|Dysart has best UC experience on grand stage
|Posted: Friday, May 25, 2012 7:00 pm
|By KEVIN WEAKS
MURFREESBORO — Any finish was going to be good for novice state participants Jasmine Dysart and Xavier Gilliam.
Jackie Hudson admittedly expected to be better.
The Union City trio competed in four events overall at the TSSAA Class A-AA Girls’ State Track Meet here Thursday afternoon, completing their season on the state’s biggest stage.
Dysart had the best overall effort with a third-place finish in the shot put. Hudson was seventh in both the shot and discus and Gilliam placed eighth in the 100-meter hurdles.
Dysart altered her footwork in the circle during Thursday’s competition, resulting in the last of her four throws being the best with a toss measuring 33 feet.
“She’s more comfortable just standing there and throwing, and she did that her first two throws,” UC girls’ coach Preston Martin said. “After that, I told her to get to the back of the circle and lean forward. She did that and improved about a foot and a half on her throw.”
After measuring just 29 feet, 3 1/4 inches on her first attempt and 30-10 1/4 on her second, Dysart improved to 31-6 1/5 on her third toss before throwing for 33 feet on her final attempt.
Dysart’s third-place finish was unexpected if for no other reason than how she made it Murfreesboro in the first place.
Not one of the top six to earn automatic bids from last week’s three sectional meets across the state, Dysart was one of two at-large qualifiers.
Her state throw was an inch better than her sectional effort.
“We got lucky to get her here,” UC girls’ coach Preston Martin said. “She just missed an automatic qualifier by two inches. I kept checking all weekend after sectionals and got several confirmations before calling her to tell her she was in. She was elated. We’ve been working with football this week, but a couple of times I’d drive home by the tennis courts and see her out there working.”
Looking at Gilliam’s finish, which ranked eighth among the eight state finalists, Martin pointed out there was no disappointment in her spot in the order.
Instead, he focused on how far she’s come in a short period of time.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of her,” Martin said. “As athletic as she is, she actually asked me if she could run the hurdles. She’d never done them before but told me she’d learn. When she started out, it was two weeks before we actually ran a full 110. And, when she finally did, it was somewhere around 20 seconds. We’ve worked with her about getting her steps right, her jumps, showed her some drills. She would come out on weekends when no one was around and practice the hurdles. It’s been awesome. I wish I had 20 more just like her. She’s a competitor, she wants to be the best. She has a long way to go, but she’s only a sophomore.
“She’s eighth best in the state in A-AA after jumping hurdles a whole eight weeks. That’s about as long as it’s been, if that.”
Hudson, also a sophomore, was returning to the state meet for the second consecutive year.
Expected to compete for a high spot after winning both the shot and discus at sectionals last week, Hudson instead finished seventh in both events.
She suffered fouls on throws in both events and came up shorter than her sectional qualifying tosses. Hudson measured her discus throw at 86 feet, one inch and her shot put at 30 feet, 11 inches.
“I have to be honest, I had higher hopes and expectations for Jackie, and so did she,” Martin said. “She didn’t feel right this morning. Things just seemed off to her. We talked about all that, and I tried to emphasize to her that it was same for all of them and she just had to work through it. She couldn’t overcome those things and she admitted to having some nerves, too.
“But, we’re still excited to be here. She knows she’s way better than she showed, and she’s already talking about doing things differently to get better next year. She’s upset with herself. But I couldn’t be more proud of her and what’s she’s done all year to get here.”
With 11 total points, Union City finished 19th overall in the team standings.
A total of 45 schools were represented.
Reporter Kevin Weaks can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Published in The Messenger 5.25.12