ARLINGTON — John Tyler developed a one-track mind of sorts over the last two weeks, qualify for the state track and field meet.
A large John Tyler contingent travels to the Metroplex for the Class 4A Region II track and field meet starting today.
JT qualified a total of 17 entries to the two-day event, set for half the field events, running preliminaries and the 3200-meter finals today at Maverick Stadium.
The JT boys earned nine regional berths in eight events. The JT girls gained eight entries in seven events.
The Lions’ ensemble features veterans DeVonte Haggerty and Demonte Holloway. Haggerty heads the 4x100 relay, which features D’Carlton Grant, Andre Jefferson and DeQuante Woods, respectively, on the first three legs.
“The only thing we hadn’t got down is our handoffs,” said Haggerty, who signed a national letter of intent to play football next year at Air Force. “If we get our handoffs picture-perfect, like the blink-of-an-eye, we can get (our time low enough to reach state).”
Grant, Holloway, Jefferson and Woods all qualified in multiple events. Grant continued his season in three races, including the 4x200 and open 200, an event he won district in.
“It’s do-or-die for me,” said Grant, a senior going to regionals for the first time. “We’ve worked hard. We know what we need to do.”
Holloway, a senior back in regionals a second straight year, won district in both hurdles events.
“I have to prove myself,” Holloway said. “It’s going to be fun. Since this could be my last chance, I want to go out with a big bang.”
Jefferson jumped his way to regional berths in the long jump and triple jump, to go with his relay responsibilities.
Woods advanced to regionals in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays, and in the 100.
Tarodney Wallace joins Woods in the 100 after finishing fourth in district and capitalizing on his alternate status.
The JT girls go into regionals down one qualifier — freshman Jadia Lampton, the 800-meter district champion.
LaTifah Rainey, a state qualifier in the shot put last year, headlines the Lady Lions. Rainey reached regionals in the discus and shot put, winning gold in the latter.
Danicia Jasper joined Rainey in the discus, an event she won at district.
Tanisha Vaughn, a sophomore, factors into three events: the 200 and 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
DeShaylyn Jones, a sophomore returning to regionals a second straight year, made it in the open 400 and 4x400.
Christina Lampkin also extended her season in one individual race (100) and relay (4x400).
Chrishayna Guyton, a senior member of the mile relay, returns to regionals for the third time along with Rainey.
The Lady Lions, coached by Ricklan Holmes, finished second at the district meet with a team littered with underclassmen.
“This year we’ve all gotten stronger and at district it showed,” said Kentoya Kindles, who runs on the relays and doubles as a JT drum major. “Coach Holmes is all about endurance. He stays on us and it makes us strive harder (whether) it’s a district title or going for regoinals. It’s about pushing ourselves now.”
The top two finishers in each event, and the top bronze-medalist from all four regions, advances to the state meet, set for May 11-12 in Austin.
JT figures to be a serious contender for state berths in the throwing events, and on the track with the 4x100 in particular after running in the 48-second range in district.
“I think with the times we’ve been running,” Holmes said. “It puts us in the mix with Lancaster.”
Rainey represented JT alone at state last year, giving her the itch to return, and with company.
“I want to go back to state,” Rainey said. “But I have unfinished business in Austin. And I want my teammates to go with me.”
John Tyler Regional Qualifiers*
Terry Ausborne 4x200
D’Carlton Grant 200, 4x100, 4x200
DeVonte Haggerty 4x100
Demonte Holloway 110H, 300H
Andre Jefferson LJ, TJ 4x100
Justice Liggins 4x200
Tarodney Wallace 100
DeQuante Woods 100, 4x100, 4x200
Briana Callier 4x100
Chrishayna Guyton 4x400
Kashanti Flowers Relay
Danicia Jasper Discus
Sydney Jenkins 4x100
DeShalyn Jones 400, 4x400
Christina Lampkin 100, 4x100
LaTifah Rainey Discus, Shot Put
Tanisha Vaughn 200, 4x100, 4x400
Amicia Williams 4x400
Khadaysia Young Relay
*— Relay alternates include (boys) Reggie Gipson, Greg Johnson and Chester Vaughn; and (girls) Breuna Gipson and Kentoya Kindles.
Class 4A Region II Track and Field Championships
At UT Arlington
2 p.m. — Pole Vault (boys); 3 — Triple Jump (girls, boys), High Jump (boys); 4 — Shot Put (boys), Discus (girls)
5:15 p.m. — 400-meter relay; 5:45 — 800-meter run; 6:10 — 100-meter hurdles; 6:20 — 110-meter hurdles; 6:35 — 100-meter dash; 6:55 — 800-meter relay; 7:25 — 400-meter dash; 7:50 — 300-meter hurdles; 8:15 — 200-meter dash. 8:35 — 3200-meter run; 9:05 — 1600-meter relay.
#—All races preliminary except for 3,200 finals