WHITEHOUSE — John Tyler takes a one-track mind into Whitehouse today, where the Lions and Lady Lions go in solely focused on winning titles at the District 16-4A track and field championships.
The Lions and Lady Lions compete at the first of four postseason events along with host Whitehouse, Lindale, Corsicana, Jacksonville and Nacogdoches.
The John Tyler boys center their hopes on the talents of senior Andre Jefferson, who will compete in five events — all three jumps and the two sprint relays. Jefferson ranks first in the nation in the long jump, having won the New Balance indoor nationals in New York City last month, and the prestigious Texas Relays just weeks ago in Austin.
Jefferson has gone 24 feet, 3 inches in the long jump outdoors and 24-11 indoors. He competes on the 400 relay along with freshman Bryston Gipson, senior DeQuante Woods and junior Reggie Gipson. The 800 relay consists of junior Terry Ausborne, senior Justice Liggins, Woods and Jefferson on the anchor leg.
The Lions won a meet in Wylie earlier in the season and look to repeat the feat today.
“It’s been a great season,” first-year JT boys coach Torey Elder said. “I think any team has a good chance. Hopefully we can finish off with a district championship.”
The John Tyler girls hope their strengths in the sprints pave the way to a team victory. The Lady Lions finished second in their final four meets leading up to district.
Key competitors for the JT girls include juniors DeShalyn Jones (400, 4x200) and Tanisha Vaughn (200, 4x100, 4x200), who both placed at regionals last year, along with junior Jade Caldwell (100, triple jump), Briana Collier (long jump, 4x100), junior Breuna Gipson (200, 4x200), junior Sydney Jenkins (100, 4x100), junior Christina Lampkin (100, 4x100, 4x200), and freshman Zalelasha Rollins (long jump, triple jump).
“We’re strong in a number of events,” first-year JT girls track coach Tracy Walker said. “We have the times. We need our handoffs to stay smooth.”
A new UIL rule allows the top four finishers to advance from district into a newly created area meet, set for next week in Lancaster (Friday, April 19). From area, the top four athletes qualify for regionals (April 26-27, Arlington), with the top two then moving on to state (May 10-11, Austin).
“I like the new format,” Elder said. “It gives more competitors a chance to make it to area and it brings more competitiveness once you keep going on.”
District 16-4A Track and Field Championships
At Wildcat Stadium, Whitehouse
9:30 a.m. — Boys: shot put, long jump; Girls: pole vault, triple jump, discus
10:45 a.m. — Boys: high jump
12 p.m. — Boys: pole vault; Girls: high jump
1:15 p.m. — Boys: triple jump, discus; Girls: shot put, long jump.
10:30 a.m. — 3,200-meter run (finals).
3 p.m. — Running prelims
6 p.m. — 400-meter relay; 6:20 — 800-meter run; 6:40 — 100-meter hurdles; 6:50 — 110-meter hurdles; 7 — 100-meter dash; 7:20 — 800-meter relay; 7:40 — 400-meter run; 8 — 300-meter hurdles; 8:20 — 200-meter dash; 8:40 — 1600-meter run; 9:10 — 1600-meter relay.