Lady Dawgs and Bulldawgs send five each to Region I-6A Track and Field Championships to compete in 8 events
By TJ MAXWELL
WACO - Copperas Cove seniors Amber Boyd and Josh Canete know something about redemption.
Boyd has been redeeming herself since her running career began and, with a silver-medal finish in the 1,600-meter run behind Belton rival Brooke Gilmore at the District 7-6A/8-6A Area Track and Field Championships at Midway High School on Thursday, she is aiming at redemption once again.
“I just didn’t push enough in the last lap like I usually do so I was kind of disappointed,” Boyd said of her 1,600-meter run performance.
“I just want to beat (Brooke) again but I’m training a little more for the 800 than the mile because my coach thinks I can make it to state in the 800. I am doing more of a speed workout but I just feel I didn’t push myself enough this meet to run hard like I usually do.”
Boyd held the lead over Gilmore for 3 ½ laps but Gilmore inched closer and closer before making her move in the final half lap. Boyd finished with a mark of 5:14.05 for the silver medal and Gilmore notched a time of 5:12.91 for the gold. Also qualifying for regionals in the event were Monica Carroll of Desoto (5:31.33) and Mia Miller of Waco Midway (5:33.70)
Boyd held off the field for a gold medal earlier in the day in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:17.76 with Desoto’s Carroll finishing just behind at 2:18.41. Zoe Pearson of Shoemaker (2:21.02) and Kendria Holmes of Desoto (2:21.64) took the final two qualifying spots.
“I felt good but when I got to the first lap I realized I was running really slow,” said Boyd. “I was supposed to be at 1:04 but I was at 1:07 but I pulled it out. She was coming up on me in the last 100 so I picked it up a little so she wouldn’t pass me then she fell off a little.”
Boyd also qualified for regionals in the 4x400m relay along with teammates freshman Anayah Copeland, senior Imari Neal and junior Talia Kinslow. They finished fourth with a new school record of 3:58.70 for the final qualifying spot. Desoto smoke the competition with a time of 3:44.59 for the gold with Duncanville (3:48.52) and Killeen Shoemaker 3:55.79 taking second and third, respectively.
Sophomore Aidan Chace rounds out the five Lady Dawgs moving on to the Region I-6A meet at Maverick Stadium in Arlington April 28-29.
She finished tied for second with Duncanville senior Lauren Bowie in the high jump with a mark of 5-feet even. Midway senior Toronica Duncan won with a mark of 5-feet-4.
Canete had some redemption on his mind as well after finishing as runner up to Belton’s Garrison Vaughn at the District meet in Belton two weeks prior.
He went on to set his personal best mark of 6-feet, 9-inches to win gold and move on to regionals. He also narrowly missed attempts at 6-11.
“It was definitely motivation,” Canete said of losing to Vaughn at the district meet. “Garrison Vaughn got first place last week and that motivated me to do better, push harder and get a PR this week.
“I came out strong and I felt good. I was just really focused on (getting a personal record) today. Last week I didn’t do to well with coming in second place and doing probably the worst I’ve done all year. I just had to come back and do better than last week.”
High jump coach Chase Gommert believes Canete can reach that 6-11 mark if not more.
“He’s working on the fundamentals and getting better week-to-week. He placed fifth at the Texas Relays. We’re just pushing him to try and get to 7-feet. That’s our goal this year to get a school record.”
He also believes Canete is peaking at the right time and a few adjustments could just get him there.
“His form looks really good,” he said. “We’re just working on a few things like a longer run through because it takes a longer approach to reach those higher heights.
“For the most part he looked really good today. He just needs to get his hips up and hips through and he’ll be good.”
Canete looked in peak form as he only missed one attempt on the entire day on his way to the gold medal. He made every height on his first attempt before taking two to win gold at 6-9.
“It gives me confidence,” Canete said of his near-flawless performance. “I think I can get better and I think I can get 6-11. I just need to keep working and practicing.
“I just need to practice harder. My form was looking a lot better this week. I think if I run faster and pick up my speed in my jump I’ll be a lot better next week.”
Freshman Kobe Webster of MacArthur (6-feet-6), senior Darius Prescott of Desoto (6-feet-4) and junior Byron Hanspar of Desoto (6-feet-4) round out the regional qualifiers in the high jump.
Joining Canete in Arlington will be sophomore Kyle Stifflemire, senior Reginald Mouton, senior Eric Caine and senior Dahmir Pearson.
Stifflemire finished second in the pole vault with mark of 13-feet even with Ellison senior James Turner taking the top spot with a vault of 14-feet. Senior Cameron Carson of Desoto (12-feet-6) and senior Matt Mahler of Belton claimed the final two spots.
Cove junior Darius Fuselier (12-feet) just missed the cut in fifth.
Caine finished third in the 100m dash with a mark of 11.04 to earn a spot at regionals. Senior A.J. Pemberton of Harker Heights took the top spot with a mark of 10.85 and senior Elijah Jones of Duncanville claimed silver at 11 seconds flat. Senior Carlos Wilson of Killeen (11.04) took the final spot.
Mouton and Pearson both qualified in the 800m run with Mouton taking the silver medal with a time of 1:56.38 behind Killeen senior Cinque Sambula (1:55.48). Desoto junior Carson Traylor (1:57.84) finished third and Pearson raced up from sixth to fourth for the final spot and time of 1:58.02.
Also competing for the Lady Dawgs were sophomore Mahal Thorpe (7th 100m hurdles – 15.81); the 4x200m relay team of Copeland, junior Sha’Kiya Williams, Kinslow and junior Mariyah Reynolds (8th – 1:44.18) and Copeland (7th 400m dash – 58.06).
Also competing for the Bulldawgs were the 4x100m relay team of A.J. Acosta, Mouton, sophomore Shontez Simmons and Caine (7th – 42.51); 4x200m relay team of Acosta, Mouton, Simmons and Caine (8th – 1:31.74); Pearson (7th 300m hurdles – 48.08); Simmons (6th 200m dash – 22.35); sophomore Quinton Ford (5th long jump - 22-feet-5 and 6th triple jump – 45-feet-7 ¾); junior Daveon Thomas (5th shot put – 47-feet-5) and senior Tyson Curry (6th shot put – 46-feet-6 1/2).