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Angers and Bradford Do Great at State Track Meet

June 25, 2013
By Brad Milam of Splendora High School



















AUSTIN — Saturday is the second and final day of the UIL State Track and Field Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.

For live results, visit http://www2.uil.utexas.edu/tournament-results/track-field/index.htm.

7:30 p.m.: Jay Bradford is just a sophomore. He claimed his second gold medal with a win in the Class 3A 100-meter dash Saturday evening.

Bradford clocked 10.49 seconds to hold off Columbus' Royce Caldwell (10.57).

Top-seeded Emanuel Hicks of Mineral Wells was disqualified for a false start.

“It did put a little bit more pressure on me because I had to get my start a little bit better,” Bradford said. “As soon as he false-started, I felt a little bit of relief. But then again, I wish he would’ve run with me because it would’ve been more of a challenge and more fun to me.”

The start has been Bradford’s focus of late.

“I’ve been working on keeping my head down because I have a bad habit of just popping right up,” he said. “We’ve been working on that, trying to get my head down. I felt like I had a pretty good start this time.”

Bradford came out of the blocks smoothly and powered his way to the front 30 meters into the race.

“I didn’t see anybody in my peripheral vision, so I was like, ‘I’m about to win this,’” he said. “But I had to keep on going as fast as I could.”

How did Bradford feel when he crossed the finish line?

“I’m trying to hold back tears right now because I was emotional,” he said. “I’ve worked so hard at this since seventh grade, to come up here and actually be a first-place medalist at state. It’s a really good accomplishment for me.”

7 p.m.: The Woodlands' Katie Willard put together her best race on the biggest stage.

Willard clocked a personal-record 2 minutes, 9.32 seconds to defend her Class 5A 800-meter run title.

The race was restarted after a runner stepped up to the wrong line.

"It was a little scary," Willard said. "I thought it was me.

"But it was calming in a way because you got it over with, and then you got back on it and got focused."

McKinney Boyd's Aaliyah Miller and Clear Springs' Tiffany Terry finished second and third, respectively, in 2:10.06 and 2:10.20.

They were closing on Willard as the race approached the homestretch, but the senior held them off.

"I did exactly what I needed to do today," Willard said. "I wish I had gone just a little faster, but when it comes down to this, it's all about defending and just being patient.

"I think I did a pretty good job and I worked really hard that last 400. Those girls with me, they are incredible 400 runners, and then there's me. You just have to bear down and keep going. I'm pretty happy with how it all went today."

Willard will run the 1,600 relay late Saturday with Alyssa Gillespie, Kaitlynn Lindsey and Lindsay Wilken.

A Texas A&M commit, Willard said she felt relief and happiness upon crossing the finish line. She stretched her arms wide, then raised them in triumph.

"Having the pressure and the target on your back all year, it can get to people," she said.

Willard finished second in the 800 as a sophomore in 2011, but she was disqualified for impeding another runner, Dallas Skyline's Jasmine Webb, who won the race despite being cut off by Willard in a race to the finish.

This time, she got it right. Just as she did last year.

"I was very scared, but I got it done," Willard. "I tried my best just to hold them off. I'm really glad that I have some of the aerobic that I have; it really did help.

"You have to be used to being scared to do what you need to do.

"It's a very thrilling last 100 meters for me — always. I was holding on as hard as I could. 'Please. Please, please, please, please, please.'"

4:45 p.m.: College Park junior Tristen Newman finished second in the Class 5A shot put with a heave of 59 feet, 9¾ inches.

“I didn’t PR like I was hoping for, but overall I thought it was a pretty good day,” Newman said.

Newman finished fifth in the state meet last year. He is already looking forward to next year, saying his goal from now until the next state meet is to win the gold medal.

His first throw Saturday was 58-10¼. La Joya Palmview’s Felipe Valencia won the event with his first effort of 60-5¼.

Newman was comfortably in second place through all six rounds, and hit his final mark on his last throw.

“I feel good, not great,” he said. “At least I have another whole year to try to come back in first.

“I wanted to come in first, that was the goal from the beginning, so I’m a little bit disappointed, but not too much.”

The Woodlands’ Jonathan Huckins finished sixth at 54-½.

