By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (April 24, 2017) — The cream has risen to the top in UIL track and field, with just one cut remaining before the best of the best in each of classifications compete at the state meet.
Stephenville has 19 athletes competing at the Region I-4A Track and Field Meet in Lubbock this weekend. Field events begin at 9 a.m. both Friday and Saturday at Lowrey Field, with running preliminaries set for 2:30 p.m. Friday and running finals for 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
The top two in each event advances to the state meet automatically, with third place in each event having a shot at the wild card state berth. To reach state, a third place competitor must post the best regional mark or time of third-place finishers in all four regions.
Stephenville has the top ranked 4A boys high jumper in junior Blake Aragon. He achieved his lofty status by clearing 6 feet, 10 inches at the 8-4A district meet in Midlothian on April 10. Three jumpers, including district and area rival Taylor Levine and regional competitor Anthony Garza of Vernon, have cleared 6-8.
Aragon isn’t the only athlete coached by Joe Carter who expects to advance to Austin for the UIL Track & Field State Meet May 11-13 at Mike A. Meyers Stadium. At 5-6, Honeybee junior Jordan Carter is part of a four-way tie for second in the 4A girls rankings compiled by athletic,net, a go-to website for track and field results around the state. Also in second is Ally Andress of Glen Rose, who Carter defeated for the 8-4A title but finished second to in last week’s area competition in Springtown.
Aragon competes at 9 a.m. Friday and Carter at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Stephenville has the top two discus throwers in the region entering this weekend’s meet. Nadine Arredondo passed teammate Vicki Dahl and a host of other in the statewide rankings, moving to fourth in 4A and first in the region with her area meet-winning throw of 129-4. Dahl, a Danish exchange student who came to Stephenville with experience throwing the hammer, is ranked third in the region and ninth in the class at 125-5.
Big Spring’s Carlie Roberts is in between Arredondo and Dahl with a season-best throw of 129-2. No other throwers in the region have topped 113-4. Alyssa Northcutt gives Stpehenville three regional competitors in the event after placing fourth at area at 109-10.
Arredondo and Dahl are also regional qualifiers in the shot put and are rained fourth and fifth, respectively. Arredondo’s season best is 38-1.5, and Dahl’s is 36-5. Arredondo has peaked at the right time, throwing her season best in both events at last week’s area competition.
Also in the field, Hailey Martin is ranked fourth in the triple jump at 36-6.5, the mark that earned her a second-place finish at the 8-4A district meet. She is chasing Kaitlyn Mathews of Big Spring (39-1), Dejah Fuller of Waxahachie Life (37-5) and Andress (36-9.25), after also gunning for Fuller and Andress at district and area events.
On the track for the Honeybees, Kylee Ponder is a favorite to advance to state in the 100 meter dash. She ran a season best 12.36 at the area meet, trailing only the 11.62 that Kennedale’s Alexis Brown used to win the same meet. Only five hundredths of a second separates second from fifth in the regional rankings, with Kennedale’s Julia Mosely (12.37), Wichita Falls Hirschi’s Di’Jhanae Ware (12.39) and Big Spring’s Kailey Mathews (12.41) right on Ponder’s heels.
The Honeybee 4×200 meter relay team is ranked fifth in the region after a season-best 1:46.59 at the area competition. Kristen Pettit ran opening leg, followed by Bailey McBee, Martin and Ponder. McBee is also ranked sixth in the 100 hurdles at 15.56, and Payton Wall is ranked seventh in the 300 hurdles at 47.21. McBee’s best time came from the area meet and Wall’s from the district competition.
Martin is ranked 10th in the long jump at 17-1.5, a season best she posted Granbury’s Johnny Perkins Relays on March 9.
The Yellow Jackets are ranked eighth in the 4×100 relay, with Krece Nowak, Pacen Parker, Cole Pettit and Rett Dittfurth posting a season-best time of 43.24 at the district meet.