This track and field season has been one of surprises and even shocking moments.
Key sprinters Senior Nydia Cushinberry and Ari Williams were both out right before district, at a crucial time, due to injuries, and this meant our ladies’ track team had to make unexpected changes to their events the remaining season.
“This team has carried a lot because we lost Nydia and Ari due to torn hamstrings, and we’ve had to step up, and it’s been really hard,” said Senior Jayci Campbell. “It has been good though because we have learned perseverance and we’ve learned how to get out of our comfort zone and run events we haven’t before like Junior Mackensey Culp is running the 4×2, Hannah Turner is running the 4×4, who normally participate in field events.”
Senior Lauren Kelley, who ran the 100 meter for the first time this year, and normally only runs relays says she was shocked when she won 3rd place in the 100m and qualified for state.
“It was kind of a shock because track is not really my main sport, and I never ran the 100m before District, I only ran relays before,” said Kelley, who ended up running a 13.00 time at the TAPPS 4A State meet May 4th, placing 6th.
Strength found its way to the girls team with Freshman Kennedy Phillips winning first place at State in Shot Put with 35’0.5”.
Note that Phillips is a freshman, and not expecting to beat upperclassmen in a sport requiring such strength and form under pressure, even though she had won District and Regionals as well.
Another factor that made our track team stronger, was we gained new track athletes who have never competed in track and field events before.
Junior Kameron Stokes, who runs the 100m and 4x100m relay tried track for the first time this year because he wants to be faster by the time football season rolls around.
“This is my first year doing track, and I was honestly surprised to make it to regionals in the 100 [meter race],” said Stokes. “That was my first taste of success.”
Kam’s 4x100m relay team, which also included Seniors Tyler Osborne and Langston Pugh, and Junior Matthew Tucker, placed 4th at the 4A state meet. Tucker and Osborne also ran the 4×4 with Senior Abe Morden and Sophomore Brandon Lawrence, placing third with 3:30.88, beating out Pantego by 3 seconds.
While we have a successful running team, the men’s throwing team has been setting new records and claiming qualifying places. Junior Matthew Chester, who threw the discus 129.9ft at the District track meet on the 17 of April, placed in first. Senior Angel Nava, placed first in Shot Put with a personal record of 45’3” and Sophomore Kendon Johnson placed 6th with 40’ 7”.
Underclassmen are already looking forward to next year.
“Our track team will be even stronger next year because all of our juniors will be seniors,” Junior Josh Holm said.
Coaches make a huge impact on our team. Coaching staff from different walks of life and experience have come and gone, but a few have stayed and made the team great. Head Track Coach Chad Pegues, has been side by side with the team for 11 years helping them progress with the help of Coach Cedric Stewart, Coach Katie Smith, and Coach Tim Crumpton.
“Coach P. has helped me a lot because the little techniques that I don’t have down, he’s like helped me get better at them and make sure they’re on point,” said Nava about Coach Pegues’ throwing coaching.
Running Coach Stewart received high praise as well for his running coaching.
“Coach C. taught us patience, proper form, and running mechanics,” said Stokes.
Coach Pegues reflects on the season.
“The Track season went well and we did overcome blocks in the roads to get to where we are now,” said Pegues.
In the track banquet, Coach Pegues said one of his high-lights was when our ladies’ track team prayed with another team they were competing against because that team had just lost their coach and were really upset, but our girls’ prayers became a witness of strength and love to the other teams.