[Nameplate] Fair ~ 91°F  
Feels like: 96°F
Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

SHS tracksters ready for state

Friday, May 26, 2006

Sikesotn High School's track athletes and coaches prepare to board the bus.
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston boys and girls track and field team will have 14 athletes competing at the MSHSAA Class 3 Track and Field State Championships in Jefferson City this weekend.

The boys team, which has placed in the top 10 in the state for five straight years has eight competitors while the girls team is sending six.

Bulldog coach Jerry Dement says none of his athletes are favored this year, but he is hoping for the best.

"I think we have a pretty good chance in most of our events," said Dement. "Basically we've got a good idea of what other kids have done in those events across the state. We know we're going to have to compete at the very top of our game to earn a place. We don't have anybody that's a guarantee like we've had in years past.

"We're about in the middle of the pack in most events. That presents some tough challenges, but one thing about this group of kids, they haven't really cared what position they're in going into a meet. They just go out and try their hardest and so far they've been able to improve themselves every meet."

Dexter's Mallory Kennedy
The boys team qualified junior Salamar Cox in the shot put and senior Stephon Turner in the 110 meter high hurdles.

The boys team qualified the 4 x 200 meter relay team, consisting of sophomores Bryan Branion, Brandon Washington, Brandon Wright and Tommie Strong and junior David Stovall. One of the runners will serve as an alternate.

Also making the trip is freshman Dominic Fondon, who qualified in the triple jump.

Branion, Strong, Washington and Wright all went to the state meet last year as freshmen, so despite the athletes' young age, Dement said the four got some valuable experience last season.

"We've got some kids on the team that can give Dominic some insight on the trip," said Dement.

"This is Salamar's first trip after barely missing on it last year. So he's rewarded with his good performances this year. He's got a long haul to make it, but he seems to step up to the level of competition each week so maybe he can step it up even more."

On the girls side, sophomore Chasman Herrion is back to state for the second straight year in the 100 meter dash.

She will also run legs on the 4 x 100, 4 x 200 and 4 x 400 meter relay teams along with teammates Teah Atkinson, Jewellian Dixon, Michel'Le Flye, Jackie Nance and Lashawna Turner.

"Chasman is sitting in a pretty good position," said Dement. "If she runs a bang-up race she's got a good chance of making it to the finals an earning some points.

"She's not as big a longshot as some of our other events. Our girls relays, especially our 4 x 200 have run good times that are comparable to most of the other teams. We think our girls can get up there and run well."

This will also be the largest crowd that most of the athletes will compete in front of at Jefferson City's Dwight T. Reed Stadium.

"Even though these kids are predominantly sophomores, they've got a year experience because they went as freshmen," said Dement.

"You're competing in front of 8,000 or 9,000 people instead of several hundred. Some kids use that to their advantage and use it as motivation and some are intimidated by the big crowd. We've talked to the kids about using it to increase their performance.

"There's no pressure on these kids. We're not expected to place really high in our events. We just want to compete to the best of our ability."

Also making the trip to the state meet is Dexter long jumper Mallory Kennedy.

Kennedy qualified for state in the long jump with a jump of 15-8 1/2. Kennedy qualified on her last jump of the day. This state meet will mark Kennedy's fourth consecutive trip to the tournament at Columbia.

"It felt good to place for state in the long jump, said Kennedy, "but I was hoping to qualify in the triple jump as well. I love the atmosphere at Jefferson City for the meet.

"The stadium is full of people and it is just exciting. I am not going to put a lot of pressure on myself. I am just excited to get there and whatever happens from there is just a bonus."