By CLINT FOSTER
AUSTIN – Senior DaShawn Hicks and junior Juvaree Sutton had dreams of returning to Mineral Wells with gold medals from their respective events at the UIL Track and Field State Meet.
But despite strong starts, both athletes were hampered by untimely, mid-race injuries over the weekend in Austin and saw their championship aspirations unfulfilled.
Both Hicks and Sutton finished sixth in their events at state: Hicks in the 100-meter dash and Sutton in the 300-meter hurdles.
For Hicks – who had designs on earning a gold medal to cap off a remarkable comeback from a December knee injury that required surgery – 2014's state meet turned out to be the last chapter in a long line of hard luck in each of his previous three appearances in Austin.
Last year, it was a false start that disqualified Hicks from the 100 at state. This time, it was his knee – choosing the most inconvenient time to nag him despite carrying him to a gold-medal finish at regionals in Lubbock just two weeks before.
"I got a good start out of the blocks and then my knee popped and it just threw me off balance," Hicks said of his final race as a Ram. "I slowed up and just went through the rest of the race. I guess I just wasn't ready to go that fast, yet. I don't know.
"It sucked. I mean, I didn't really hang my head on it, though. I was just blessed to be able to run there anyway. It bothered me [to not win], but not extremely."
Hicks finished in 10.80 for sixth. It was well off of the 10.61 he ran at regionals to qualify and his personal-best 10.28 at last year's area meet.
Head coach Jackie Harvey said he was surprised Hicks wasn't able to run at his peak at state, especially considering the good week of practice leading up to the trip south.