A host of area track and field athletes begin their final push to next month’s state finals today, as nine schools will compete in the regional finals at three sites.

Class 3A and 5A performers will be participating in Humble, while Class 4A competitors will be at Bearkat Stadium on the campus of Sam Houston State University. Class 2A athletes will compete at Whitehouse High School.

Considerable attention will be focused in Huntsville, where Texas City junior Asa Garcia will take part in five events, beginning with her trademark, the triple jump. Garcia holds the top performance in the nation at 42 feet, 3.75 inches during last month’s Texas Relays in Austin. Garcia will also compete in the long jump before hitting the field, where she will run in the 200-meter dash along with the 400 and 800  runs with the rest of coach Denise Callis’ “Gang of Five,” Lawren Crawford, Aerial Smith, Melicha Smith and Carmen White.

Dickinson’s 400 relay team struggled with injuries during the season, yet has come alive in their last two meets, as it recorded season-best times in each. The Gators team of Jacoby Fowler, Brad Woodard, Joshua Brown and Jeremy Zachary feel they have hit their stride at the right time as they will take on the best 5A teams in Region III.

“We’ve worked as hard as we can to get here,” said Brown. “The talent has always been here, but it has been a case of just putting all together.”

The Gators, who also qualified for the 800 relay (DeDaniel Baker replaces Zachary), where they will take on a Clear Creek team (Kaliq Kokuma, Satchel McElroy, Dylan Richardson, Landry Etzel) that edged them in a thrilling final leg during last week’s area meet in Dickinson.

Also in Humble, Clear Springs’ Thai Williams will compete in four events — long jump, triple jump and 100 and 200 dashes. Williams also will run in the 800 relay with teammates Naomi Taylor, Aundreya Tidewell and Sarah White.

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