DICKINSON — District 24-5A more than held its own during Wednesday’s area meet against a District 23-5A loaded with some of the best track and field talent in the state.
Each of the 24-5A schools performed well, yet Dickinson, Clear Creek and Clear Springs stood out.
One of the more exciting moments of the evening at Sam Vitanza Field came in the boys 800-meter relay, when Clear Creek held off 24-5A rival Dickinson in a thrilling race the Wildcats won in 1 minute, 28.315 seconds, a mere 16-hundredths of a second better than the Gators.
“We gave the best we had,” said Clear Creek’s Satchel McElroy. “We got it done. It’s all about competing every step we can.”
McElroy and teammates Kaliq Kokuma, Dylan Richardson and Landry Etzel advanced to next weekend’s regional at Sam Houston State in Huntsville after Etzel was able to fend off Dickinson’s DeDaniel Baker in a heart-stopping final stretch.
Fort Bend Hightower, regarded as one of the best 800-meter teams in the state, lost its chance to compete when after a bad exchange during the third leg.
Dickinson won the boys 400 relay with a season-best 41.62. The Gators ran with an ill Jeramy Zachary, who was bedridden most of last weekend and was considered doubtful as late as Tuesday afternoon.
“We didn’t know if he could go,” said Gators teammate Joshua Brown, “but he told us (Tuesday night) that we could count on him to be there. That really inspired us to go out and give it our best.”
Brown advanced to regionals in both the 400 and 800 relays, along with the 200 dash, where he finished third (22.48).
The Gators also got first-place finishes from Lauryn Caldwell, who won both the girls’ discus (151 feet, 10 inches) and shot put (45-0), while Blake Carlisle finished third in the boys 110 hurdles.
“It feels real good going into regionals that coming off a win makes me work harder,” said Caldwell, who was first at the District 24-5A meet.
Clear Springs’ Thai Williams won the girls 100 (12.51) and 200 (25.28). Williams also finished third in the long jump (17-10.5) and will run in the girls 400 relay with teammates Naomi Taylor, Sarah White and Aundreya Tidwell and their second-place showing (47.54).
The Chargers also will have regional representatives in LaDamian Coney, who won the boys’ triple jump (46-8.5), while the Springs girls will have its 800 relay team (first), Fernanda Horrillo (first, 3,200, second in the 1,600), Taylor (second, 100 hurdles) and Tidwell (second, 100).
Clear Falls had its share of regional qualifiers, led by Ashlyn Dunbar, who won the girls’ high jump (5-4), Skyler Ruszkowski (second, high jump), Rachel Boller (third, 300 hurdles) and Mackenzie Ilaril (third, 1,600 and 3,200). The Knights boys team was highlighted by Conner Cordova, who won the 300 hurdles (38.21), and Micah Castillo (second, 3,200), John Humphrey (third, 100) and Mason Thompson (second, discus).