COPPERAS COVE — John Dulaney knows his team can make up ground quickly. He just hopes it does not always have to come to that point.
Harker Heights finished with five top-three finishes at Saturday’s Bulldawg Relays with all five occurring during the track portion of the meet, including a first-place showing in the day’s final event — the 1,600-meter relay.
Thanks to the furious finish, the Knights climbed from ninth place all the way up to third in the final standings. Although Harker Heights’ head coach was pleased with the performance, he experienced plenty of aggravation along the way.
“We got off to a slow start,” Dulaney said. “Obviously, our points are coming later in the track meet. That’s a long way to come from ninth to third, so I am really proud of the guys for that. … I was kind of frustrated for a while there, but things started picking up, and it ended up being a pretty good day.”
Outside of Temple, which won the team championship with 107 points, Harker Heights and Shoemaker were the only District 8-5A teams to earn multiple gold medals.
Darius Mitchell posted a time of 21.70 in the 200 to take first place for the Knights before the quartet of Jacques Morgan, Jevon Wallace, Mitchell and Jaquan Johnson combined to produce a winning time of 3:26.76 in the 1,600 relay, propelling Heights from sixth to third in the team standings.
With 80 points, Hendrickson narrowly edged out the Knights for second place by one point. Shoemaker (72), Killeen (70) and host Copperas Cove (65) rounded out the top six teams.
“There were a lot of positives there, but we can do better,” Shoemaker head coach Kevin Ellison said. “We have a lot of ability in our boys program, so we can do better, and I think we will.”
The Grey Wolves swept the hurdling events as Toma Rivera (15.30) won the 110 hurdles and Darius Milford (41.55) claimed first in the 300 hurdles.
Salado thrower Ryan Simmons claimed a pair of gold medals at the meet, winning the shot put (54 feet, 6¾ inches) and discus (177-4), while Ellison’s Efrain Hernandez (1:57.95) won the 800 and Copperas Cove sprinter Andrew Leuthner posted a time of 10.88 to win the 100.
Although ultimately happy with the way things ended up, Dulaney believes his team must find ways to improve in the field events to reach achieve continued success.
“Obviously, we have some improvements to make,” he said, “but we have to find a way to make up some more points early in the track meet.”
Saturday, Bulldawg Stadium, Copperas Cove
Long Jump—1, Clint Cole, Temple, 21-7. 2, Dominic Dungca, Killeen, 21-7. 3, Andrew Leuthner, Copperas Cove, 21-2¾.
High Jump—1, Jamarkese Williams, Temple, 6-6. 2, Anthony Oliver, Killeen, 6-2. 3, Davon Brewton, Shoemaker, 6-0.
Triple Jump—1, Devonte Stricklin, Waco Midway, 45-7¼. 2, Keondre Parker, Killeen, 44-3½. 3, Dominic Dungca, Killeen, 43-2½.
Shot Put—1, Ryan Simmons, Salado, 54-6¾. 2, DeVonte Moore, Temple, 49-2¾. 3, Dominick Thompson, Temple, 48-2½.
Discus—1, Ryan Simmons, Salado, 177-4. 2, Gabe Perez, Copperas Cove, 153-4½. 3, David Castillo, Copperas Cove, 141-7½.
Pole Vault—1, Brandon Bray, China Spring, 14-0. 2, Karter Amos, Midway, 13-6. 3, Josh Sanchez, Central, 13-0.
100 Meters—1, Andrew Leuthner, Copperas Cove, 10.88. 2, DeOntre Haynes, Shoemaker, 10.94. 3, Jordan Randolph, Waco University, 11.01.
200—1, Darius Mitchell, Harker Heights, 21.70. 2, Deion Hardy, Temple, 21.73. 3, Keshawn Somerville, Hendrickson, 22.68.
400—1, Brandon Kirby, Hendrickson, 50.65. 2, Jevon Wallace, Harker Heights, 51.66. 3, George Lowe, Copperas Cove, 53.22.
800—1, Efrain Hernandez, Ellison, 1:57.95. 2, Brandon Kirby, Hendrickson, 2:03.30. 3, Mitchell Morgan, Central, 2:03.30.
1,600—1, Jose Viegra, Hendrickson, 4:29.01. 2, Zach Cabrera, Central, 4:34.40. 3, Darin Garrett, Harker Heights, 4:38.70.
3,200—1, Jose Viegra, Hendrickson, 9:52.01. 2, Zach Cabrera, Central, 10:00.23. 3, Brandon Ruiz, Hendrickson, 10:24.00.
110 Hurdles—1, Toma Rivera, Shoemaker, 15.30. 2, Quintin Smith, Temple, 15.33. 3, Brandon Olwell, Killeen, 15.40.
300 Hurdles—1, Darius Milford, Shoemaker, 41.55. 2, Quintin Smith, Temple, 41.88. 3, Antonio Lealliiee, Copperas Cove, 42.06.
400 Relay—1, Temple, 42.54. 2, Killeen, 42.63. 3, Shoemaker, 42.73.
800 Relay—1, Temple, 1:28.84. 2, Shoemaker, 1:30.15. 3, Harker Heights, 1:31.27.
1,600 Relay—1, Harker Heights, 3:26.76. 2, Central, 3:31.76. 3, Hendrickson, 3:34.75.