By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
John Warren just sort of emerged. More accurately, the Killeen sophomore flew in from seemingly nowhere.
With a loaded class graduating the year before, last season was full of opportunistic talents, like Warren, who earned notoriety and recognition by winning.
Warren, as a freshman, reached the UIL State Track meet as a beneficiary of the UIL's new 'wild card' qualifier and placed second in the 4A triple jump after a third-place finish at the Region I-4A meet.
Opportunistic and ready for more - Warren is one of eight returning track standouts who qualified for the state meet in 2011.
Every season, there is a name or two to remember, to look and listen for at a track meet. Maybe, there is half a dozen like two years ago when the Killeen area sent four track standouts to two-time NCAA outdoor national champion Texas A&M.
This season, with its crop of standouts and notables, could be just like that.
Many of them emerged last year, like Warren; others weren't exactly late bloomers, they had just been overshadowed before. Some have even signed Division I national letters of intent already.
Catherine Bloomfield, So.
Lampasas, 100-300 hurdles
Bloomfield finished sixth in the 100 hurdles at the 3A state meet, running a 14.91. She won the 100 hurdles at the Region IV-3A meet with a time of 14.85.
Victor Glaze, Sr.
Killeen, high jump
Glaze and Whitehouse's Nick Palmer both jumped 6-8 in the high jump and finished third at their respective regional meets. But, after all other tie-breakers had been exhausted, Palmer qualified on a randomly selected draw to earn the state qualification and new wild card berth.
Heights girls 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. Aliayah McDonald replaces Locke, but the Lady Knights shouldn't miss a beat at McDonald won the District 12-5A title in the 100.
Hector Hernandez, Sr.
Ellison, 800-meter run
After finishing 1-2 to Harker Heights' three-time 800 champion Kyle Thompson at the District 12-5A and Region II meets, Hernandez secured the hat trick at state, overtaking Flower Mound Marcus' Sean Canavin in the final 200 meters to win silver (1:51.35). This season, Thompson is running for Texas and Hernandez, a Texas A&M signee, is going for gold.
Cion Hicks, Jr.
Shoemaker, shot put, discus
The do-it-all sophomore had a ninth-place finish (129 feet, 1 inch) in the 5A girls discus at the state track championships in Austin. But, 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.
Johnny Jefferson, Jr.
Shoemaker, 100-meter dash
The Shoemaker running back, who is being recruited by Notre Dame, UCLA and Texas A&M, is also a force on the track. The junior placed sixth in the 100-meter dash at the Region II-5A track meet with a time of 10.99 and placed seventh in the 200 (22.34).
Lekesha Jelks, Sr.
Shoemaker, 400-meter dash
Jelks, a Texas A&M signee, 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.
Marcus Kehoe, Sr.
Lampasas, pole vault
Kehoe finished with the fourth-best height (15-feet) at the 3A state track and field meet last May, a mere six inches from reaching the medal stand. At the Region IV-3A meet last season, Kehoe won the pole vault without missing a jump, finishing with a height of 14-6. Also a star running back for the Badgers, Kehoe signed with North Texas two weeks ago.
Brittany Mitchell, So.
Killeem, distance runs
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, Sr.
Killeen, 100, 300 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.
Ryan Simmons, So.
Simmons finished seventh in the 3A discus at the state meet with a throw of 147-4. He was second at the Region IV-3A with a throw of 159-4 and also placed fifth in the shot put.
Carling Urben, Sr.
Salado, high jump
Urben, also a basketball and volleyball star, cleared 5 feet, 4 inches to tie with Paris North Lamar's Kara Erickson for fifth place the 3A state track and field meet in Austin last year.
John Warren, So.
Killeen, triple jump
Warren benefited from the UIL's new rule to allow a wild-card entrant at the state track and field meets last season. Warren placed second at the 4A state meet with a triple jump of 48-4¼ inches. Warren's 47-6 triple jump was third-best at the Region I-4A meet to earn the wild card.