By Jason Chlapek
Killeen Daily Herald
COLLEGE STATION – Tigerland Stadium already has green field turf, but on Thursday it seemed as if the venue on the campus of A&M Consolidated High School was painted with another type of green – Ellison Eagles green.
The Eagles boys and girls track and field teams each claimed a District 12-5A team championship. The boys team recorded 140 points to Temple's 102, and the Lady Eagles edged A&M Consolidated, 126-120.
"Our kids performed well all year and we came into this thing believing we could win it all," said Ellison boys coach Larry Moore. "I'm really proud of these kids and the way they performed."
The Eagles recorded points in 12 of the 17 events, and had at least one top-three finish in 10 of the 12 events in which they scored points.
The top-three finishers in each event qualified for the Region II-5A meet May 1-2 in Waco.
Ellison also won four events, including the 400- and 800-meter relays.
As far as the Lady Eagles were concerned, coach Halle Paauw was not only pleased with her team title in the varsity, but also the fact that her junior varsity and freshman teams won their district crowns as well.
"As a program, the girls competed incredibly well," Paauw said. "Every single person contributed to our teams' successes."
For Ellison, sweeping the girls team championships was a goal they set on Aug. 24 – the first day of school.
"We met the first day of school to discuss goals for the season, and the top goal for each of these girls was to win the district championship," Paauw said.
The varsity Lady Eagles recorded points in 13 of the 17 events, and had region qualifiers in nine.
Ellison recorded four first-place finishes, with sophomore Kehri Jones playing a part in three of them, including the long jump, the 100 and the anchor leg on the champion 400 relay team.
"I was confident that I could win a few district championships," Jones said. "Although I've competed at this level before, I still was a little nervous at first. But now, it's time to get ready for the region meet."
In addition to her trio of gold medals, Jones finished second in the 200 dash behind Shoemaker's Chaniqua Corinealdi, who also qualified in the 100 with a second-place finish, and ran the first leg of the third-place 1,600 relay team.
Corinealdi was in Ohio last year, where she qualified for the state meet.
"My state meet experience from Ohio should help me in the region meet," Corinealdi said.
Corinealdi won't be the only Lady Grey Wolf competing in multiple events. Jahyda Reed will compete in four. Reed joined Corinealdi on the 1,600 relay team, finished second in the 300 hurdles and won both the 100 hurdles and high jump.
"My goal, in addition to qualifying in the high jump and mile relay, was to qualify in the hurdles," Reed said. "To win these events proved to be icing on the cake. It'll be back to work on Monday, though."
One of the more intriguing stories of the day was the feat accomplished by Aliese Hyde of Harker Heights and P.J. Hardy of Ellison. Both athletes participated in three events and came away with three gold medals.
"I was hoping to win the 800 (run) and just qualify in the others (400 run and 1,600 relay)," Hyde said. "It was great to be able to win all three."
Hyde, who took third in the state in the 800 last season, won that event by nearly three seconds and won the 400 by seven-hundredths of a second before running the second leg of the champion 1,600 relay team.?
The Copperas Cove Lady Bulldawgs qualifed for the region meet in three events, and Koye Hickson had a hand in all three.
Hickson took third in the 200 dash, ran the anchor leg on the second-place 400-relay and the anchor leg on the champion 800 relay.
Hickson will compete in her third region meet in as many years.
"I know what to expect, and we can't take anything for granted," Hickson said. "We have to give 100-perent effort in everything."
Another big story for Ellison was Steven White, who upset 300 hurdles favorite Tevin Reese by five-tenths of a second to claim the gold medal in the event. White also qualifed for the 110 hurdles and the 1,600 relay – both with second-place finishes.
White, one of two seniors on Ellison's team, has one goal in mind – state.
"I plan on going to Austin this year," White said. "I have to train hard with heart and will. I'm not going to give up and I'm not going to fall."
And, if that happens, Clyde Hart Stadium in Waco could also be painted in Ellison green.
Contact Jason Chlapek at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7565.