By KEVIN WEAKS
Union City’s track contingent won’t head off to Memphis in the family van.
Something a little bigger will be required.
“Looks like we’re going to be taking a bus,” UC boys’ head coach Darren Bowling said. “It’s not going to be one or two kids. It’s going to be several, and we’re proud of that.”
The Golden Tornadoes added more names to the travel list as 10 members of the boys’ team qualified in nine events, while two girls qualified in three events at the West Sub-Sectional track meet Thursday afternoon at War Memorial Stadium.
Four Obion Central girls’ runners will join their county cousins in Memphis by qualifying in two events.
The running finals were held on Thursday, two days after the field events finals. The top four finalists in each event qualify for the sectional meet, scheduled for Crump Stadium in Memphis on May 18 beginning at 4 p.m.
DeAndrez Williams headlined the group of Union City boys’ runners as he earned sectional bids in the 100, 200 and 400 meter events while also teaming with Khiry Lewis, Tymaine Strickland and Iora Smith in the 4×100 relay.
“DeAndrez did a great job running his four events,” Bowling said. “He’s a senior and has been there for two years, so we’re excited about him getting there and making his mark.”
Distance specialist Daniel Williamson, who already has an appearance in the state cross country meet to his credit this school year, will run in three events next week after winning the 1,600 and finishing second in the 800 to follow up his runner-up in the 3,200 Tuesday.
“A great effort by Daniel in running the 1,600 and then showing guts in the 800,” Bowling said. “And that’s what track is all about, gutting it out.”
Donte Simpson qualified individually in the 110 hurdles and as part of a team with Lewis, Strickland and Smith in the 4×200. UC’s 4×800 quartet of Will Thralls, Brian Dawson, Jaylin Ware and Carlos Easley also punched a sectional ticket.
As a team, the Twister boys finished second in the standings with 91 points. Dyersburg swept the team titles, scoring 170 points in the girls’ meet and 151 points in the boys’ meet.
Xavier Gilliam and Chloe Smithson will represent the Lady Tornadoes on the track, Gilliam in the 100 and 300 hurdles and Smithson in the 1,600-meter run
“Xavier snuck up on us this year,” Lady Twister coach Preston Martin said. “She didn’t run track for us last year. As a rule, I guess, a lot of kids tend to shy away from hurdles. She noticed that no one wanted to do it, so she decided to try it. She worked on it all year long and never backed down from it. She’d come in on weekends to get extra work. Her preliminary times Tuesday were her best times of the year, and then she beat those today. I’m really excited for her.
“Chloe ran a great race. She was nervous about it because she wasn’t sure how she stacked up with the rest of the field, but she gutted it out and did a fabulous job. She’s done a good job for us in that event all year long.”
For the Lady Rebels, Nichole Whitson earned a spot in the 1,600 meters and teamed with Nicole Storey, Kristin Storey and Brenna Wilkins in the 4×800 relay.
“Because of our cross country program, we felt the distance events would be our strongest area at this stage in our track program,” OC head coach Pam Daniel said. “The kids are already conditioned for those runs. We feel that in the next two or three years, as the program grows and more kids become involved, we’ll become more competitive all around.”
The relay team will not compete in the sectional meet because one of the runners is a senior and will be graduating that night.
Williams finished second in his three individual events, running the 100 in 11.15 seconds, the 400 in 51.02 seconds and the 200 in 22.53 seconds. The 4×100 team finished third with a time of 43.96 seconds.
Williamson gave UC its one win on the track with a time of 4:46.94 in the 1,600 meter and then placed second in the 800 with a time of 2:10.67.
Simpson was fourth in the 110 hurdles with a time of 17.24 seconds, and the 4×200 team clocked a 1:32.91 to finish fourth.
UC’s 4×800 group was fourth as well, running the event in 10:30.85.
Gilliam finished second in the 100 hurdles with a time of 17.94 seconds and later ran the 300 in 53.18 seconds to place third.
Storey and Smithson finished within four seconds of each other in the 1,600 as Storey was second in a time of 6:25.30 and Smithson was third in 6:29.43.
Central’s 4×800 team put up a time of 12:36.41 for a third-place finish.
Less than a week after pulling off yet another successful Rotary Relays meet, members of the local Rotary Club were back for two more days of work this week. Their efforts, Bowling pointed out, were appreciated by the 17 schools represented.
“I’ve heard several coaches say it was one of the best-run track meets they’ve been to in a long time,” Bowling said. “I’m proud of the Rotarians coming out and allowing the coaches to watch their kids and not have to worry about anything. And, Lance Morgan and John Parr did a great job working the electronic timing system, which made the meet go faster.”
Published in The Messenger 5.11.12