 10-0.
Sorley also ran a leg on the winning 4x400 relay team (3:45.20) with Sawyer Sinclair, Tylan Harris and Eddie Arciga. Harris, Sinclair and Arciga took second, third and fifth in the 400-meter dash as well.
Demontra Morris cleared 5-6 to win the high jump, with Keiston Clayton placing fifth. Kaylon Alexander and Clayton finished third and fifth behind Young in the 100, and Morris was fourth in the 200. Jacquavian Willis placed third in the 110 hurdles (18.86) and second in the 300 hurdles (45.77).
"The depth is there. We've got kids on JV that are on the borderline and could run varsity," Riordan said. "We've got to sit down and strategize what kids will be running where for the district meet."
Delandria Pryor and Kelsey Evans both won gold medals for the Lady Cats, as Pryor threw 32-11 in the shot put and Evans ran a 2:35 in the 800 in her first meet of the season.
Pryor came back to placed third in the 100-meter dash in 13.34 seconds, and ran on the 4x100 relay team which placed fifth in 51.5. On the relay were Ashanti Ivery, Bradyn Burney and Stephanie Conley.
Evans, meanwhile, ran anchor leg on the 4x400 relay which placed fifth in their best time of the year (4:26.48) by five seconds. Also on the relay were Alyssa Burney, Frankeisha Hawkins and Conley.
Mackenzie Cross cleared a season-best 5-2 in the high jump to place third, while freshman Megan Massey also ran her best time of the year in the 1,600 to place fifth. Her time of 6:00.70 is only four seconds off the school record.
Massey placed fifth in the 3,200 as well in a time of 13:34. Ana Sanchez was sixth in 13:45.
Another freshman, Cyndie Finnie placed fourth in the shot put.
The 4x200 relay team of Hawkins, Conley, Burney and Pryor placed sixth.