AUSTIN — For Lometa senior Tricia Williams, it’s back to the scene of so much success, but for something a little bigger.
Though the Texas Relays won’t mean anything when it comes to defending her Class 1A, Division II state championships in the throwing events, it’s her chance to shine in front of some of the best around the state at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
“It’s way bigger, there’s a lot more competition,” Williams said. “I usually get first in the majority of my competitions and this is the one where I have the most competition and have to work really hard.”
Williams finished fifth in the shot put with a preliminaries throw of 44 feet and one-half inch. That throw was more than a foot better than last year’s 42-10¼ that won her the state title.
Harker Heights sophomore Chyna Otis also made the finals and finished seventh (42-6). Belton’s Chloe Lewis finished 13th (39-1¼) and Salado’s Rachel Hildebrand was 16th (38-0¼).
Williams was back at Myers Stadium over the weekend for the first time since winning a double gold in both the shot put and discus (131-7). Her performance in the discus set a 1A, Division II state record.
But for the defending state champ, the Texas Relays gave her an opportunity to represent Lometa, a town of less than 800 people, in front of thousands of fans against schools that are more populous than her entire town.
“Not very many 1As get to do what I do,” Williams said.
Haley Teel of Class 4A’s Gregory-Portland won the gold (48-4) and the second- through fourth-place finishers were all from East Texas schools that are in Class 5A.
Williams’ best throw came in the preliminaries, a throw that not only got her into the top five overall, but moved her into the finals.
Williams had previously fouled in her second toss and needed one more opportunity to move on.
This is Williams’ third Texas Relays shot put appearance and second in the discus. On Friday she finished 14th (127-4) in the discus.
Otis had a goal of making it into the relays before her senior year and it only took two seasons to earn a trip to Austin.
Although a lot of underclassmen would be overwhelmed by the situation, the crowd noise, PA system and south wind didn’t faze her at all.
In fact, she was comfortable not even warming up before the second flight of the preliminaries.
As the other competitors in the second flight were warming up, she was calm and comfortable sitting on the small rows of bleachers in the shot put area. She had already warmed up using the heavier boys shot put.
“I knew it was going to be a pretty good day,” Otis said. “I was excited and I felt good.”
Otis’ best throw came in the second round of the finals. Now the sophomore turns her attention on making it out of the district meet and hopefully another chance to throw at Myers Stadium next season.
“Most of the girls out here are juniors and seniors and I’m only a sophomore, so I wasn’t really worried about the competition,” Otis said.
“I just knew I had to come out here and do my best.”
For more Texas Relays coverage, see Monday’s Killeen Daily Herald or go to kdhpressbox.com.