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Relay teams face tough tests at state competition

Decatur’s Allie Watkins attempts a handoff to teammate Grace Knight during the 4A girls 4×200 at the UIL State Track and Field Championships May 2 at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. MICA MCCARTNEY | WCMESSENGER

Fielding two of the youngest relays on the University of Texas track at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin last week, the Decatur Lady Eagles learned some valuable lessons in their return to state competition.

Serving as the first Lady Eagles to hit the national track since Bobbi Clemmer finished sixth in the girls 800 in 2012, Decatur’s Dylan Thornton, Mildred Medina, London Gilbreath and Hope Escobar opened the 4A state championships on May 2 with an eighth place (48.97). ) in the girls’ 4×100 relay.

“I thought the 4×100 kids did well,” Decatur coach DeMarques Jones said. “They really handled the big stage, but we just saw some really good competition. Of course they wanted to be on the podium, but I was satisfied with their performance.

Madison Sherwood, Baleigh Cashion, Shamyia Holt and Jasmine Franklin of Paris won the state title in 47.32, a tenth of a second faster than Adrianna Prophet-Smith, Andrea Shaw, Aliyah Wilson and Airriona Jackson of Brookshire Royal ( 47.42). Avianna House of Fort Worth Dunbar, Kalani Lawson, Amaya Albert and Trinity Braziel Davis ran 47.50 to win the bronze medal.

About an hour later, Thornton and Escobar, along with teammates Allie Watkins and Grace Knight, earned Decatur’s second top-10 finish, placing ninth (1:44.44) in the women’s 4×200 relay.

“I was hoping to run faster in the 4×200,” Jones said. “The ladies had a good week of practice, but something was wrong. I think they competed well, but it wasn’t our best day of racing. You have to do your best at the national level to get on the medal stand.

The state title was won by Caroline Gillem, Baleigh Cashion, Shamyiah Holt and Jasmine Franklin of Paris in 1:39.34 – about four-tenths of a second faster than Bailee Wilturner, Arius Williams, Aysha Mitchell and Adriana Murry of the Iowa Colony (1:39.70). ). Alvarado’s Candra Bridgewater, Joslyn Jarmon, Aniyah Cross and Chaunacey Hammond clocked 1:40.46 for bronze.

Northwest’s Lyric Butcher receives the relay from Nia Betts during the first exchange in the 5A girls 4×200 May 3 at the University of Texas at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. MACK THWEATT | WCMESSENGER

At the 5A state meet the next day, the Northwest Lady Texans’ 4×200 relay of Nia Betts, Lyric Butcher, Kynnedy Tatum and Levariya Pinder finished seventh in 1:41.32.

“I would classify it as early nerves,” Northwestern coach Burke Binning said. “They were definitely nervous, which was normal. Our draw was tough, because we had the defending and eventual champion right outside of us in lane 7. So right away we’re trying to beat a very fast team. Our transfers were good, but not the best. I’m still very proud of how they handled everything and ran hard in every zone and to the finish line.

Aniyah Bennett, Datavia Hunter, Milan Lathan and Addison Stricklin of Lancaster won the state title in 1:36.86. Fort Bend Marshall’s Morgan Hall, Jaden Small, Shanaje’ Cummings and Ciara Douglas won silver in 1:38.21 — about a half-second ahead of Bryan Rudder’s A’Naiya Kelley, Kimora Maxey, Chasity Rayford and Charity Rayford (1:38.66).

In the final race of the 5A meet, Northwest’s 4×400 relay team of Lamaah Carter, Sam Smith, Adam Thurston and Cooper Lutkenhaus finished in ninth place with a time of 3:27.53 – over five seconds behind eighth-place San Antonio Wagner. .

“As a team, we were not happy with the performance at the state meet,” Northwestern coach Brady Reeves said. “There were several factors that added up to that, including dropping the baton during a rally, but we didn’t maintain the level we expect as a program. We will use this as a learning experience and hope to show growth over the next season.

Dakalon Tyler, Keithon Davis, Jayden Walker and Taylor Briggs of McKinney North won gold in 3:13.36. Brandon Gilmore, Nye’gil Wright, Chance Collins and Cameron Bates of Mansfield Timberview placed second (3:15.95), while Austin Villanueva, Owen Argus, Elijah Gonzales and Zachary Dewalt of Corpus Christi Flour Bluff ran in 3:17.03 for bronze.