By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
TEMPLE - By the end of the day, there wasn't a part of Aliayah McDonald's legs that didn't feel on fire.
After winning her heat in the 200-meter dash, the Harker Heights junior was feeling it in her toes. Coming off the track after anchoring of the Lady Knights' 1,600-meter relay team to a dominating gold medal, the burn had moved a little farther north.
"I don't know what it was but I didn't feel it until I got off the track," McDonald said. "But man I did something great, so there was a reason for (the burn)."
For Heights girls track coach Michelle Womack, it's the price of success.
"That's lactic acid right there, (laughs) when you run as fast as (McDonald) does, you get a lot of lactic acid built up," Womack said. "They're giving their all, so they're going to burn a little bit."
Sweeping gold in the three relays, Harker Heights medaled in 10 of the 17 events to cruise to the team championship Saturday with 170 points at the Temple Relays in Wildcat Stadium. It was the Lady Knights' fourth team title in five events this season.
"It's a credit to the kids, they've worked hard and this is one of the deepest teams we've every had at Harker Heights," Womack said. "They want it, so they work for it, and that's where it all pays off (with gold medals)."
Along with helping Heights to gold in the mile relay, McDonald finished first in the 400 dash (57.53 seconds) and second in the 200, winning her heat with a time of 24.67 seconds before Shoemaker's Lakesha Jelks won the second heat with a 24.16.
But McDonald wasn't even the most successful junior for the Lady Knights.
Brittany Adkins beat out fellow Heights teammate Kiara McCoy by four-hundredths of second to win the 100-meter dash in 11.56 and was the second leg on both the winning 400- and 800-meter relays that clocked times of 47.79 and 1:42.23, respectively.
Adkins and McCoy also finished second and third in the long jump behind Shoemaker's Aloyshia Young, who won with a distance of 17-feet, 10-inches. Ambra Mack gave Heights another silver in the high jump, finishing two inches behind winner Emily Krenek of Belton (5-2). The Lady Tigers' Ashley Russell won the triple jump with a leap of 35-8, ahead of Killeen's Miara Elmore (35-2¾) and Heights' Jasmine Lax (35-1¾).
Jelks, a Texas A&M-signee, took home gold in both the 200 and 800, besting Heights' Kassandra Booker by nearly three seconds with a winning time of 2:14.39.
Shoemaker thrower Cion Hicks again swept the shot put (39-0) and discus (129-9), while Tearra Roberson took both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles with times of 15.41 and 44.96, respectively.
Killeen's Brittany Mitchell and Harker Heights' Robert Cavin swept the girls and boys 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs, with Mitchell besting Belton's Kaitlin Huckabee by more than a full minute in the 3,200 (11:03.09) and 23 seconds in the 1,600 (5:13.03). Cavin beat Killeen's Jamison Hicks in the 1,600 (4:33.90) and fellow Knights teammate Scott McCewan in the 3,200 (10:03.15) as Heights took the first three places in the two-mile run.
Roos parlay field success to team title
Before the running events started, the Killeen Roos were feeling good about their chances.
Thanks to taking first place in four of the six field events, the Roos had a comfortable lead entering the second half of the Temple Relays, where Killeen continued to rake in medals en route to winning gold in the team standings with 140 points, nine ahead of runner-up Harker Heights.
"That's where all our points come from - the field events and the hurdles - because our relays are good, but it's not there just yet," said Roos hurdler Anthony Watkins.
Watkins helped paced the Roos runners with a gold medal finish in the 110-meter hurdles (14.44 seconds), finishing just .29 ahead of gold medal-winning teammate John Warren, who took first in both the long jump (22-2) and triple jump (47-10). Watkins nearly won another gold, but Shoemaker's Ismael Mongare edged him by .02 seconds with a time of 39.94 in the 300 hurdles. Jalen Wade also took first and second in his two individual events, winning the 800 run (1:57.75) and taking second in the 400 (51.06) to Temple's Michael Braziel.
Killeen's Victor Glaze won gold in the high jump (7-0) while fellow senior Chase Anderson took first in the discus with a toss of 134-4 to beat Ellison's Juls Taylor by nearly eight feet.
Harker Heights sprinter Brandon Hill kept Heights competitive, though, easily winning both the 100 (10.40) and 200 (21.36) ahead of Waco University's Jordan Randolph, and pulled away as the anchor leg to give the Knights gold in the 800 relay (1:27.82).
"I love these Temple Relays, they've got a big medal with a T in it, so my neck might be a little heavy," Hill joked about his three golds. "But I'm just happy, maybe a little dehydrated. No disrespect to the (Temple Relays), but I'm really training for the Texas Relays (next weekend) and trying to get to state - big-time track meets."
Grey Wolves running back Johnny Jefferson, who switched his commitment from Texas A&M to Baylor earlier this week, took gold in the shot put (46-8) and anchored the Grey Wolves' 400-meter relay to gold with a time of 42.14. Jefferson also won bronze in the 100 (10.57). Ellison's Daniel Fischbach won the pole vault with a height of 12 feet.