Running Close: Cadena, Everett taking their Hopkins County rivalry to state track meet in Austin

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

May 8, 2009 - North Hopkins' Jose Cadena and Sulphur Bluff's Everett Wilder train 12 miles apart. On Friday, they'll travel 280 miles in their final face-off.

Cadena and Wilder, both juniors at their schools, will be competing in the Class A 3,200-meter run at the UIL State Track and Field Championships in Austin at 10:20 a.m. tomorrow.

Cadena goes into the race with the fifth-best qualifying time of 10 minutes, 19.47 seconds, while Everett ran a 10:26.41 as they finished first and second, respectively, at the Region III meet two weeks ago.

They also ran against each other at the area meet in which Wilder won the 1,600 and Cadena won the 3,200.

"He and Everett like beating each other. That's been very good for both of these kids," said NH coach Tim Menke, who has created a girls distance dynasty at North Hopkins. "Everett over there has pushed Jose, and I think Jose has pushed Everett. It's been real good for both of those kids.

"Both have beaten one another several times, so it's been good competition for them both."

The pair also competed in cross country, with Cadena winning the regional title and Wilder coming in second. At state, they placed 18th and 19th. This will be the first state track meet for either of them.

Cadena wants to drop his time below 10 minutes, which will be a huge improvement. But, Menke said he has trained hard enough to lower his time significantly to compete with two runners from Region IV who broke 10 minutes at their regional meet.

"We're hoping that with good training, which we've had, we can push those two kids. You never know how someone will respond when he's asked to run fast," Menke said. "Jose's putting up some times on the road and on the track that are the best we've had for boys since I've been here.

"We're still looking for our first boys state champion at North Hopkins, and he could surely be it in the next two years."

Wilder, meanwhile, becomes the first Sulphur Bluff athlete to compete at the state track meet since Joe Perales placed eighth in the 800 in 2000. Wilder and teammate Trey Henderson were also the first Bears to run at the state cross country meet in eight years.

Menke and Sulphur Bluff coach Charles Wright both said the same things about their runners - the key for them is how hard they train.

"Both these guys are good, hard-working kids," Menke said. "We'd like to see them both do well at state."

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