Freshman sprints to the front for Tigers

Friday, May 28, 2004

On a team without a senior, Central's youth has been paying off all year for the girls track and field team.

No one epitomizes the Tigers' youth movement more than freshman Nicole Jackson, a sectional winner in the 200 and runner-up in the 100. Jackson has finished at or near the top in the 100 and 200 all year, and her performances of late have shown no let-up.

"It's just something I like to do," Jackson said of track. "I like to run."

Jackson will try to assure herself an all-state berth when she competes in the 100 and 200 preliminaries at the Class 4 state track and field meet today in Jefferson City, Mo.

"I made it, so I'm going to go for it," Jackson said of a state title.

Central also qualified its girls 3,200 relay team, along with Holly Shaffer in the 800.

On the boys side, the Tigers relied on their veterans. Seniors Mark Egbuka (shot put), Darren Neels (discus) and Calen Wills (400) all captured state-qualifying berths. Jarred Harris, a junior, also qualified in the pole vault.

Neels and Harris both were all-state last season, along with the girls 3,200 relay team.

"Amongst these kids going there are many that have realistic chances of getting medals," Central coach Lawrence Brookins said.

Central's youth is also well represented on the boys side, with freshman Allen Walker qualifying in the 100 and sophomore Xavier Delph in the triple jump. Freshmen Allen Walker and Anwar Glen, along with Wills and senior Will Johnson helped the 800 relay team get through. Wills, Johnson, Allen Walker and junior Zeno Walker were on the qualifying 1,600 relay team.

"It's going to be something to see how the young kids we've got handle it," Brookins said. "Some of the freshmen we have jumped in the mix since the beginning."

Central's boys made it to the state meet in both the 800 and 1,600 relay last season, just missing out on making it to the second day in both events. Wills and Johnson will try to bring home an all-state performance this time around.

"We might not win the state title, but we'll be in the top five," Johnson said. "We're trying to go out all-state."

Jackson sends contingent

Jackson's girls sprint relays ran into some stiff competition at the sectional meet, but both the 400 and 800 relay teams managed to make it through to the state meet. The 400 relay team consisted of Rebecca Martin, Melanie Essner, Trisha Kluesner and Rachel Kahle. Martin, Kahle, Essner and Rachel Lowes ran the 800 relay.

Martin and Amy West brought home sectional championships for Jackson's girls in the shot put and pole vault, respectively. Kluesner qualified in the 100 hurdles, and Jackson will also bring its 1,600 relay team (Lowes, Essner, Martin, Jordan Cook) to the state meet.

Jackson's boys also picked up a sectional win from Andy Glass in the discus. Isaac Venable was Jackson's only other male competitor to qualify, finishing second in the 800.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: