Tyler schools to battle for TAPPS 2-4A track supremacy

The Bishop Gorman track and field team will compete in the TAPPS 2-4A district meet Thursday in Carrollton. The Lady Crusaders (left) won the meet last year while the Crusaders (right) took third. Grace Community won the boys meet in 2012, with the girls finishing in a tie for second. (Victor Texcucano | Tyler Morning Telegraph)

Last year the Bishop Gorman girls track and field team reclaimed the district championship after a long run was halted in 2011.

Now the Lady Crusaders are out to start a new streak.

And after Grace Community won the program's first two district titles back to back, the Cougars are eager to extend their own streak.

The TAPPS 2-4A track and field championships are Thursday at Carrollton Prince of Peace and the Tyler schools will be hoping to return the hardware to the Rose City.

In their pursuit of a second straight title, the Lady Crusaders will be led by Texas Tech signee Maddie Raney. The senior captain will compete in the high jump, long jump and all three relays.

"We're looking for a lot of big things out of Maddie Raney," the Rev. Jerome Milton, Bishop Gorman coach, said.

Others Milton said he will look to for points include: Kimi Prevost (shot put, discus), Allie Buzbee (long jump, triple jump, 4x100) and Melissa Carney (discus), as well as distance runners Sharon Kariampuzha, Victoria MacClements, Kelly O'Neill and Kelly Frossard.

"They are absolutely (motivated) in their spirits, their hearts," Milton said. "They are focused, they are dedicated, committed. They're going to give everything and everything they don't have to retain the title."

Hot on their heels will be the Lady Cougars, who have already won two meets this year.

"We've got the strongest group of girls that we've had," Grace coach Mike Maddox said. "We're real proud of them. They've made progress every year."

Emma Yeatts has been a standout performer for Grace this season in the high jump, long jump and triple jump. Monica Lim leads the Lady Cougars distance runners while Maddox expects Sydney Sumpter and Mikaila Massenburge to have strong showings in hurdles. Kirby Edwards (pole vault) and Rilee Miller (shot put, discus, relays) will also factor in, Maddox said.

All Saints runners Allie Werner and Kendall Spinks will be among the competitors for the Lady Trojans.

The Cougars come in to district having won one meet and hoping to stave off competition from host Prince of Peace and their Tyler rivals.

Standout junior Kade Clayton leads the Grace boys into the meet having won state in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles last year, though he failed to win district in the 300.

Clayton has managed to maintain his speed, Maddox said, even after bulking up for football, in which he's receiving interest from the likes of Houston, SMU and Texas State.

"He's been running really well," Maddox said of Clayton, who also does long jump. "He's about 20 pounds heavier but he's kept his speed up, which is good."

Maddox said key figures for Grace in the field events include Josh Boylan (shot put, discus), Clayton Hendry and Verlo Levels in high jump, James Edwards and Mason Dacus in pole vault, Blake White in triple jump and Chandler Nutt in long jump.

In running events, Maddox said Grace needs its relays to come through to retain its district title. James Burden and David Fraga will run distances.

From All Saints, Logan Klouda (400), Spencer Ball (200) and Cameron Huckabee (800), among others, will be vying for points.

For Gorman, seniors Matthew Roe in the shot put and Cale Tucker in the relays lead the way for Gorman, along with Adam Aucar (long jump, triple jump, high jump) and distance runners Nick DiPaolo and Chance Findlay, Milton said.

"Coach Reggie Wilson, who's been coordinating the boys team for me, has done just an outstanding job, does an outstanding job," Milton said. "Our team is focused, our team is ready and we're ready to stand the test, we're ready for this contest. There will be grace in every pace and we're a praying team, we're a dreaming team and a winning team.

"We look forward to an outstanding contest."

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