When Central Texas athletes take to the track this week for their respective district track and field meets, they’ll have one more hurdle to get over on their bids for state.
For the 2012-13 school year, the University Interscholastic League instituted the formation of area track meets to take place the week between the district meet and the region meet, as is the case with most other athletic playoff systems in the state.
The decision was approved by the UIL Legislative Council in October 2011 and replaces what were regional qualifier meets.
Class 1A schools have been using area track meets for years, but this will be the first year that all conferences will be implementing it.
Harker Heights girls track coach Michelle Womack is one of many local track coaches embracing the new challenge the UIL has thrown her way.
“If you can’t run with the big dogs, get off the porch,” Womack said, laughing. “We’ve got to do it, so there’s no sense in whining about it.”
The biggest change is the top four finishers from each event advance to the final-only area meets as opposed to just the top three in prior years. The top four finishers at the area meet will then move on to the region meets, where only the top two in each event will qualify for the state meets.
Those athletes that make it out of District 8-5A run into a buzz-saw in their District 7-5A competition, including defending boys and girls 5A state champion DeSoto.
“I was not real happy we had to run against 7-5A,” Womack joked. “But it’s great for our kids to see that competition and you have to beat them at some point.”
All area district meets will kick off Wednesday and wrap up Thursday, with the 8-5A track meet to be held at Temple’s Wildcat Stadium. The District 8-3A and 22-2A track meets will be held at Lampasas and Lexington high schools, respectively.
From there, the best in 8-5A will square off with the best in 7-5A on April 18 at Waco Midway High School. District 8-3A will take on 7-3A the same day at Stephenville and 22-2A will meet 21-2A on April 19 at McGregor.
Athlete watch list for area district meets
Wolf Mahler, Belton, sr. (pole vault)
Kaylee Krenek, Belton, soph. (100m hurdles)
Cameron Woodbury, Copperas Cove, sr. (1,600m, 3,200m)
Jason Cole, Copperas Cove, jr. (pole vault)
Fabby Andujar, Copperas Cove, sr. (3,200m, 1,600m relay)
Cion Hicks, Shoemaker, sr. (discus, shot)
Quasan Hill, Shoemaker, sr. (high jump)
Johnny Jefferson, Shoemaker, sr. (100m, 400m relay)
Taron Lloyd, Shoemaker, sr. (long jump, 400m relay)
Brittany Mitchell, Killeen, jr. (1,600m, 3,200m)
Tiare Dugger, Killeen, sr. (100m hurdles)
Ramone Houston, Harker Heights, sr. (long jump)
Aliayah McDonald, Harker Heights, sr. (200m, 400m, 800m relay)
Brittany Adkins, Harker Heights, sr. (100m, 400m relay, 800m relay)
Christonna Jones, Ellison, sr. (100m)
Chase Cole, Gatesville, sr. (triple jump)
Nicholas Meaders, Gatesville, jr. (pole vault)
Jake Kee, Gatesville, sr. (400m, 1,600m relay)
Shonderious Howard, Lampasas, jr. (high jump)
Steven Jazdyk, Lampasas, sr. (pole vault, long jump)
Ryan Simmons, Salado, jr. (discus, shot put)
Rachel Hildebrand, Salado, soph. (discus, shot put)
Ashley Adams, Salado, jr. (1,600m, 3,200m, 1,600m relay)
Alex Cooke, Salado, sr. (1,600m, 3,200m)