Oak Ridge junior N’Dia Warren-Jacques was third in the girls event.

She set a new personal record of 45-10¼.

Warren-Jacques finished third in the state meet last year after a seventh-place showing as a freshman.

“She just got really nervous,” Lady War Eagles coach Kristina Dube said. “Hopefully, next year as a senior, that maturity of being here four years in a row — God willing — will help get her through those throws.”

Fourth after three rounds, Warren-Jacques moved into second place after her sixth and final toss, but Dickinson’s Lauryn Caldwell hit 46-3½ on the next turn, the penultimate throw of the event.

Killeen Shoemaker’s Cion Hicks, who led through the first five rounds at 45-11 before Caldwell took over the top spot in the final round, hit 47-9 on her final throw, the last of the event, to win gold.

Oak Ridge’s Mia Hicks, a sophomore, finished fifth in the discus.

She reached 139-11. Cion Hicks won at 160-6, and Caldwell was third at 149-9. Los Fresnos’ Corina Cox (150-8) and Hightower’s Jeia Gilliam (142-8) finished second and fourth, respectively.

Mia Hicks was a little more than two feet off her personal best.

“I didn’t do my best, but I feel like I competed and I had fun,” she said.

It was her first appearance in Austin.

“It was amazing,” Hicks said. “I loved it.

“I was nervous. This is the biggest crowd I ever did disc in front of.”

10:15 a.m.: Splendora sophomore Jay Bradford won the Class 3A long jump by nearly a foot with a mark of 23 feet, 11½ inches.

The Wildcats’ Kagan Angers finished fourth at 22-8¼.

Both athletes will compete later Saturday. Bradford is the second seed and will run in lane 4 in the 100-meter dash. Angers is the fifth seed and will run in lane 5 in the 200.

First, though, they put on quite a show Saturday morning. Bradford was the top seed at 23-10. Angers came in ranked fifth with his qualifying mark of 22-8.

Bradford cracked the 23-foot mark in his second attempt with a leap of 23-6. He hit 23-9 in his fourth sprint down the runway, and his winning mark came in the fifth of six rounds.

Only one other competitor, Hillsboro’s Deontre Richardson, jumped 23 feet. Richardson finished second with an effort of 23-½ on his fifth attempt.

“I have a chance to come back here two more years, so I’m just going to go out there and have fun with it,” Bradford said of his mentality during the event. “It made it a lot more fun to have one of my own from Splendora make it here with me.”

Angers, a junior, steadily improved his marks. He started at 20-4½, then hit 21-1¾ and 21-11½. After a jump of 21-10¼ in the fourth round, he leaped 22-4¾ and 22-8¼.

Angers was a little disappointed he didn’t get on the medal stand, but he posted a season best.

“It felt good, I just couldn’t get on the board today,” he said. “Days like that happen. ... I’ll use all that energy for tonight in the 200.

“I feel really good about it.”

Angers has advanced to the state meet three years in a row. In 2011, he finished fifth with Splendora’s 1,600 relay team. Last year, he was fourth with the 800 relay and sixth with the 1,600 relay.

Bradford qualified for the 100 by winning the Region III-4A meet in 10.54 seconds. Emanuel Hicks of Mineral Wells is the top seed with a regional qualifying time of 10.51.

“Ooh. That race is going to be close,” Bradford said.

9:30 a.m.: College Park senior Katie Jensen, the defending Class 5A state champion and state meet record holder at 3,200 meters, collapsed while running in second place with 110 meters to go in the two-mile race Saturday morning.

Kingwood’s Sandie Raines shattered Jensen’s one-year-old mark with a time of 10 minutes, 13.81 seconds. Jensen ran 10:24.80 last year.

After Jensen fell to the track, the seven remaining runners passed her. She crawled before picking herself up and walking the remaining 100 meters to the finish line.

In the boys 3,200, The Woodlands’ Brigham Hedges finished eighth and Craig Irvin was ninth. Lewisville Hebron’s Robert Domanic won in 9:57.95.

Eric Henry of The Woodlands, formerly McCullough, still holds the state meet record of 8:52.34, which he set in 1987.

Hedges is slated to run the 1,600 on Friday night with teammate Logan Emery.

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