ODESSA, Texas — Led by sophomore standout Jessica Withrow, the Muleshoe High School girls track team accomplished something this weekend which may have been a first at the school — win a regional team track championship.
Withrow qualified in three individual events and anchored the Lady Mules’ 1,600-meter relay team to victory in the Region I-3A meet Friday and Saturday. The top two finishers in each event qualify for state Class 3A competition May 9-10 at the University of Texas in Austin.
Withrow took first place in high jump (5-6) and the 300 hurdles (46.01), and finished second in the 100 hurdles (15.78). Meantime, she anchored the relay team to victory in a season-best time of 4:07.81 — about seven seconds faster then the Lady Mules’ previous season best before the weekend and more than three seconds ahead of the time they ran in Friday’s prelims.
“The girls just ran awesome,” first-year Muleshoe coach Benjie Jay said Sunday. “I’d been telling them we weren’t running it the way we needed to run it. We had a little meeting on Friday night and (Saturday) again before the race. I told them, ‘You have to run it like it’s a dash; it’s not a run, it’s a dash.’ ”
The foursome includes one member from each class — senior Eva Pylant leads off, then hands off to freshman Brandi Wood, who hands off to junior Sara Benham, who hands off to Withrow.
Wood, the daughter of Muleshoe football coach David Wood, cut about four seconds off her time from Friday on the second leg.
“Believe it or not, we can still run faster,” Jay said. “But when we crossed the finish line, with the lead we had (about 2 1/2 seconds over second-place Everman), I was pretty much speechless.
“I really think by the time we get to the state track meet we can run it between 4 (minutes) and 4:05.”
Muleshoe finished with 59 points to edge out runnerup Kennedale, from the Fort Worth area, by three points.
Jay said the relay could be in the hunt for a high finish at state, particularly if it continues to shave time. He thinks Withrow’s prospects look pretty good in both high jump and the 300 hurdles, adding that she’ll “have to run really, really well” to place high in the 100 hurdles.
CHS tennis teams win — The nearly four-hour bus ride back from Albuquerque didn’t seem quite so long for the Clovis High tennis teams on Saturday after the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats posted 7-2 victories over District 4-5A rival Manzano.
The wins were just the second of the season for the girls (2-4, 1-3 district) and the first for the boys (1-5, 1-3). They weren’t playing a particularly strong opponent, but both Clovis teams won handily despite the fact they were missing several players due school music activities.
“I’m pretty ecstatic the boys won, missing our top three players,” CHS tennis coach Billie Merritt said. “And half of my girls were gone too.
“I knew the kids stood a chance to win some matches, but I didn’t know if the boys could win the dual with the people we had missing.”
The Lady Cats, in fact, had to default at No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles. But they won the other seven matches against the Lady Monarchs, losing a total of just 18 games in the process.
The boys matches were generally closer, and the Cats had to go three sets to win in both No. 1 and No. 2 doubles.