|Twister thinclads find ‘1st’ gear under Bowling at USJ |
|The turnaround under new Union City track coach Darren Bowling has been a quick one. |
After a third-place finish last Friday at the Rotary Relays, the Tornado boys’ squad captured top honors at the McKenzie Invitational at the University School of Jackson.
Meanwhile, UC’s girls finished third in the event that featured 17 teams Thursday.
The Twister thinclads return to the track Tuesday with field events and preliminary running heats in the Region 7A-AA meet at USJ. The finals for running events will be held next Thursday.
On Thursday, Scott Huff highlighted the running portion of the competition with a Most Valuable Running Performer trophy, with his teammates dominating the field events.
In all, the Twisters recorded 62 of their total 102 points during the five field events that they took part in.
“We don’t have a sprinter as Union City usually does and we’ve had some struggles in the distance running events,” Bowling said. “For that very reason, I’ve tried to stress to our field competitors how important it is for us to have the lead when those events are complete and I think they got the message last night at 10 when they realized their finishes at 3 o’clock were key in our team’s overall victory.”
The high jump was especially beneficial for UC with Tony Wilkins and newcomer Nik Brooks finishing 1-2 with respective leaps of six feet and five feet, nine inches.
Meanwhile, Wyatt Carr and Luke Sanderson were second and third in the discus with Carr also the bronze medalist in the shot put.
In the triple jump, Dexter Hopson, coming off a Most Valuable Field Events Performer award at the Rotary Relays, leaped the farthest (42’3”) with Brooks coming in fourth (38’) in the event.
Hopson’s also placed in the long jump with his best attempt good enough for third, while Wilkins was fifth in the event.
On the track, Huff’s individual trophy came thanks to a top time in the 300-meter hurdles (44.30 seconds) and 100-meter hurdles (16.2 seconds).
The standout Union City senior also combined with Hopson, Wilkins, Markeem Ware, Josh Nix and Dewain Dewalt for fifth in both the 400-meter and 800-meter relays.
Otherwise, the UC relay team (Cody Speed, Emmanuel Rogers, Marlin Wilson, Josh Battee, Cameron Graham and Armondo Ward) took third in the 3200-meter relay with the combo of Speed, Ward, Wilson, Nix, Battee and Curtis Pitts good for fifth in the 1600.
Other standout finishes for Union City in running events were Pitts (fourth in the 100-meter hurdles) and Battee (fifth in the 800-meter hurdles).
On the girls’ side, the Lady Twisters’ field competitors accounted for 28 of their team’s 48 total points.
Sharee Forrest heaved the shot put just over 32 feet for a second-place finish with Sierra Moses fifth in the same event.
In the discus, Raneesha Moffatt was third with Moses fifth.
The high jump had both Micah Warford and Nakia Powell at four feet, four inches with the former getting fourth place due to fewer scratched attempts.
Meanwhile, Shenisha Huff was a part of a pair of second-place finishes on Thursday.
The Lady Tornado freshman was second in the 300-meter hurdles and she combined with Labrica Ward, Nakia Powell, Kierra Davis, Taneshia Fuller and Nakia Fuller for a runner-up ribbon in the 1600-meter relay.
“It all comes down to improvement for the girls’ team,” Bowling said. “We’ve got a lot of young talent out here and they are beginning to believe in the team concept I am employing and, as a result, our point total is rising.”
Other Union City girls’ talents placing included Davis and Brittany Mitchell, who finished sixth, respectively, in the 300-meter hurdles and 200-meter dash.