Texans track athletes move on to state

Posted Monday, Apr. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Northwest will send four athletes to the state track and field meet after some of the teams’ best performances at the Region I meet in Lubbock last weekend.

Finishing in the top two spots to qualify for the state appearance were Zach Kirkland, 800m, Kellee McCann, 3200m; Desiree Freier, pole vault and Kiarra Simpson, discus.

Even though the girls relay teams in the 4x100m and 4x200m didn’t qualify for the state meet, both quartets set school records. The 4x100 relay set the school record in the preliminaries, only to beat its own record the next day in the finals.

“It was a good two days all-around,” said Northwest head coach George Lutkenhaus.

“The girls have just been phenomenal,” Lutkenhaus added.

Freier is the returning state champion in her event.

At the regional meet in Lubbock, she cleared 13’3”, three inches better than Annie Rhodes of Waco Midway, who may be one of Freier’s top competitors in Austin.

Simpson, who has been strong all season, finished second in the discus at the regional competition.

McCann, who took first at the regional, had just made her first appearance at a regional. She had missed the qualifying district meet last year due to illness. She finished third in the area meet.

“I’m definitely looking to make it to state with a new PR (personal record) time,” McCann said in early March.

Making a return to the state meet for Northwest is Kirkland, who finished fourth as a sophomore.

En route to taking the regional championship, Kirkland ran a personal best 1:53.26, bettering his previous best of 1:53.5.

“I finished one spot shy of a medal,” Kirkland said of last year’s state meet. “It’s definitely a motivation for me this year. I wanted to come back better this year perform well and show some people I can do it,” he said. “I guess I want to prove it to myself, too.”

Asked if he can further improve on his time, Kirkland said, “My coach said he sees it in me. He hasn’t been wrong yet.”

Lutkenhaus has seen quite a bit out of his team this year already and expects even more great things at the state meet in Austin on May 10-11.

The Texans finished second in both boys and girls divisions at the district meet. The boys team finished third at the area-round meet, with the girls finishing in fifth.

Having a great outing at the area meet included Jordan Muldrow and Kerry Gleason, who won the 100m and 300m hurdles, respectively, but failed to qualify at the regional meet.

“It’s been fantastic to just watch them perform,” Lutkenhaus said proudly. “Especially on that sort of stage to see them perform like that. That’s what it’s all about. It’s why you do what you do. To see the kids smile like that when they perform is just awesome.”

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