MESQUITE — Robert E. Lee senior Tyris Jefferson’s best leap of 46-7¼ was not good enough to win the boys triple jump.
But his second-best jump was.
Jefferson’s jump tied a competitor from DeSoto, meaning the tiebreaker would be decided by their next-best jump.
Jefferson’s distance was a quarter of an inch more and that gave him gold Wednesday afternoon on Day 1 of competition at the District 11-5A track and field championships at E.H. Hanby Stadium. The meet continues Friday with high jump, discus and long jump scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. The running finals are scheduled to start at 6 p.m.
“This was only his third triple jump in competition, but we knew he could do it,” Lee boys coach Elgin Johnson said about Jefferson. “It was just up to him and he did it.”
The senior also reached the finals in the 200- and 400-meters runs, leaving him on course to win five gold medals. He is favored in the long jump and turned in a leap of 6-10 earlier this season in the high jump.
“He’s got one (gold), but he has work to do and we have work to do as a team,” Johnson said. “We won’t be satisfied unless we get as many people as we can out to regionals. That is our goal.”
Also reaching the finals for Lee were Montrell Howard in the 300 hurdles and Jared Williams in the 400. Lee’s Delkei Derrett finished fourth Wednesday in the shot put.
“I was a little disappointed we didn’t get more people to the finals, but the kids worked hard and we have a lot of young kids,” Johnson said. “We will have our relays and we want those who made the finals to do what they (came here to do) and see how many we can get out to regionals.”
Lee girls coach Kim Partain was optimistic that her team could repeat their runner-up district finish from last year, but REL’s girls only qualified for finals in three running events.
“I thought we had some very good performances and some not so good performances,” Partain said. “I expected Abby to do well and I was thinking both Brittanys and Bre had a chance to make finals in their individual events and they did.
“But we are definitely going to have our work cut out for us.”
Lee sophomore Abby Halbrook outclassed the field to win the girls 3,200 a second straight year. Halbrook won in a time of 11 minutes, 59 seconds with Lee’s Allison Sanders third in a time of 12:17.
The Lee girls also reached track finals in the 100, 100 hurdles and 400. Bre Payton ran 15.96 to make the finals in 100 hurdles with Brittany Browning turning in a 12.62 to book her place in today’s 100 final. Brittany Miller turned in a personal best 57.98 in the 400 to give her the second-best time for the final.
Lee also will look to surprise in the relays, but Partain admitted she may change some things up, especially in the 4x400.
“Our 4x100 and 4x200 are really going to have to get after it,” Partain said. “In the 4x400 there will be a real race for second, third and fourth.”