ABILENE — Fort Worth Western Hills girls track coach Suzette Pritchett struggled to contain her emotions after two of her athletes climbed down from the podium with medals draped around their necks Friday morning at the Class 4A Region I meet at McMurry University.
Jaynisha Berry won gold in the long jump with a distance of 19 feet 1 1/2 inches, while teammate Crystal Jones grabbed the silver with a distance of 18 feet, 2 3/4 inches to claim spots at the state meet in Austin.
“My whole thing was just to get them to compete at a high level, and then get them to compete against each other,” Pritchett said. “This is very rare, and you dream of coaching someone who could do this. To have two athletes do this in one event is very special. I could go 20 more years and not have that happen.”
Berry struggled in prelims, finishing fifth but rose to the occasion in the finals.
Both Berry and Jones are seniors and were ecstatic about securing their first trip to state.
“I was nervous after prelims because I didn’t jump my 18 like I usually do, but Coach just told me run hard, knees up,” Berry said. “This is my first year doing long jump, my first year I’m going to state, and I’m a senior so words can’t even explain the feeling.”
Joas Aguilar, an All-American tackle for the Birdville football team and Texas A&M signee, threw a personal best 185 feet, 5 inches to claim gold in the discus and book his third consecutive trip to Austin.
He finished third at state last season with a throw of 170 feet, 10 inches and seventh in 2011 with a distance of 164 feet, 8 inches.
“I PR’d today but it wasn’t my best form. so I can probably improve on that,” Aguilar said. “But I like throwing against the wind, because I throw really low and it pushes it upward.”
Aguilar will try to secure a spot at state in the shot put on Saturday.
Older, wiser, faster
Burleson’s Jessica Prickett is headed back to the state meet after winning the gold medal in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 10 minutes, 45.89 seconds, some 20 seconds slower than her personal record time turned in last month at the Texas Relays.
“I thought it went pretty well. I was trying to get my time between 10:40-10:50, I knew the wind would kind of be a factor, and my main focus was winning and making it to state,” Prickett said. “Last year I didn’t even know I had a shot and was not near as good of a runner as I am this year and just barely made it to state.”
Elisha Peters of Azle booked her first trip to the state meet after winning gold in the high jump with a height of 5 feet, 6 inches. Her personal record is 5-9 set last month at the Texas Relays.
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JohnsonJarret
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