By Tony Altobelli
Killeen Daily Herald
DENTON Tiffany Townsend has said that her favorite race is the 200-meter dash.
Perhaps Saturday's second-place finish in the 100 may change her mind.
The Lady Roo sophomore overcame a slow start with a strong middle and finish for a runner-up time of 12.17 seconds, earning her a trip to the UIL State Meet.
"I'm proud of myself, that's for sure," Townsend said. "I messed up coming out of the blocks, but I was able to make it up the rest of the way.
"My goal at Austin is 11.6. I know that I need to work on getting out of the blocks better and my technique needs to get better."
Townsend, who also ran the 200 and was the anchor leg of Killeen's 800 relay, competed in the three races with little time between them.
"I'm glad she earned a spot at state," KHS girls coach Leah Cannon said. "We've been telling her all season that she has the capabilities to make it that far.
"I'm glad she didn't make a liar out of me."
For the Ellison Eagles, who led after the first day of action, they ran into a 1-2 punch of the Lancaster Lady Tigers and Murphy's Law to finish a distant second in the meet. Lancaster finished with 124 points, while Ellison compiled 49.
"It was one of those days," EHS girls coach Bren Jones said. "We had some injuries and some off days today. But that's track. Those things will happen."
Perhaps the best example of this misfortune came in the girls long jump, where Alesha Walker posted an impressive mark of 18 feet, 1 inches on her final jump, but her mark came up a half-inch shy of eventual runner-up and automatic state qualifier Donnel Spencer of Dallas Kimball (18-2). Teammate Samantha Hamilton placed fifth (17-6).
The Lady Eagle 400 relay team (Alesha Walker, Kymbra Lovan, Dora Alfred and Khandiese Cooper) qualified for the finals with the fastest preliminary time and was near the front of the pack, but a slow final handoff pushed Ellison down to fifth place with a time of 48.06.
Walker, who qualified for the 100 hurdles finals with the seventh-best time on Friday, tripped and fell on the second hurdle and did not finish.
Others who competed, but did not qualify, for state were Lovan in the high jump (fourth, 5-2), Demetria Pace in the 1,600 (12th, 5:48.82), Ellison's 800 relay team (fifth, 1:42.44) and 1,600 relay (Jasmine Clark, Darcel Smith Sharnette Williams, Michelle Johnson, fourth, 4:02.80).
Other Killeen competitors from Saturday were the Lady Roos 400 relay (Denise Marion, Amber Hinson, Tiara Taylor and LaDawn Spiller, eighth, 49.56) and 800 relay (Denise Marion, LaDawn Spiller, Tiara Taylor and Townsend, third, 1:41.18) and Spiller in the long jump (10th, 16-1 and Amanda McHaney in the pole vault (no height).
The top third-place finish among the four regional meets will also earn a berth at the UIL State Meet, which will take place on May 13-14 at the University of Texas.
Contact Tony Altobelli at email@example.com