By Nick Talbot
Killeen Daily Herald
Cion Hicks finally understands - she's pretty good.
And now that the Shoemaker sophomore has come to that realization, she expects to be even better next year.
Of course, she has set her bar pretty high all ready.
The do-it-all sophomore just wrapped up her high school sports year with a ninth-place finish (129 feet, 1 inch) in the 5A girls discus at the state track championships last weekend in Austin. Hicks said her experience will give her something to build on the next two years.
"This season I was more focused," Hicks said. "This year I wanted to be better and my new coach (Merdith Shaw-Moore) pushed more and helped a lot."
And while her state performance may not have been what she wanted, it was her performance at the Region II-5A meet that really turned heads.
Hicks claimed the girls discus title with a toss of 133-5 and finished third with a mark of 39-2 in the shot put, narrowly missing the state meet.
It was that day, along with her sheer untapped potential, that earned her the Daily Herald's All-Area Track MVP this season.
"I am going to work all summer," said Hicks, who added that despite her success in the discus, she still prefers the shot put. "I got a taste of it and ... I am going to devote more time to this sport and see what I can do."
LaKesha Jelks (Jr.), sprints - Jelks placed fifth at the Region II-5A meet in the 400-meter dash and 10th in the 200. She was the District 12-5A champion in the 200 and was second in the 400, behind Harker Heights' Aliayah McDonald, who she edged at regions by one spot.
Brittany Mitchell, Killeen (Fr.), distance - Mitchell won the girls 1,600 and 3,200 runs at the District 8-4A meet. She then placed seventh in both of the events at the Region I-4A meet.
Bria McIver, Killeen (Jr.), hurdles - McIver finished seventh in 15.13 seconds at the 4A state meet, but had an even stronger performance at the Region I-4A meet, taking second with a time of 14.62.
Traonna Shedrick, Copperas Cove (Sr.), jumps - Less than three days after winning at the 84th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, Shedrick outdid herself with a leap of 18-10¾ to win the District 12-5A title. She jumped a foot less, though, at the Region II-5A meet and placed sixth.
Kasey Smetana, Salado (Sr.), pole vault - Smetana was the District 25-3A pole vault champion with a mark of 10-6 and placed sixth at the Region IV-3A meet.
Ashlie Francis, Belton (Sr.), throws - Francis placed eighth at the state meet with a personal-record 132-1 in the discus and finished second at the Region II-5A meet behind Hicks.
Harker Heights 400 relay - The Lady Knights relay team of Kiara McCoy, Brittany Adkins, Jordan Ogelsby and Valencia Lock won the District 12-5A title and also took seventh at the Region II-5A meet.