Texan sets state mark en route to gold

Posted Monday, May. 13, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Not many were surprised that defending pole vault state champion Desiree Freier would repeat at the UIL state track and field meet last weekend in Austin.

What might be the pleasant surprise is that Freier would set a state girls pole vault record in the process.

Even more surprising is that Freier set the mark a day after it had already been bettered by Boswell’s Lakan Taylor.

Freier cleared 13’9” to set the mark and win her second gold medal at Northwest.

Another Texan was involved in a state record-setting event at Austin.

Northwest’s Kellee McCann, however, was 4th in the 3200m run, where a new state mark was set by Sandie Raines of Humble Kingwood.

McCann admitted that she didn’t have one of her better races, but knew that the pace was potentially ripe for a state record.

“I actually saw it as shaping up to be one of the fastest 2-mile races,” McCann said. “I definitely saw someone with a chance to set the record.”

McCann, a junior, had been to the state meet as a freshman in the 800m event. The tie for sixth that year has helped fuel her jump to the 3200m event and pushes her to improve.

Pushing herself too much early may have been her downfall in earning a medal.

“A mile into race there were still about five or six still in a pack together,” McCann recalled. “We were all still under record pace. After a mile is when we started to separate and some of us fell off the pace.

“Running is just one of those things where some days you have it and some days you don’t,” McCann said.

“I still had an amazing season but just came up about one race short. I’m still proud,” McCann added. “I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and training hard and make improvements for next year.”

Two other Texans also competed at the state meet.

Zach Kirkwood was 7th in the 800m and Kiarra Simpson was 7th in the discus.

“They’re out there with the best of the best,” said Northwest head coach George Lutkenhaus. “If they run 10 times, you may get a different winner every time.”

“Everyone wants to come home with a medal,” Lutkenhaus added. “It’s an honor just being down there with those kids.”

“There are a lot of different things that come into play,” Lutkenhaus said. “How many hard races you have to get there and how you push away those nerves. Even sitting around for several days takes a lot out of you.”

Northwest had just one senior and all the remainder will be back next year, Lutkenhaus said. “A lot of good runners didn’t even make it this year.”

Lutkenhaus tried to keep the state meet appearances in proper perspective for his qualifiers.

“The hardest part is getting here. Just making it out of a regional meet is tough enough.”

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