Bishop Gorman wants to keep Rev. Jerome Milton around a little longer — at least for another week.
The TKG track and field coach for 25 years will hang up his whistle after this season, but he hopes to finish it at the state meet April 2-3. To do so, he'll need his team to come through Friday at the TAPPS 4A North Region.
"State's next week and I want to end my career at state," Milton said.
The top four finishers in each event at today's meet hosted by Carrollton Prince of Peace advance to the state meet at Baylor's Hart-Patterson Complex in Waco.
Gorman enters the regional meet with 16 girls and 11 boys qualifying from TAPPS 2-4A. The Lady Crusaders won the district meet while the boys finished third. Both teams won the East Texas Private School Championship meet earlier in the year.
The Gorman girls boast a young squad with nine freshmen that nonetheless has continued the program's trend of winning championships — 16 in all among boys and girls under Milton's watch.
"To have that many freshmen to qualify with a strong group of upperclassmen that we have, I'm very excited about our boys and our girls," Milton said.
The Lady Crusaders are led by a strong contingent of long-distance runners. Sharon Kariampuzha and Anna Pritchard each won a silver and bronze in the 3,200 and 1,600 at the district meet. Joanna Bartley is also qualified in the 3,200.
Gorman also has two relays competing at regionals, the 4x200 (Katie Lauffer, Hannah Detwiler, Olivia Dugan, Monica Hand) and 4x400 (Kelly Frossard, Lauffer, Dugan, Hand).
Others qualifying for the Lady Crusaders include: Dugan (high jump), Claire Mittica (high jump), Kianna Udenze (shot put), Abbie Guevara (100 hurdles), Hannah Detwiler (100), Sara Goforth (400), Reid Laine (400), Frossard (800), Gillian Parma (300 hurdles) and Natalie Detwiler (300 hurdles).
The Gorman guys, coached by Randy McFarlin, qualified two relay teams, the 4x200 (Collin Parks, Taylor Hurst, Connor Hobbs, Luis Vasquez) and 4x400 (Hobbs, Chance Findlay, Patrick Cunningham, Noah Kemp).
Kemp and Hurst also go into the meet as district champions in the 400 and 200, respectively. Others competing for the Crusaders include: Adam Aucar (high jump, triple jump), Hobbs (high jump), Nicholas DiPaolo (3,200), Vasquez (100), Findlay (800) and Hunter Pilgrim.
"They've got pep in their step, grace in their pace, they never retreated to defeat," Milton said of his team.
Grace Community, which finished fourth in the girls and fifth in the boys at the district meet, will be involved in a number of events at the regional meet.
For the girls, Emma Yeatts enters as the high jump district champion and triple jump runner-up, the event in which she's the defending state champ. She also was fourth in long jump. Fellow senior Lexi Trimble won the 100.
Also competing for the Lady Cougars are Sarah Zandstra (pole vault), Madison Newman (long jump) and the 4x100 relay team.
Cougars pole vaulter Mason Dacus won the district title and will be joined at the regional meet by James Edwards (pole vault), Chris Wilhelmi (triple jump), Josh Spitzer (100), Jerrod Gilley (400), Trevor Massenburge (400), James Burden (800) and the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.