By Evan Ren
Killeen Daily Herald
BROWNWOOD For Killeen boys track coach Neil Searcy, everything is going according to plan.
Through Day 1 of the District 16-4A Track and Field Meet at Gordon Wood Stadium, his Roos are now poised to defend their district title, holding a 19-point lead over second-place Lampasas.
Bolstered by Andrew Gumbs' win in the long jump and a 1-2 sweep of the high jump by Anthony Hemmingway and Keith Ladson, the Roos notched 51 points during Day 1 to Lampasas' 32. Hewitt Midway is third at 17, followed by Ellison (13), Waco (8) and Brownwood (2).
In girls' competition, Hewitt Midway holds the lead with 61 points, followed by Ellison (35), Lampasas (26), Killeen (17) Brownwood (15) and Waco University (1).
The District 16-4A meet is on hiatus today, but will conclude Wednesday at Gordon Wood Stadium. Field events will begin at 10:30 a.m. with the shot put and triple jump. Timed event finals will begin at 3 p.m.
"We're coming out of field events sitting pretty good," Searcy said. "This year, our field events have done a good job of getting us a lead. I feel good about our running events but field events are our strong point.
"I feel confident and the kids are confident. They want another district title and they've put themselves in a pretty good position for Wednesday."
Nothing helped the Roo cause more than Hemmingway and Ladson's sweep of the high jump, posting heights of 6 feet, 8 inches and 6-6 respectively. Ladson's jump was his best of the season.
Ellison's Thomas Winkfield took third in the event at 5-10, followed by the Lampasas duo of Breck Pierce (5-8) and Anthony Reyna (5-8). Hewitt Midway's Jeff Braden took sixth at 5-6.
"Hemmingway's been pretty consistent and solid all year and he did a tremendous job again today," Searcy said. "Ladson had been up to 7 feet last year but this year his best was 6-2, so he's peaking at the right time."
Gumbs' effort in the long jump may have been even more impressive, given the fact that his personal-best leap of 23 feet, 5 inches was good enough to relegate defending state champion Parrish Cox (23-4.25) of University to second place.
Ladson, who had been Killeen's top long jumper all season, took third at 22-4.75.
"Andrew has been finishing second to Ladson all year," Searcy said. "So it was a big day for him to finally come out and beat both Ladson and Parrish Cox."
In other boys action, Lampasas' Keith Wayner became the district pole vault champion with an effort of 14 feet. Killeen's Justin Smith took the runner-up spot at 13-6, while Midway's Paul Peterson took thirdat 13-00.01.
A throw of 146 feet, 7 inches was good enough to give Lampasas' Dereck Stickler the district title in the discus. Killeen's Jerry Benton (144-9) and Lampasas' Nathan Hooper (134-7) followed in short order.
In the 3,200, Midway secured 16 first-place points when Jeff Sadler outdistanced the field with a time of 10:07.09.
Lampasas' Wesley Fisher (10:37.10) and Killeen's Karl Kmiecik (10:47.24) were second and third, respectively.
On the girls' side, Ellison coach Bren Jones may have 26 points to make up, but he isn't hitting the panic button just yet.
Jones, whose team's strength lies in the relays, knows the Lady Eagles are still within striking distance of a district title. Of EHS' 35 points, 24 were scored with an astonishing 1-2-3 sweep in the long jump, which saw Lady Eagles Alesha Walker (19-0), Samantha Hamilton (18-7) and Brittany Clarke (18-5) all post personal bests.
"On their last jump, all three of them went out and popped a good one," Jones said. "Before her last jump, I told Alesha that she had nothing to lose, so go out and get a good jump.
"She went out and PR'd it, so I'm really happy about that."
Still holding the lead with 61 points, Midway won every other girl's event with the exception of discus.
The Pantherettes took three out of the first four places in the high jump, with Lampasas' Jennifer Howard (second place, 5-2) serving as the lone placer who doesn't call Hewitt home. Midway's Whitney Betts took the district title at 5-2, while her teammates, Valerie Cammon (5-0) and Megan Harlan (5-0), finished third and fourth, in that order.
In the girls pole vault, Midway's Emily Hine took the district title with an effort of 9-6. Killeen's Amanda McHaney (9-0) and Midway's Brittney Conine (8-6) were second and third.
Midway won the 3,200 as well, with Sabina Hoida (13.04.39) outkicking Ellison's Demetria Pace (13.18.19) on the final lap to take gold. Lampasas' Bethany Brice was third at 13.23.85.
Lampasas' Amanda Moseley had little difficulty in winning district in the discus, recording a throw of 115-11. Brownwood's Victoria Hernandez was a distant second at 98-04, followed by Brownwood's Jalisa Hall at 95-8.
Contact Evan Ren at firstname.lastname@example.org