By BRAD KEITH
LUBBOCK (April 28, 2017) — Blake Aragon and Nadine Arredondo are headed to state, with more Stephenville athletes hoping to join them.
Aragon, a junior high jumper, cleared 6 feet, 6 inches, placing second to the 6-7 by Anthony Garza of Vernon at the Region I-4A Track & Field Meet at Lowrey Field Friday.
“It feels pretty good. I was expecting to take first all the way through, but it doesn’t matter how you get (to state) as long as you do,” said Aragon. “Coach (Joe) Carter has helped me a lot. I came into the season with a (personal record) of 6-2, and I increased that eight inches to 6-10.”
He secured the first Stephenville trip to the UIL Track & Field State Meet in two years Friday morning, and that’s where his focus immediately turned.
“I think this sets the tempo well for us this weekend, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of us can do.”
The next Stephenville ticket to state was punched less than two hours later.
Arredondo, a senior, has two chances to advance to state and took full advantage of the first, placing second in the discus throw at 126-1. Arredondo was third coming out of the second flight, but jumped into first on her opening throw of the finals and remained there until the final throw of the competition. Big Spring’s Carlie Roberts delivered a throw of 127-1 on the final attempt of the conversation.
Both competitors will be making their first trips to state. Arredondo also competes in the shot put at regional meet on Saturday when remaining field events begin at 9 and 11 a.m., followed by running finals at 2:30 p.m.
All three Honeybee regional qualifiers in the discus reached the finals, putting an exclamation point on a season full of successes by Arredondo, Vicki Dahl and Alyssa Northcutt.
Hailey Martin finished fifth in the girls long jump with a best effort of 16-7-1/4. The junior will be in the triple jump and two relays on Saturday.
Honeybees Kylee Ponder and Bailey McBee had the biggest highlights on the track, with Ponder lowering her personal best in the 100 meter dash by 36-hundredths of a second to win the first heat and post the second fastest preliminary time of 12.04.
“It was great, everything since I was injured last year has been done for the purpose of peaking here this weekend,” said Ponder. “This last week, Coach (Jeremiah) Bouchey and I have been working on my start, just doing everything right out of the blocks and it paid off today.”
Her approach to Saturday is nothing extravagant. On the contrary, it’s as simple as can be.
“Run fast,” she said. “That’s it, just run fast.”
McBee gave a little fist pump as she crossed the finish line in the 100 hurdles, and for good reason. The sophomore crossed the line in 15.48 seconds to win her heat, and like Ponder after her, is the No. 2 seed in the finals.
The top two in each event – track and field – advance to the state meet May 12 and 13 at Mike A. Meyers Stadium in Austin. Honeybee Jordan Carter is also favored to get there in the girls high jump, set for 9 a.m. Saturday.
Other finals qualifiers for Stephenville include the boys and girls 4×100 meter relay teams, the girls 4×200 meter relay and Lane Rust and Emily Kirbo in the 1,600 meter. The latter two will compete in 16-runner fields as there was no prelim in the 1,600.
TheFlashToday.com photos by BRAD KEITH