By TONY EIERDAM
At first glance, the highlight of last week’s District 6-3A Track and Field Meet for Mineral Wells High School was the Rams winning the boys’ varsity meet.
MWHS prides itself on track accomplishments, and it employs one of the if not the best high school track coach in the state, Jackie Harvey.
But after the meet Harvey seemed more pleased that he is sending 27 athletes in all but two events to the newly-created ‘area” meet, which will be Wednesday at Springtown.
Field events start at 10 a.m. with running finals to begin at 5 p.m. at the Springtown football and track stadium.
The Rams and Lady Rams were so successful at the district meet that they will have competitors in all events except the girls’ and boys’ 400-meter run.
This will give 27 MWHS athletes a chance to advance to the regional meet in Lubbock, which will be held April 26-27 at the Fuller Track Complex at Texas Tech University.
In year’s past, the top three finishers at the district meets would advance straight to the regional meet.
With eight districts sending three athletes in each running event, that meant 24 athletes – and on an eight-lane track that would result in three heats per race – would vie for the top two spots available to qualify for the state meet.
The rules changed to help quicken the regional meet. Now with four finishers in each event advancing to the area meet, which in comparison to other sports is a bi-district meet (District 6-3A will compete against District 5-3A’s top four finishers), a heat now can be taken away from each race at the regional meet.
After the area meets, 16 athletes will compete in every event at the regional meet, meaning only two heats per race will be needed.
The Rams were paced at the district meet by three gold medals by DaShawn Hicks, who won long jump, the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash.
But another strong area for MWHS is in girls’ field events, where Sydney Shelstead in discus, Shay Douglas in shot put and Taylor Parkhill in pole vault each won district championships.
Long-distance running is also a Lady Rams’ strength as Alex Pearcy won the 1,600-meter run and Karessa Fowler won the 3,200-meter run and came in second in the 1,600-meter run.
Other MWHS athletes earning gold medals for first-place finishes included Rascellis Williams in boys’ high jump and Chris Valdez in the boys’ 800-meter run.
“I think scoring all of those points in field events (at the district meet) for the boys and girls was big,” Harvey said. “After field events (the Rams) had a 20-30 point lead (coming into Friday night’s running finals), and that made a big difference.
“I feel the kids who made it out to area will get better and better as we go.
“We have been getting better and better each week, and we will get better on Wednesday as well.”
By TONY EIERDAM
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