By Alex Byington
The Cove Herald
Backfield mates on the gridiron, Orlando Thomas, Brandon Hamilton and William Randolph are translating their success in football into track and field.
The trio of Bulldawgs combined to win six gold medals to lead Cove to a landslide victory with 269 points at its own Meet of Champions on Saturday. Killeen's 139 points gave the Roos a distant runner-up finish.
Thomas, the starting quarterback for the Bulldawgs, led the way with three golds and a silver, including first in both the long jump (22 feet, 8¼ inches) and the 300-meter hurdles (38.91 seconds) along with anchoring the champion 400 relay (42.08) with Randolph, Hamilton and Jalen Gilbert assisting. Thomas took silver in the 110 hurdles (14.07).
Randolph, who signed with Texas A&M on a football scholarship, also ran the opening leg in leading the 800 relay (1:28.19) with Hamilton, Sean Harris and Mark Branch, as well as individually in the 100 dash with a personal-best time (10.78) that puts him among the state's best. Hamilton took gold in the 200 (22.07) ahead of Shoemaker sophomore Johnny Jefferson, who also took second to Randolph in the 100.
Also winning medals were Derwin Graham, who took first in the 1,600- (4:32.72) and 3,200-meter runs (9:50.18), and John Horton, who finished first in the triple jump with a school-record distance of 50-5.
Lady Dawgs win, too
On the girls side, Brittany Mitchell won both the 1,600 (5:28.35) and 3,200 runs (11:30.94) for two of Killeen's five gold medals, but it wasn't enough to edge the host Lady Bulldawgs out of first place, finishing
second with 132 points to Cove's 148.
Cove was led by its relays with first-place finishes by the 400 team of Kenya Williams, Tia Blackwell, Andrea Hurt and Alex Chace (50.23) and the 1,600 team of Tiaira West, Monique King, Briana Johnson and Keyawna Bonner (4:10.23).
Also winning gold for the Lady Roos were Kayven Sambula in the 800 (2:25.15), Imari Simpson in the shot put (36-0.5) ahead of teammate Breeya Polk, and De'quise Robinson in the discus (112-1), while Tiare Dugger finished second in the 100 hurdles (16.06).
Softball sweeps Shoemaker, Ellison
Copperas Cove 3, Shoemaker 2 (Tuesday) - At Copperas Cove, the Lady Grey Wolves' playoff chances took a serious hit when they couldn't hold off the Lady Bulldawgs.
Copperas Cove (11-13, 4-5 12-5A) rallied for two runs in the sixth to take its first lead as Destiny Henderson singled home Abby McPhail for the go-ahead run.
Shoemaker took an early first-inning lead with Chanel Milam scoring on a passed ball and Rikki Arkansas bringing Jordan Hulin around on a triple. Lady Dawgs starter Katelynn Stephens struck out nine, while Arkansas struck out seven for Shoemaker (8-20, 4-5).
Copperas Cove 11, Ellison 3 (April 1) - At Ellison, freshman Irene Espinoza continues to impress. She went 2-for-4 with a run-scoring double and a grand slam to lead the Lady Bulldawgs (12-12, 3-5 12-5A) past Ellison (5-20, 0-8). Her homer highlighted a six-run first inning that also included Brianna Sinclair and Tia Starns RBI hits.
Sinclair finished 2-for-3 and Ashley Hartwell went 3-for-5.
The Lady Eagles finished with seven hits, with Taylor Hughes, Tessa McCoy and Kasey Busch scoring runs.