Track coaches have high hopes for Azle’s Abilene regional qualifiers

April 24, 2013

Heading off to McMurry University in Abilene seeking a berth at the state meet in Austin are pole vaulter Sarah Hall

Heading off to McMurry University in Abilene seeking a berth at the state meet in Austin are pole vaulter Sarah Hall

Discus thrower Dane Riley

Discus thrower Dane Riley

The state track meet.
To get to Mike Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus in Austin requires hours and hours of dedicated work.
And, for eight Azle athletes, a trip to the ultimate goal in high school track is just one meet away.

Six boys and two girls are bound for the Region I event April 26-27 at McMurry University in Abilene.
In a season where three Azle High records fell, it could be out of that trio that AHS gets represented at state.
Lady Hornet coach Melody Dennis said, “This year’s regional meet will be one of the most exciting for the girls in several years, because we are going into the meet with two of the top competitors in the region.”
That would be high jumper Elisha Peters and pole vaulter Sarah Hall, both of whom set new Azle records this season.
Both have already visited the site of the state meet, competing in March’s Texas Relays.
There, Peters exploded the school high jump record – which she already owned – by clearing 5 feet, 9.75 inches.
The district champion, Dennis stopped Peters from jumping at 5-4 after the Lady Hornet had already secured the gold medal. “She could have gone much higher,” Dennis said.
The coach added, “She is the clear-cut favorite going into the regional meet. She has a lot of pressure, but she is a great competitor, so I know she is going to give all she has. I don’t think she is going to let anything get in the way of making it to Austin.”
Hall also broke her own AHS record of 12-3, clearing 12-6 at the district meet at Little Elm earlier this month.
She heads to Abilene with the second best height in the region, Dennis said, behind Boswell’s Laken Taylor.
“Sarah will have to vault near her personal best to advance. She has worked very hard and is a fierce competitor, so I really believe this is her year to go to state,” the coach said.
On the boys side, another record breaker, Brian Collard, could reach Austin.
The senior finished second at district in the 1600 and 3200 races.
At the Hornet Relays March 30, Collard recorded the fastest time of any Azle male ever in the 3200, 9 minutes, 42.63 seconds, breaking an 11-year-old record.
Coach Don Ostermann said Collard’s times in both races are among the top four in Region I.
“If he runs good, he is fourth,” Coach O. said. “If he runs great, he could be in the top two.”
The Hornet 4×400-meter team of Michael Poe, Luke Leopold, Colton Bagwell, and Joseph Ehlmann won the district title with a time of 3:25.53.
Going into Abilene, that should be good enough to get the foursome to the finals. “If they run great, they will be in the top four or five,” Ostermann said.
Poe and Ehlmann will race in individual races as well, in the 200 and 400, respectively.
With discus thrower Dane Riley, the trio will need exceptional efforts to advance.
“They are in the middle of the pack and will have to perform good to make the finals,” coach O. noted.
The top two finishers at McMurry lock in state berths. Then the best overall time in 4A in Texas that did not take a silver or gold gets the ninth and final spot in Austin May 10-11.

Distance runner Brian Collard. First two photos by Mark K. Campbell, other courtesy Bill O’Connor.

Distance runner Brian Collard. First two photos by Mark K. Campbell, other courtesy Bill O’Connor.

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