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April 11, 2014

DISTRICT 18-4A TRACK & FIELD MEET —Lady Hornets win fourth consecutive district title with top two finishes in all three relays

BRENHAM — The competition was a little tougher this time around.

In the end, nothing could keep the Lady Hornets squad from winning their fourth consecutive District 18-4A track and field championship on Thursday night at Cub Stadium, while the Huntsville boys finished fourth.

The Lady Hornets got strong performances from freshman Blake Thomason in the 800-meter run and the relay teams all finished second.

“I was in tears tonight,” Lady Hornets girls track and field head coach Kathy Lehman said. “I’m excited. I’m excited for the girls.”

“We could not have done this without all of our coaches like Jason Holbrook, Torie Oliphant, Denver Price, Terrence Bell and Jaleesa Thomas. It takes everybody.”

Competing in her first district track and field meet, Thomason showed no signs of nervousness.

With Brenham’s Cesili Inglehart and Willis’ Victoria Burkhardt hot on her heels at the front, Thomason turned on the afterburners and pulled away down the final stretch. With a time of 2:26.38, Thomason won a district title by a little more than two seconds.

“I felt like I would need to pace myself,” Thomason said. “On the first 400, I felt good. It was a really fast 400. When the (final lap) bell rang, it was just one of those things that you know to push past a wall or a mental block.

“I pushed past that and I tried to open my stride. It was a good race. It was my second-best time. I’m real happy.”

The 4-by-100 and the 4-by-200 relay teams helped keep the Lady Hornets in the title picture after a pair of second-place finishes.

The sprint relay team of Jalynn Archie, Amina Olajuwon, Moesha Straughter and Missy Archie crossed the finish line in a time of 49.00 seconds to take second.

In the 4-by-200 relay, Ashley got it started in the opening leg for the Lady Hornets. Then Olajuwon and Straughter put Huntsville in position to make a run.

“Knowing I was the first one, I had to be the energetic one and start off good,” Ashley said.

After the final turn, Archie started kicking and found her way to the front. The Huntsville girls nearly won the race, finishing just 34 hundredths of a second behind Willis’ squad.

“I felt that if we had a little more time or space, we would’ve caught up to Willis,” Archie said.

The Lady Hornets also got runner-up finishes by Straughter in the 200 meters and by Rickeyshia Barnes in the 400 meters.

“I kicked at the last 200 and I pulled through,” Barnes said. “I feel I have a great chance at area if I keep working.”

With just the 4-by-400 relay to go, the Lady Hornets held a 119-118 lead over Willis, needing only to beat the Lady Wildkats to clinch the title.

The Huntsville girls team of Barnes, Olajuwon, Da’Quisha Houston and Thomason left no doubt and burst out of the blocks.

The Lady Hornets pulled away early and placed second with a time of 4:07.95, while Willis finished sixth.

The Huntsville girls finished with 135 points and Willis was second with 120.

“Tonight, it came down to the 4-by-400 and I knew it was going to be close with Willis,” Lehman said.

The green Huntsville boys did what they needed to do and had a few runners advance to next week’s area meet.

Fabian McCall finished third in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.26 seconds. Caleb Zavala took fourth in the 1,600 meters.

Jacob Price also advanced with a fourth-place finish in the 800 meters.

“We did the best we could do,” Hornets track and field head coach Doug Shaw said. “You see the difference when we’re going up against junior- and senior-laden squads and we’ve got a bunch of sophomores and freshman.

“Caleb was a surprise. Jacob did not surprise me at all and that was his best time and he is one who could step up and make it to regionals.”

Additionally, the Lady Hornets had a few others qualify for next week’s area meet.

Marissa Dixon finished fourth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.95 seconds as well as Emily Villines in the 1,600 meters.

The area meet will be held next Wednesday in Bastrop as the top-four finishers from District 18-4A will square off against the top-four finishers from District 17-4A. The top-four placers will then advance to the Class 4A Region III meet, which is scheduled for April 25-26 at Bowers Stadium.

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