PERRYVILLE - The Sikeston track and field team will be going for its fifth straight Class 3, District 1 championship tomorrow when they compete at Perryville High School at 11 a.m.
The Bulldogs enter the meet somewhat hobbled and not as deep as they've been in the past, but head coach Jerry Dement hopes for the best.
"We're anxious to see how we do -- hopefully we'll have a good day Saturday," said Dement. "We probably don't have as good a shot to win the team title. We're down a little bit team-wise than what we have been. You go through those cycles sometimes. But we've got a group that will give a good effort and we hope to have a good day. The goal here is not only do well as a team but also qualify for the sectional at Festus the next weekend."
Sikeston's top point-getter all season has been senior Felante Larry, who boasts the top two jumps in the state in the long and triple jump --
22'6" and 46'4".
He also competes in the 4 x 100 meter relay and the 200 meter dash.
"We think on the boys side we have quite a few that can do well," said Dement. "Obviously the headliner is Felante with the two top jumps going in and he runs on the 4 x 100 relay and the open 200. He's had an excellent year jumping for us and he's run well on the track."
Dement is also hoping his all-state hurdler, Tyler Woodson, will be healthy for the event. Woodson returned as the state's top 110 meter high hurdler and 300 meter hurdler.
But a nagging hamstring injury has kept him sidelined for most of the season.
"There's a chance that Tyler Woodson's going to be able to compete," said Dement. "We're going to run him and see how he does. We'll find out how he feels on Saturday. We just don't know at this time."
One hurdler that has performed well this year is junior Stephon Turner, who will be among the favorites in both hurdles events.
Dement is also hoping for standout performances in other field events.
"We should be solid in some field events with Taylor Old in the discus and Salamar Cox in the shot put," said Dement. "Trey Stone has been doing well in the pole vault and has come on as of late. We've got two young high jumpers in Andre Goodwin and Brandon Washington that have steadily improved. We think three of the four relays on the boys side have a good chance to move on and point high."
Sikeston's 4 x 100 relay with Larry, Brandon Williams and freshmen Washington and Tommie Strong and the 4 x 200 relay with Strong, Washington, Williams and another freshman, Brian Branion, will be expected to compete for a sectional berth.
The Bulldogs' 4 x 400 meter team with Washington, Williams, Brandon Wright and David Stovall also is considered a top eight favorite.
Locally, New Madrid County Central's Jeffrey McFarland has dominated the competition in the 100 and 200 meter dashes as he has yet to lose either race.
He placed in three different events last year in the state meet and will be one of the favorites in the 100, 200 and 400 at the district meet tomorrow.
On the girls side, while the team is improved, Dement doesn't expect a team district title.
But he does hope for some strong performances, particularly from his two distance relays.
"Our relays have been our strong suit all year on the girls side, especially the 4 x 800 and 4 x 400," said Dement.
Both relay teams are run by Ashley Johnson, Deneke Miller, Whitney Turner and Traci Jackson.
After that, Dement noted Whitney Wallace in the discus and both speed relays could have a chance to make some noise.