LANCASTER — A week after making sound waves throughout the John Tyler High School hallways, the Lady Lions fast-forward to another daunting challenge.
John Tyler, along with Lindale, Whitehouse and the rest of the East Texas ensemble, joins defending state boys and girls track champion Lancaster today at the Class 4A District 15-16 area track and field meet at Beverly D. Humphrey Tiger Stadium.
The venue bears the name of the Lancaster girls track coach, who last year led the Lady Tigers to their ninth girls' crown. The Lancaster boys claimed their seventh state title, and fifth consecutive, last year.
The area meet, one of four in the region and 16 in the classification, features the top four finishers from last week's District 15 and 16 competitions. The meet begins at noon with field events, followed by the running finals at 5:30 p.m. The top four finishers continue their season at next week's regional meet at the University of Texas at Arlington.
The John Tyler girls gained a confidence boost with last week's win at the district meet, the Lady Lions' first title since 1987.
The Lady Lions qualified 17 entries for area, represented by 13 individuals — nine going in multiple events. Senior utility performer Briana Callier tops JT with four area spots in the long jump, triple jump, 100-meter hurdles and as a member of the 400-meter relay.
"It was a lot of hard work and perseverance," said Callier, who is also a cheerleader. "We feel like we're a part of history. It's been so long and we were the ones to break that.
"We want to bring back trophies and give John Tyler track a name."
The Lady Lions figure to contend for medals in the 4x100 and 4x200, events they rank third in behind Arlington Seguin (first, 4x100; second, 4x200) and Lancaster (first, 4x200; second, 4x100).
Lindale looks capable of medaling in multiple events, with Mackenzie Bateman carrying the top mark in the pole vault (10-0) from the district meets.
Travicia Acy reached the state meet in the high jump as a freshman last year in Class 3A. Acy holds the top qualifying mark in the area (5-5), followed by Whitehouse's Fulani Petties (5-4). Petties placed third in the high jump at last year's regional meet.
JT juniors DeShalyn Jones and Tanisha Vaughn both placed in regionals last year in the 400 and 200, respectively. Vaughn runs on the 4x100 and 4x200, with Jones on the 4x200 and 4x400 relays.
Lancaster and Mansfield Legacy both tout the top mark in five events, followed by Seguin (3), Lindale (2) and Waxahachie (2).
The Lady Lions feel confident in extending their year, thanks to more than a handful of girls back with regional experience.
"Because of the foundation from last year, we knew we would have a much larger group and much bigger chance at making it to regionals and state," first-year Lady Lions track coach Tracy Walker said. "It feels like last year because we have the same young ladies and a couple new ones. It just feels like we're going to move out of regionals and into state this year."
The Whitehouse boys made familiar noise with their third district title in four years last week.
Whitehouse senior distance runner Troy Hayden heads the Wildcats' contingent after reaching state in the 1600 and 3200 a year ago. Hayden brings the area's top time in the mile (4 minutes, 35 seconds) and second-best clocking in the 3200 (10:03.95) behind Mansfield Legacy's Jeff Weisheit (9:55.84).
JT's Andre Jefferson earned a spot in four events – three of which he comes in third or better. The senior started the year by winning a national indoor title in the long jump (24 feet, 11 inches) and recently won the same event at the Texas Relays with a leap of 24-3. Jefferson made it to area in all three jumps, and as a member of the 400- and 800-meter relays.
The Lions' 4x100 relay ranks second in the area with a time of 41.89 behind Lancaster (41.41). Lancaster's time checks in at No. 19 in the nation, with JT at No. 53 in the U.S.
JT's 4x200 sports the third-best mark in the area behind Lancaster (1:26.47) and Nacogdoches (1:28.71).
Jacksonville senior Dadrian Franklin factors into the high jump conversation, an event that his 6-4 height from district trails only Lancaster's Dakota Austin (6-6). Jefferson jumped 6-6 in the high jump earlier in the year.
Lancaster owns the top mark in eight of 17 area events coming in, followed by Legacy and Red Oak with two each.
