TEMPLE — Alexis Ridley knew it was a good jump and it didn’t matter to her that the triple jump official shouted, “Scratch.”
“Can we get a measurement,” Harker Heights girls track coach Michelle Womack asked, “for posterity sake?”
After laying down the tape, the official looked up and said, “You don’t want to know,” before pausing.
“It would’ve been a 37-3.”
Ridley is still reaching for her first 36-foot jump this season. She was close, posting a then-best 35-11 in the preliminaries, but her Harker Heights teammate, Vivian Walters, bested that with a 36-3 on her final attempt. Regardless, the two Lady Knights still finished 1-2 in the triple jump Friday at the District 8-5A track and field meet at Wildcat Stadium in Temple.
“We just kept going back and forth,” said Walters, a sophomore who finished fifth in the long jump on Thursday. “First, she was up with a 35-11½ and then I got her with that 36-even and then she got me back — well, she scratched, but she would’ve had me.”
“When I found out she jumped a 36, I went over there, I was like, ‘Vivian, it’s on. I’m not about to let you win,’” Ridley said. “She bumped me down to second. I was trying to come back for her, but I got a scratch. But, it’s OK.”
The gold medals just kept coming for the Lady Knights after that. The three hanging around Brittany Adkins’ neck didn’t feel the least bit heavy.
Adkins anchored both the 400- and 800-meter relays and won the 100-meter dash as Harker Heights won the District 8-5A team title, its first since 2010, with 196.5 points, more than 100 points ahead of runner-up Belton.
“They knew what we needed to do, we all set a goal, and we’ve been reaching for that goal all season,” Adkins said. “So everyone went out and did our parts.”
Already leading entering Day 2 of the meet, the Lady Knights knew that if they were going to win their fourth district title, their biggest competition was defending 12-5A champion Shoemaker. And at least in the sprint relays, it came down to the two sister programs battling it out as Adkins held off the Lady Grey Wolves’ anchor Dixon in each sprint relay. The victory came despite a tough day for Arkansas-bound sprinter Aliayah McDonald, who kicked too early in her signature event and was upset by Temple’s Tiesha Gammons in the 400-meter dash by more than a second. McDonald also pulled up lame in the 200 coming out of the blocks and couldn’t finish.
Thankfully, Lady Knights teammate JoVanna Jones more than made up for it, winning the 200 (25.2) ahead of a trio of Killeen runners.
“It’s just a testament to these kids and the hard work they’ve put in, and this senior class was a freshman class when we won it the last time, and they’ve been hungry for it ever since,” Womack said. “I’m just happy for them that they get to go out in their senior season with a second one.”
Shoemaker finished third, Temple fourth, Killeen fifth, Copperas Cove seventh and Ellison eighth.
Hicks wins discus, Alcozer finishes third
With two jumps left, Cion Hicks and Bekah Alcozer loosened themselves of their distractions: Hicks changed shoes; Alcozer put up a prayer to her grandfather.
Hicks won the discus with her first throw of the afternoon and Alcozer moved up from sixth to third on her next-to-last throw. Hicks’ first throw sailed 143-11, but it was the first throw after she changed shoes that sailed right of the foul line that got her’s and everyone else’s attention.
“I thought about changing my shoes in the prelim, but I thought I’m going to do mind-over-matter and just go out here and throw,” Hicks said. “I should’ve done it a long time ago because my first throw with the shoe change was pretty good because I had traction in the ring.”
Alcozer’s day was disappointing at best before her alteration. She scratched on three of her first four attempts and her only posted mark was a 101-7.
“I over thought the first four throws I had,” Alcozer said. “Then, the last two, I was like, ‘Forget it, I have nothing to lose at this point,’ and so I just let everything take over and I threw. It’s not my best, but right now, it’ll do. A spot in area is a spot in area.”
Alcozer flung a 119-6 on her final throw to finish third, less than three feet behind Temple’s Natane Haywood’s 122-7. Harker Heights’ Chyna Otis finished fourth (115-2).
Shoemaker’s Rhodes wins gold, two silvers
The medals clanging together around Jasmine Rhodes spoke louder than the Lady Grey Wolves’ sophomore. Rhodes won the high jump with a personal-best mark of 5-5 and a pair of silver medals as the Lady Grey Wolves’ anchor leg on both the 400- and 800-meter relays.
“It feels really good,” Rhodes said of her success. “I’m just going to keep working hard to get where I’m at, trying to get that scholarship.”
Rhodes’ was the only jumper to clear 5-4, her previous personal best, and she cleared 5-5 on her second attempt before walking away from the pit, four inches short of school record (5-9) Jahyda Reed set in 2010. Rhodes also placed fourth in the 100 meters (12.36), four-tenths of a second behind event winner Brittany Adkins of Harker Heights.
Killeen’s Mitchell wins
800 and 1,600
To improve her overall speed, Killeen junior Brittany Mitchell is no longer a two-mile runner in track, at least this year — she’s a distance sprinter. The three-time individual cross country district champion dominated the final lap of the 800 and the entire 1,600 meters to win gold in both. Mitchell won the 800 in 2:21.75 and the mile in 5:10.43.
“My coach wanted me to work on my speed, so I can do really good in the two-mile and the mile next year,” Mitchell said of running the 800. “It was definitely a new experience for me because two laps goes by so quick and I’m not used to that, but I got accustomed to it pretty quick.”