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Three more to state: Gracie Morris wins 800, mile run, Tillman wins 1,600-meter run while White qualifies with second-place finish in girls’ pole vault

Aledo senior Harrison Tillman crosses the finish line to win the boys' 1,600-meter run as teammate Graydon Morris, left, finishes third Saturday at the regional meet in Lubbock. Photos by Tony Eierdam

Aledo freshman Gracie Morris won two races, senior Harrison Tillman went wire-to-wire to capture the boys’ 1,600-meter run and sophomore Sierra White placed second in girls’ pole vault as the trio qualified for the state meet in their respective events today at the Class 5A, Region I Track and Field Meet at PlainsCapital Lowrey Field in Lubbock.

The top two finishers in every event at the four regional meets automatically qualify for the state track meet in Austin.

The trio will join freshman Graydon Morris at the state meet. He won the boys’ 3,200-meter run on Friday.

Gracie Morris made her mark at the Class 5A, Region I track meet in Lubbock by winning both the girls’ 800-meter run and the 1,600-meter run to qualify for the state meet in both events.

But perhaps the most dramatic race came in the boys’ 1,600-meter run. In the District 6-5A meet and the Area meet, freshman Graydon Morris won both races as Tillman finished second.

But today, running with winds gusting to 35 miles per hour, temperatures in the mid-40s and with a steady, sometimes heavy, rain falling, Tillman decided to alter his strategy. The senior raced out to the lead in the first 100 meters and held on despite a frantic final lap by Graydon Morris, who finished third.

Tillman finished with a time of 4:26.19, while Graydon Morris finished at 4:26.58.

“First of all, I want to give God all of the glory,” Tillman said. “I knew with the wind and rain that it would be hard for anyone to catch up to the leader. I knew if I could get out front early that it would be to my advantage.

“I am so excited to be able to go to state in my senior year. This was my last chance and I made the most of it.”

In the girls’ 1,600-meter run, Gracie Morris ran a time of 5:08.18 to edge Richland’s Binta Ka, who ran a 5:08.68. Morris’ time of 2:18.1 in the girls’ 800-meter run bested second-place Ty’Asia Coleman of Saginaw by more than three and a half seconds.

Field events concluded today. Aledo pole vaulters Sierra White and Mackenzie Lyon went deep in competition, with White going out at 11 feet, six inches to finish second to qualify for the state meet. Lyon went out at 11 feet to finish fifth.

“I am so excited to get back to state,” White said. “I went last year as a freshman, and this year I am just going down there with the attitude of just having fun and giving it my best.”

Ladycats thrower Alaina Touchet competed in girls’ shot put but did not qualify for state.

Aledo had one sprinter who ran in the finals. But senior Kia Jordan, a state finalist last year who had been battling a hamstring injury the past six weeks, pulled up during the girls’ 100-meter dash finals and did not finish.

Aledo State Qualifiers

Gracie Morris – girls’ 800-meter run; girls’ 1,600-meter run

Graydon Morris – boys’ 3,200-meter run (Friday)

Sierra White – girls’ pole vault

Harrison Tillman – boys’ 1,600-meter run

Note: Aledo’s Ryan Brown finished third in boys’ pole vault on Friday. His mark of 15 feet, six inches may qualify him as a “wild card” for the state meet. A “wild card qualifier” is the athlete with the best third-place mark/time from all four regional meets in a single event. Brown will not know his state-qualifying status until all four regional meets conclude. The same holds true for Graydon Morris’ third-place finish in the boys’ 1,600-meter run.

Aledo freshman Gracie Morris is all smiles as she displays her gold medal for winning the girls’ 800-meter run. She also won the girls’ 1,600-meter run to qualify for the state meet in two events.
Aledo sophomore Sierra White elevates before clearing the bar at 11 feet, six inches in girls’ pole vault. White finished second to qualify for the state meet for the second consecutive year.

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