Class 4A District 15-16 Area Track and Field Meet
At Tiger Stadium, Lancaster
Noon — Girls: Long Jump, Pole Vault, Discus; Boys: High Jump, Shot Put, Long Jump
2:30 p.m. — Girls: Triple Jump, High Jump, Shot Put: Boys: Pole Vault, Discus, Triple Jump
12:30 p.m. — 3200-meter run
5:30 p.m. — Girls 400-meter relay; 5:35 — Boys 400-meter relay; 5:40 — Girls 800-meter run; 5:48 — Boys 800-meter run — 5:55 — Girls 100-meter hurdles; 6:00 — Boys 110-meter hurdles; 6:10 — Girls 100-meter dash; 6:15 — Boys 100-meter dash; 6:30 — Girls 900-meter relay; 6:38 — Boys 800-meter relay; 6:45 — Girls 400-meter dash — 6:50 — Boys 400-meter dash — 7:00 — Girls 300-meter hurdles; 7:10 — Boys 300-meter hurdles; 7:20— Girls 200-meter dash; 7:25 — Boys 200-meter dash; 7:35 — Girls 1600-meter run; 7:45 — Boys 1600-meter run; 7:55 — Girls 1600-meter relay; 8:05 — Boys 1600-meter relay.
3200 — Jeff Weisheit, Mansfield Legacy, 9:5.84; 4x100 — Lancaster, 41.41; 800 — Alec Saucedo, Red Oak, 1:59.82; 100 hurdles — Lafiel Smith, Lancaster, 14.56; 100 — Danarcus Stewart, Arlington Seguin, 10.73; 4x200 — Lancaster, 1:26.47; 400 — Desmond Anderson, Lancaster, 49.25; 300 hurdles — Anthony Robinson, Lancaster, 38.12 ; 200 — Xavier Caffee, Lancaster, 21.85; 1600 — Troy Hayden, Whitehouse, 4:35.00; 4x400 — Lancaster, 3:18.52; Pole Vault — Noah Gilfillan, Corsicana, 15-0ﾼ; High Jump — Dakota Austin, Lancaster, 6-6; Triple Jump — Tobi Fawehinmi, Mansfield Summit, 46-11ﾽ; Long Jump — Jamarrion Rose, Waxahachie, 22-6ﾼ; Discus — Everett Williams, Mansfield Legacy, 145-11;; Shot Put — Kevin Steward, Red Oak, 49-9ﾽ.
3200 —Maria Castillo, Mansfield Legacy, 11:49.56; 4x100 —Arlington Seguin, 48.00; 800 —Aubrey Ridgeway, Arlington Seguin, 2:17.66; 100 hurdles —Tonea Marshall, Arlington Seguin, 14.32; 100 — Eboni Coby, Lancaster, 11.78; 4x200 —Lancaster, 1:39.23; 400 — Briana Stone, Mansfield Legacy, 57.20; 300 hurdles — Victoria Johnson, Mansfield Legacy, 44.03; 200 — A'Driana Berkhaulter, Lancaster, 24.59; 1600 — Maria Castillo, Mansfield Legacy, 4:37.54; 4x400 — Lancaster, 3:53.28; Pole Vault — Mackenzie Bateman, Lindale, 10-0; High Jump — Travicia Acy, Lindale, 5-5; Triple Jump — Alexis Flores, Lancaster, 36-0ﾽ; Long Jump — Victoria Johnson, Mansfield Legacy, 18-7; Discus — Tochi Nlemchi, Waxahachie, 135-1; Shot Put — Tochi Nlemchi, Waxahachie, 42-0.
John Tyler Area Qualifiers
Boys — Terry Ausborne (200, 4x200, 4x400), Bryston Gipson (triple Jump, 100, 4x100), Reggie Gipson (100, 4x100), Andre Jefferson (long jump, high jump, triple jump, 4x100, 4x200), Traven Johnson (4x400), Jassavia Reese (discus), Xavier Mayfield (800, 4x400), Robbie Washington (300 hurdles, 4x400).
Girls — Jade Caldwell (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles), Briana Callier (long jump, triple jump, 100 hurdles, 4x100), Breuna Gipson (4x200), Jacqueline Kindle (shot put), Sydney Jenkins (100, 4x100), DeShalyn Jones (400, 4x200, 4x400), Jadia Lampton (800), Christina Lampkin (100, 4x100, 4x200), Jasmine Lee (x400), Elwena Key (4x400), Dalelasha Rollins (long jump, triple jump), Sha'Kendra Tilley (400, 4x400), Tanisha Vaughn (200, 4x100, 4x200).