By Angel Verdejo
The Cove Herald
For all the talk about Ellison's bevy of sprinters - and they are good - it was the guys who circle the track four times that made the difference Saturday.
The Eagles finished second, third and fourth in the 1,600 meters - the day's second-to-last event - and followed with a four-second win in the 1,600 relay to overtake host Copperas Cove and win the 16th annual Bulldawg Relays.
Ellison's 157-146 win over Cove is also impressive in the fact that the Eagles had just two top-six finishers in all the field events. The Bulldawgs had three alone in the high jump.
"Our milers were the difference in the meet," Ellison coach Rick Coulson said. "Our distance kids played a major role in here. This particular meet we didn't do some of the things we needed to do in the long jump and triple jump, but we'll be there."
Going into the 1,600, Cove led Ellison 120-119. Cove's Derwin Graham won the 1,600 (4:31.77), his second win of the day to push the Dawgs' total to 130 points.
Ellison, however, took the lead after Luis Hernandez, Sylvester Harrison and Sam Mayo took the next three spots.
The Eagles then dominated the 1,600 relay, with anchor Sean McBryde crossing the finish line more than four seconds before Cove's Roberto Camacho.
Ellison, which finished second at state a year ago, tweaked its lineup for all three relays from not only last season, but last weekend. The Eagles won the 400 relay (41.79), with Darius Branch and Bryan Ojiyi joining Michael Bryan and Prezel Hardy, two members of Ellison's silver-medal 400 relay.
Last week at the Kangaroo Relays, Larry Brooks, Brian Dawkins, Bryan and Hardy won the 400 relay.
It was the same in the 800 relay, as Cove beat Ellison. The Eagles are the defending state champion but have run different quartets in for the second straight season, was led by first-team seniors Desiree Wylie and Alisha Jones as well as a trio of second-teamers, who will all return next season.
Jasmine Washington and Jalissa Williams are both juniors and Ocleta Young is just a sophomore.
"I was real excited about (Wylie and Jones making the first-team). They worked real hard this season and are both very deserving of it," said Ellison coach Sherry McKinnon. "Yes, we have their shoes to fill but I feel that there are some kids that will step up ... With three on the second team - one's a sophomore - yes, it looks very promising for our future."
Also returning for the Lady Eagles, who lost in the first round of the playoffs, are honorable mentions Toi Taylor, who's a junior, and sophomore Alayshia Hunter.
Rawls was Shoemaker's only first- or second-teamer, but the Lady Grey Wolves had a trio of freshmen - Cion Hicks, Tiara Roberson and Hailee Showers - make honorable mention.
"Kiara, I was hoping she'd be on the first team. I think she deserves to be up there," Shoemaker coach Shauna Showers said. "And our freshmen, I think that says a lot about our program that our freshmen are on there and goes along with us building a program."
In addition to Davis, Lady Knights sophomores Brianna Golden and Bianca Patterson made the first and second teams, respectively and freshmen Brianna Freeman and JaQuan Jackson were both honorable mentions.
While the Lady Dawgs lose Nelson as well as first-teamer Shina McCoun and second-teamer Destinee Webb, they will return juniors Angelique Campbell and Jasmine Baskin, who both made the second team.
Belton senior Hailey Rosebrock made the first team and junior Meghan Breauer made the second-team.
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org