Abilene last stop before state meet in Austin
By Mark K. Campbell
Contesting a district track meet at a neutral site is very rare – out-going boys coach Don Ostermann could not recall it ever happening in his 38 years of coaching – but Azle athletes shone nonetheless.
Eight performed so well at Little Elm High School that they will move on to the Region I meet at Abilene Christian University April 26-27.
Two Lady Hornets who set school records this season won gold and five boys also locked in regional berths.
For the girls, pole vaulter Sarah Hall and high jumper Elisha Peters both won their events easily.
The Hornet 4×400-meter team
of Michael Poe, Luke Leopold, Colton Bagwell, and Joseph Ehlmann took the gold as they have done often this season.
Two more silver medalists claimed berths at ACU – distance runner Brian Collard and thrower Dane Riley.
Hall set a new AHS record on day one of the event, April 8, when she broke her own pole vault mark of 12 feet 3 inches; the new mark is 12-6.
Peters cleared 5-4 to win at Little Elm. She set the AHS high jump mark of 5-9 (almost 5-10) at the Texas Relays last month.
The 4×400 team sped around the oval in 3 minutes, 25.53.
Poe also took second in the 200 (23.55) to advance to regional. Ehlmann did the same in the 400 (50.91).
Collard finished second in two races, the 3200 (10:15.71) and the 1600 (4:44.06).
Riley took advantage of the relentless wind to set PRs in the discus ring. His longest toss was 145-0, good for second place.
Both Azle High coaches lauded their squads’ efforts.
Melody Dennis, head Lady Hornet coach, noted, “I was pleased with how we competed; I thought our district was pretty tough.
“Many of our kids ran, jumped or threw for their personal bests at the meet.”
Dennis said she is excited about the chances of Hall and Peters at the regional meet.
“We have been fortunate to have two of the best track and field athletes in the state on our team,” she said.
Head boys track coach Don Ostermann said high winds affected some Hornets from setting PRs.
“I was pleased with the effort the athletes showed,” he said. “I would have like to have placed higher as a team [fifth], but that was all we had.”
Coach O. added that he was especially pleased with Riley who “really stepped it up,” the 4×400 squad, and the JV shot and discus athletes who “competed great.”
He noted, “The younger athletes competed well.” The AHS JV finished second.
Qualifiers will compete in Boswell April 18 before heading to Abilene.