HEWITT - Ambrya Mack won the high jump, but it was the only gold medal for the District 8-5A champion Harker Heights Lady Knights at the District 7-5A and 8-5A area track meet Friday at Waco Midway's Panther Stadium.
Harker Heights, which won its first district track title since 2010 last week in Temple, totaled 84 points to finish behind defending 5A state champion DeSoto (155) and Cedar Hill (86).
Mack won the high jump with a mark of 5-feet, 6 inches also placed third in the 300 hurdles (46.26 seconds). Lauren Reynells was just edged out of a gold medal by Cove’s Fabiola Andujar in the 3,200 (11:56.43), Elizabeth Crosby finished second in the pole vault (10-0). Charlotte Fleming placed third in the 1,600 (5:29.52) and fourth in the 3,200 (11:58.55). Teal Williams was fourth in the 100 hurdles (15.78) and all three relays also qualified for next week’s Region I-5A meet.
The Lady Knights' 400-meter relay finished third (47.54) while their 800- and 1,600-meter relays both finished fourth in 1:42.79 and 3:55.83, respectively.
Beginning this year, the University Interscholastic League added an area track meet between the district and region meets, something 1A schools have used for years. The top four finishers at the area meet qualified for the Region I-5A meet April 26-27 at Texas Tech.
Shoemaker's Hicks wins shot put, discus
Cion Hicks was relaxed, taking the area meet like a regional qualifier.
But, when it came to DeSoto’s Adrienn Lewis in the shot put, the Shoemaker senior wasn’t going to mess around.
“It’s actually good to have that level of competition so early because, usually, that comes later at regionals or at state,” Hicks said. “But to have it right here and right now — iron sharpens iron. We’re both at that caliber and I think that it’s made her better, it’s made me better, it’s made me to have push myself early.”
Hicks led after the prelims and won the shot put with a mark of 45-2, less than three feet farther that Lewis. Belton’s Chloe Lewis finished fourth (39-0).
Hicks also bested Lewis in the discus, throwing a 152-3 to win the event. Lewis finished second with a mark of 130-9. Belton’s Bekah Alcozer finished third with her throw of 129-0 and Temple’s Natane Haywood finished fourth (115-10).
Belton’s Mahler earns three more golds
Wolf Mahler, a five-event area qualifer from Belton, won the pole vault (14-0), the 400 meters (48.36 seconds), the 110 hurdles (14.05) and led-off the Tigers’ third-place 1,600-meter relay (3:18.60). He also finished sixth in the discus (142-10).
“I had a surprise in the 110 hurdles, for sure,” Mahler said. “I ran a half-second faster than I ever ran. But, it’s good to be at the top of the list at bigger meets like this. We’ll see what happens; this is a tough region, but, hey, this is a tough area, so I’m proud of our guys.”
Mahler, who’s signed with Texas as a decathlete, had the second-best mark in the discus going into the finals, but he dropped from second to fifth when four of the first five throws of the finals were better than his preliminary mark.
Kyle Battle, who anchored the Tigers’ mile relay placed fourth in the 400 (49.46) and Kaylee Krenek placed second in the girls' 100-meter hurdles (14.26).
Heights’ Houston finishes 2nd in boys long jump
Ramone Houston knew the kind of competition he faced. Then, the Harker Heights senior popped a 23-foot, 6 1/4-inch mark on his first attempt to send a message.
"It's not intimidating, it's actually really good competition because I know can jump with them," Houston said. "It just lets me know I need to be on my A-game when it comes down to it."
Houston finished second in the long jump, behind DeSoto’s Kyle Collins, who jumped 24-0¾. Houston’s first-round lead didn’t last long. Collins, whose own 23-6½-foot mark at the District 7-5A meet last week was the best qualifying distance coming into the area meet, topped the mark on his second attempt and held on.
Darius Mitchell placed third in both the 100 (10.80) and 200 (21.81).
Cove sweeps 3,200 golds
Copperas Cove’s Cameron Woodberry and Fabiola Andujar both won the 3,200-meter runs. Woodberry finished in 9:45 to easily win the boys two-mile run while Andujar, who finished second at the District 8-5A meet, won the girls’ race in 11:56.41. Woodberry also won the 1,600 (4:26.05).
"The 32 was a pretty chill race - I took it out at the beginning so it would be that way," Woodberry said, referring to the 3200. "But, the 32 is a starting place for the mile."
Harker Heights’ Joseph Galvan finished fourth behind Woodberry and a pair of Mansfield runners in 10:18.88, edging out teammate Scott McEwen by two seconds (10:20.45) for the final regional qualification. In the 1,600, Cove’s Leonard Kim was third (4:35.58).
Lady Roos' Mitchell wins mile, places 2nd in 800
Killeen’s Brittany Mitchell still surprises herself. The Lady Roos junior ran a personal-best 5:06.33 to win the 1,600-meters after surprising everyone else and placing second in the 800 (2:20.56), an event the distance runner just starting running this year.
"I feel like it's an achievement, it's always a joy to PR, even if it's by 4 seconds," Mitchell said. "
Mitchell had the fifth-fastest qualifying time in 800 coming in, but finished just behind DeSoto’s Camry Gribsby (2:20.23) to win the combination sprint and distance event.
"I feel like it's a miracle," Mitchell said of the 800, "because I was afraid for most of the race because I was getting boxed in. But, there was just that opening and I took it. I didn't want to wait, so I had to go."
Cove’s Scott, Heights’ Mack win high jump titles
Copperas Cove’s Cory Scott and Harker Heights’ Ambrya Mack won the boys and girls high jump, respectively.
Scott, who cleared 7-feet to win the District 8-5A meet last week in his first track meet this season, won the area meet with a mark of 6-6. Shoemaker’s Quasan Hill finished third (6-4), tied with Cedar Hill’s LaQuivionte Gonzalez.
"Really, today, I really just tried to go out to get first," said Scott, who worked at the high jump in practice for the first time this week. "I'm trying to do that same at regionals, try not to burn out my legs so I can go hard at state."
Mack jumped 5-6 to win the area title for Harker Heights, while Jasmine Rhodes, who was the Shoemaker Lady Grey Wolves first high jump district champion since Jahyda Reed in 2010, placed fourth (5-4).
Ellison's Hernandez holds off Cove's Lowe for gold in 800
Ellison's Efrain Hernandez knew George Lowe would push him in the 800. When the Copperas Cove runner made his move down the final straightaway and took over his lead, Hernandez pushed back.
Hernandez outlasted Lowe the final 10 meters to win the 800 meters in 2:00.45. Lowe finished second in 2:00.57.
"I actually thought he was going to push me and I went after him," Hernandez said. "When he passed me, I just thought, 'Well, all right,' and then went and got him."
"I knew I had to pick up the tempo and get that top-3 (finish), maybe even gold," Lowe said. "Efrain's really good and my goal today was to beat him, but he got me by a lean. I'll get him next week (at regionals)."
Temple's Victor Lemons finished fourth for the final regional berth, edging Midlothian's Bailey Rhodes by a tenth of a second (2:01.74).
Roos' Farmer second in 300 hurdles, 800 relay fourth
Killeen's Bryant Farmer was a half-second from winning the 300-meter hurdles. Famrer finished in 38.28 seconds, just behind DeSoto's Josh Woods who crossed the line in 37.78.
The Roos' 800-meter relay just did advance to the regional meet next week. The relay was fifth to cross the finish, but ended up with a fourth-place medal with DeSoto's 800-relay was disqualified for an out-of-zone handoff exchange. Shoemaker won the event in 1:26.83 followed by Mansfield, Duncanville and Killeen (1:28.69).