Two runners, three vaulters and a thrower from Aledo High School will compete in hopes of becoming state champions beginning tomorrow at the Class 5A Track and Field State Meet at Mike Myers Stadium at the University of Texas.
Pole vaulters T.J. Zalar, Sierra White and Mackenzie Lyon along with long-distance runner Harrison Tillman and shot put thrower Wes Harris will compete Thursday, while Ladycats sprinter Kia Jordan will run the girls’ 100-meter dash on Friday.
Jordan’s past suggests she has a great chance to win state in the girls’ 100-meter dash. She is the District 8-5A, area and regional champion in the event.
“Kia has had a great season,” Ladycats head coach Nikki Hyles said. “She has matured and has been very consistent in running fast times all season. Her ranking going into the state meet is hard to rate, because the weather and conditions are so different (at the other regional meets).
“Kia will do well, though, I have no doubt. She is a fierce competitor and her self-confidence going into state is high.”
AHS seems to have cornered the market in pole vault with three qualifiers.
Sierra White battled a high-ankle sprain to win girls’ pole vault at the regional meet where teammate Mackenzie Lyon finished second to also qualify for state. Bearcats vaulter T.J. Zalar emerged from a pack of three AHS regional qualifiers to earn second place at the regional meet to qualify for state.
“Sierra has been solid the entire season, and I look forward to watching her compete,” Hyles said. “Pole vault will be a tight competition because there are a lot of vaulters coming in with similar jumps. I think she will use her experience from vaulting at Texas Relays last month and represent Aledo well.
“Mackenzie is peaking at the right time,” Hyles continued. “She has improved all season long and has experience returning to state after finishing sixth last season. Coach (John) Rhodes has gotten both Mackenzie and Sierra ready to compete at their best.”
Bearcats head coach Blake Christenson feels Zalar will be motivated by his near miss of qualifying for state last year.
“T.J. has worked hard over the past four years to get to where he is,” Christenson said. “He knows he has an opportunity to finish strong. Coming in the state meet he is also sitting fourth among qualifiers (based on results from regional competition) and comparing seasons bests he should be in the hunt for a medal.”
Returning to the state meet is Harris, who finished third last year in boys’ state shot put.
“Wes has been ready to get back to the state meet,” Christenson said. “He has had his goal set on 60 feet all year and has come close throughout the year. He has been working on lots of little things in his technique throughout the course of the season and he feels like he is ready to put it all together at state.
“He is coming in at fourth from the regional results but in comparing all the qualifiers’ season’s best he would be sitting in second.”
Christenson feels Tillman’s work ethic and drive will put him in position to at least win a medal in a very competitive boys’ 3,200-meter run field.
“Harrison probably puts in more hours on the track and the road running than anyone,” the coach said. “He has been very dedicated to making this trip to state happen and knew it wasn’t going to be easy going into regionals but he competed very well and executed a great race to qualify.
“Going into state the 3200 field is very competitive and Harrison will have the opportunity to run with some great competitors.”
Aledo at state meet
Mike Myers Track Complex (UT)
Thursday, May 12
Girls pole vault – Sierra White, Mackenzie Lyon, 5 p.m.
Boys shot put – Wes Harris, 5 p.m.
Boys pole vault – T.J. Zalar, 7 p.m.
Boys 3200 – Harrison Tillman, 8 p.m.
Friday, May 13
Girls 100 – Kia Jordan, 7:05 p.m.