TEMPLE — Fabby Andujar hadn’t lost a 3,200-meter race all season. For the first 3,100 meters Thursday evening, it appeared like that wouldn’t change for the Copperas Cove senior.
That is until a baby-faced 15-year-old from Harker Heights found her extra gear. Lady Knights freshman Charlotte Flemming sprinted the final 80 meters, making up a more than 25-meter gap entering the final straightaway, to overtake Andujar and win the 3,200-meter run at the District 8-5A track and field meet at Temple’s Wildcat Stadium.
“I don’t know, I guess I just wanted it badly enough,” Flemming said.
Breaking away from the crowd around the halfway point, Andujar began to put some distance between herself and the rest of the 8-5A pack. But as as if coming out of the blocks, Flemming turned into a sprinter and rapidly made up ground, finally overtaking Andujar about 20 meters from the finish line to finish in 12 minutes, 2.64 seconds, 1½ seconds ahead of a surprised Andujar (12:04.39).
“She’s been finishing like that every race,” said Heights girls distance coach Julian Acuna. “The thing about Charlotte is I’ve never seen her run a total last lap, so there’s no telling how fast she can go.”
In the boys race, nobody was going to catch Bulldawgs senior Cameron Woodberry, who won his first 3,200-meter run at district in convincing fashion with a personal-best time of 9:45.13, 18 seconds and a quarter of a lap ahead of runner-up teammate Leonard Kim (10:03.14).
“I guess that’s a pretty good stamp, and I’m not through yet,” Woodberry said. “I’ve got to run (in first) at least two or three more times before I’ll be satisfied. It’s a PR by a second, but I definitely could have pushed it a little harder.”
The Copperas Cove tandem finished 1-2 for the first time all season, as Kim held off a late charge by Harker Heights senior Scott McEwen, who finished third with a time of 10:07.17 to lead a trio of Knights across the finish line.
Following McEwen for the Knights were teammates Joseph Galvan (10:11.51) and Darris Garrett (10:24.17).
Lady Knights lead the field
The Harker Heights Lady Knights were nervous. Only these were the good kind of nerves. The ones that inspire.
“Nerves only made us better today,” Heights senior sprinter Aliayah McDonald said.
McDonald and the Lady Knights will have every opportunity to win the district crown after qualifying three runners in each individual race following preliminaries Thursday.
“We know that it’s going to be those little bitty points that we need that will keep us our district title,” McDonald said. “I keep saying ‘keep’ because it’s ours, we’re not letting anybody take it from us.”
McDonald ran away with her 400-meter heat to finish with the fastest preliminary time at 59.95, just two-tenths of a second ahead of Temple’s Tiesha Gammons. She’ll be right next to teammates Kennetra Hill and Corianna Parham, who will give Heights ownership of lanes 2-4 in the 400.
Fellow Lady Knights senior Ambrya Mack had the fastest time in the 300-meter hurdles at 46.8 seconds, ahead of Killeen’s Tiare Dugger (47.78) and teammate Jaleea Bonnell (49.11).
Dugger also had the second-fastest time in the 100 hurdles (15.77), behind Belton sophomore Kaylee Krenek, who’s 14.59 seconds in her heat bested the time of Belton hurdler Wolf Mahler in the boys 110-meter high hurdles by two-tenths of a second.
The Lady Roos’ Christine Powers had the fastest time in the 200 (25.37), just ahead of Heights’ JoVanna Jones (25.76). Lady Knights senior Brittany Adkins had the second-fastest time in the 100 (12.34), behind Waco Midway’s Natalie Poynter and four-hundredths of a second ahead of Ellison’s Christonna Jones.
On the boys side, Shoemaker finished with the fastest preliminary times in three separate events, earning the coveted fourth lane in the 100 (Johnny Jefferson, 10.84), 200 (Taron Lloyd, 21.7) and 400 (Quasan Hill, 48.74).
“You know you’re somewhere around the top if you’re in lanes 3-5, so we’re letting people know that we’re not the old Shoemaker ... we’re coming up and moving forward,” Jefferson said.
Belton senior Wolf Mahler, who has signed with Texas as a decathlete, is seemingly trying to lead the Tigers to the district championship by himself.
Along with finishing fourth in the discus with a throw of 147 feet, 8½ inches to qualify for area, Mahler positioned himself for a lot more points by running the fastest preliminaries time (14.61 seconds) in the 110-meter high hurdles. He also had the third fastest time in the 400-meter dash (49.5), five-tenths of a second behind of teammate Kyle Battle and a full second faster than teammate Cager Jack.
“I came in here knowing what I could do, and I just needed to do it, and that’s what I’ve done and what I hope to continue to do (today),” said Mahler, who will also compete in his favorite event, the pole vault.
In the 110 hurdles, Mahler will be flanked by Killeen’s Bryan Farmer and Cove’s David Irving, who had the second- and third-best prelim times. Farmer ran the fastest 300.