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Monday, April 15, 2002

Eagle girls win district track title, boys place second

Staff Writer

The Clint Lions girls were happy to win the final event of the day  at the District 2-4A Track and Field Championships, the 1600-meter  relay. But the Pecos Eagles girls were even happier to finish third.

Third gets you a medal, but only a regional alternate berth. However, the Eagles were still celebrating because by finishing third they were able to clinch their first girls' district track and field title in over 30 years, as they edged the Lions by a 150-147 margin Saturday afternoon at Eagle Stadium.

Pecos went into the 1600-meter finals 11 points ahead of Clint and needed to finish no worse than two places behind the Lions to win the 2-4A title. "I asked them to place third. We were seeded fourth in that race, but we were able to move up a spot and that's what pulled us through," said Eagles' coach Roxie Chavez, as senior Christina Arenivas was able to pull away from Canutillo on the final lap to earn third place and the district title.

The girls qualified four individuals and their 800 meter relay team for the Region I-4A Championships at Angelo State University, while the boys will be sending both of their relay teams plus five individual qualifiers to San Angelo next weekend, though they were beaten out by El Paso Mountain View for the team title. Mountain View won with 176 points to 146 for the Eagles and 116 for third place Clint.

"I knew that catching them was going to be the hard part, but I'm happy to be taking a bunch to regionals," said coach Jerry Parent, who had only one regional qualifier a year ago.

Stephanie Herrera was the Eagles' only first place finisher on the girls side at district last year, and she picked up her second straight gold medal in the discus, while finishing second by a half-inch to Canutillo's Maria Hurtardo in the shot put. Herrera beat Hurtardo in the discus by just under 10 feet, winning with a 121-foot throw, while going 34-foot-1 in the shot put to earn a second regional berth.

In the running finals, Jessica Martinez qualified in two events, placing second in the 800 and 1600 meter runs after earning a regional spot on Friday in the high jump, also with a second place finish. She ran a 2:42.17 in the 800 to finish five seconds in back of Mountain View's Adriana Mendez and had a 5:56.34 in the 1600 meters, six seconds behind Fabens' Christina Herrera. In the high jump, Martinez went 4-11 to finish one inch behind Fabens' Ashley Garcia.

The other gold medal for Pecos came from Tiana Terry, Mindy Harrison, Jessica Rodriguez and Christina Arenivas in the 800-meter relay. The team advanced to regionals as the second place finisher last year and this time held off Fabens and Mountain View to win with a 1:51.00 time. Fabens was second with a 1:52.16 and Mountain View finished with a 1:52.82 time.

"The mile girls (Martinez, Nikki Reyna and Leslie Rodriguez) and the 800 meter relay really produced," said Chavez, who added that the relay team and Herrera each had their best efforts of the year in winning first place.

Rodriguez and Arenivas also advanced to regionals individually, Rodriguez by placing second to Clint's Selina Moreno in the 200 meters and Arenivas by finishing second to the Lions' Claudia Villanueva in the 300 meter hurdles. Arenivas ran a 51.47 to Villanueva's 51.15, while Rodriguez had a 28.47 in the 200 to Moreno's 26.75 and a 28.85 for her teammate, Patty Wagner.

"They worked hard the whole year, and I said if they worked hard it would pay off," said Chavez, who is in her first year coaching the Eagles, after they placed third at district last April.

The boys, who had one gold medal at district last year and finished fourth overall, picked up four gold medals in this year's meet, from Will Armstrong in the pole vault on Friday and from Rashad Terry and the 400 meter relay team on Saturday.

Armstrong and Terry were both members of the 400 meter squad, along with Peter Juarez and Jason Sanchez, and ran a 44.03, their best time so far this year. Armstrong and Justin Lara both qualified the previous day in the pole vault, Lara winning with a 12-foot-6 effort while Armstrong cleared 12-feet.

Terry took the 100-meter dash in 11.02 seconds, and came back later to win the 200-meter dash in 22.97 seconds. Earlier in the morning, the freshman placed fourth in the high jump, clearing 5-foot-10.

Juarez and Sanchez also will be going to regionals in a second event, as members of the 1600-meter relay team that finished second to Mountain View. The Lobos won with a 3:31.87 time, while Juarez held off Clint's Base Leyva for second by .09 seconds, with a 3:36.62 time.

"Peter did tough it out at the end," said Parent. "Both our relays exceeded their best times."

Ricky Plummer and Jason Gonzales were the other members of the mile relay team, and Gonzales also advanced to regionals in the 110-meter high hurdles. He ran a 15.59 to place second to Clint's Kenyon Mulli (14.97), and later was third behind Mountain View's Gilbert Lopez and Mulli in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles.

Tony Trujillo was the Eagles' other regional qualifier. He placed second to Clint's Rolando Castro in the shot put, based on second-best throw, as both had 45-foot-8 efforts.

Aside from Gonzales' third place finish in the 300 meter hurdles, which earned him a regional alternate's berth, the Eagles' other third place finishers were Sanchez in the triple jump, with a 40-foot-8 leap, John Parent in the discus, with a 127-foot-3½ effort, and Armstrong in the 200 meters, where he was just edged out by one-tenth of a second for second place by Canutillo's Isai DeLaRosa, with a 23.55 time.

"We have one going in the 200 and we almost had two if he hadn't faltered at the finish," said Parent. "Will leaned back and that other kid just beat him."

Armstrong was also sixth in the 100-meter dash, while Juarez placed fourth in the 400 meters, fifth in the long jump and sixth in the triple jump. Jack Bradley finished fourth in the 110 meter hurdles, fifth in the 300 meters and sixth in the high jump; Isaiah Juarez was fourth and Justin Mora fifth in the 800 meter run; Max Miranda was fifth in the shot put and Genaro Machuca was sixth in the 1600 meter run.

On the girls' side, aside from the 1600 meter relay team's third place finish Terry earned a bronze medal in the 100 meter dash, finishing .07 seconds behind Nora Chaparro of Clint for the second regional berth with a 13.07 time, Arenivas placed third in the long jump, going 15-foot-7¾, Nikki Reyna was third in the high jump, with a 4-foot-8 leap, and Harrison was third in both the 400 meter dash, with a 66.83 time and the triple jump, with a 31-foot-11½ effort.

Leslie Rodriguez was fourth and Reyna fifth in the 800-meter run, and Rodriguez also earned points with a fifth place finish in the high jump and 1600 meter run. Harrison was fourth in the long jump; Terry placed fifth in the triple jump, Becca Wein was fifth in the discus; Maricela Mares was fifth in the 200 meter dash and sixth in the 100 meters; Alessandra was sixth in the 400 meter dash and the Eagles' 400 meter relay team of Herrera, Mares, Terry and Carrasco finished fourth.

The five girls and seven boys advancing to regionals for Pecos are the most since 1999, when the Eagles sent 12 to Region I-4A competition in their first year as a member of District 2-4A. They sent nine to San Angelo in 1998, which was their final year as a member of District 4-4A, which matched them with Andrews, Big Spring, San Angelo Lake View, Sweetwater and Fort Stockton. The last two have already dropped to Class 3A, which is where the Eagles will be going next year, as a member of District 4-3A.

Regional competition will be Friday and Saturday, April 26-27 at Angelo State University, with basically the same format as this weekend's district meet. Running preliminaries and some field event finals will be held Friday afternoon and evening, while the remaining field events will be early Saturday and the running finals Saturday evening. The top two finishers in each event will advance to the Class 4A state finals at the University of Texas-Austin on May 10-11.

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Pecos Enterprise
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