Tyler Boys Edge Magnolia for 4×100 Gold
CHARLESTON – Tyler Consolidated’s boys’ track team, though not as deep as most of the others teams, put on quite the show at the state track championships this past weekend at Laidley Field.
Fresh off their second place finish at the regionals, the boys were “pumped up,” as coach Joe Semple said last week.
The Silver Knights have had a great track season and coming into the state meet, they were seeded number one in the 4×100-meter relay with a time of 44.65. Being the top seed and ending at the top is usually the most difficult. The primed and ready relay team – Federico Perez, Tyler Andersson, Josh Peck and Trent Shepherd – was determined to make it happen after last year’s fourth place finish.
“We spent four months together this winter in speed training. We felt we were prepared and with the help of our trainer, Nate Taylor, everthing just seemed to fall into place,” said Perez. “We knew it was our last shot, and with the support of our coaches and each other, we never let up.”
When the gun sounded, the Knights looked hot and as they circled the track. Though their toughest competition was a step ahead, the four horsemen kept striding forward, faster and faster. When Perez handed the baton to anchor Anderson, his teammate surged forward and crossed the finish line nearly a second ahead of Magnolia to grab the gold and their spot on the podium. This storied squad of sprinters will be returning for another shot at the gold next year.
As exciting as the 4×100-meter relay was, that wasn’t the only event to put points on the board for the boys’ team. Tyler Consolidated had much to be proud of as it ended up with 33 points and seventh place overall out of 22 teams.
“There are many single A teams that are very strong this year. Single A teams this year have faster times than the Class AA and AAA in many events,” Coach Jill Lemasters said.
Indeed they did and Tyler Consolidated was able to compete with the best.
The 4×200-meter relay team – Peck, Shepherd, Perez and Anderson – finished in fourth place in the medal division with a time of about 1:34 and added four points to the Knights’ total. The team had a regional qualifier of about 1:34 and went in as the second seed, but a bad handoff dropped them back two spots.
Senior distance runner Daron Weekley, who won the regional 800-meter dash with a time of 2:08 minutes to get to Charleston, ran the first leg in the 4×800-meter relay, made up of underclassmen Dan Miller, Destry Nelson and Gavin Corley. They finished in the 13th spot with a time of about 9:17 minutes and had a regional qualifying time of about 8:54 minutes. In the open 800-meter dash, Weekley ran a good hard race, but finished 11th with a 2:11.87 time.
Running in the 4×100-meter relay hurdles for the Silver Knights was freshman Nathan Barker, Jarrett Lemasters, Hunter Wells and Peck. They earned their way to the state with a time of about 1:01 at the regionals for a fifth place seed and finished the event at state at around 1:01 to pick up a point for the Knights and a sixth place medal. Three of these four hurdlers will return to do the trick again next year.
The Knights were well represented in the field events with Anderson and Shepherd both qualifying in the long jump. Anderson, who placed second last year and had a qualifying jump of 20-feet 6-inches, had three fouls attempts and ended up with a seventh place finish with a very good 20-foot 5-inch leap. Shepherd, who went 19-feet 1.25-inches to qualify at regionals, finished 12th at the state with a leap of 18-feet 5.25-inches.
Pole vaulting for the Knights were Lemasters and Levi Morgan. Lemasters, who was the number two seed, finished in the second place with a jump of 12-feet 6-inches to earn eight points for the Knights. Right behind him was Morgan with another vault of 12-feet 6-inches to get the third place spot and add six more points to the Knights’ total. These two could easily be the state’s best next year as this year’s winner has graduated.
Lemasters also ran the 300-meter hurdles, finishing 11th with a respectable time of 45.87 seconds after getting a 44.52 seconds to qualify.
Sophomore Gavin Corley, a promising distance runner, had a good run and fininshed 12th in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:58 minutes after running a 5:02 minute qualifier at regionals. That was the second time this year that Corley has cracked the 5-minute barrier in the mile. Corley is a hard worker who is still learning, but he has what it takes to be a successful middle distance runner according to his coaches.
Devon Harris who qualified in the shot put finished in the 11th spot with a heave of 39-feet 2.50-inches.
Running in his third race of the day and his fourth event overall, Anderson finished as the fourth best Class A 200-meter sprinter with a time of 23:16 to pick up anoth four points for the Knights. Anderson ran the final leg of the gold metal 4×100 and 4×200 plus competed in the long jump.
Rounding out the day for the Knights was the 4×400-meter relay team ,which had to sit out about an hour due to lightning. The team of Weekley, Peck, Perez and Brandon Boner finished in the 11th spot with a time of about 3:49 minutes.
“We are pleased overall with our performance considering the weather and the amount of events we each had to participate in. It’s been a fun experience and those of us returning are looking forward to next year,” Perez, Peck and Weekley said. “Ending up seventh among 22 of the best teams in the state is something to be proud of especially when we only took around 15 kids.”