Mansfield Summit runner makes good of second chance, earning state berth

Posted Saturday, Apr. 26, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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After four years, Mansfield Summit’s Emoni Taylor is heading to the UIL state track meet.

With a time of 44.53 seconds in the girls 300-meter hurdles Saturday in the Class 4A Region II meet at UT Arlington’s Maverick Stadium, the Summit senior finished second to earn a state berth.

Taylor needed some sacrifice and a little bit of luck to realize her dream.

Taylor spent her first three years of high school splitting time between basketball and track. Her senior year, Taylor dropped basketball to focus solely on track.

“In basketball I wasn’t able to work on all the things I was able to work on all the things that I needed to work on,” Taylor said. “I was able to focus on the smaller things that make a good runner.”

It almost wasn’t enough. Taylor finished fifth in the area meet, which would have ended her season.

However, a scratch of one of the runners who finished ahead of her gave her another chance, and she capitalized.

“It’s a humbling experience,” she said. “Everything I could imagine.”

That experience goes beyond her individual accomplishments as well.

As the team’s standout captain, her performance helped push Mansfield Summit’s whole girls team to a new level, finishing in a tie with McKinney North for fourth place with 41 points.

Summit went from a ninth-place finish with just 24 points in last year’s regional meet to fourth place Saturday, their largest leap in four years.

“These seniors were freshman when I came in and they’ve stuck together and fought and fought and worked hard for four years,” Summit coach Shannon Utley said.

Summit’s girls season extends for only Taylor. Utley said that responsibility couldn’t lie in better hands.

“She’s a hard worker,” Utley said. “She’s a great student. She’s our team leader far and above, on and off the track. We’re really excited she’s going to get that opportunity to go and compete.”

Seguin sends one

Arlington Seguin coach Katra Ridgeway believed Tonea Marshall had the potential for success in track since Marshall ran in sixth-grade field days.

Saturday, that potential took the next step as Marshall, a sophomore, qualified for state with her fastest time ever of 13.73 in the 100-meter hurdles. Marshall finished second overall.

Marshall also credits three years of gymnastics competition when she was younger. But Ridgeway said it’s simply about her speed.

“She’s extremely flexible, but it’s her speed that gets her over there,” Ridgeway said. “It’s the sprinting in between each hurdle that allows her to run so fast. Flexibility is really good, but she has a lot of speed.”

Marshall was also a part of Seguin’s 4x200 relay, which took third place, earning a provisional berth to the state meet.

If Seguin’s 4x200 time of 1:41.27 ends up being the fastest among other third-place finishers in the state’s other three regional meets, the relay team will advance to Austin.

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