The road to the UIL state track and field meet can be a long and arduous one. Offseason training leads into the regular season, including various meets across the state. But the road to state, in earnest, starts at the district meet. And for Euless Trinity and Hurst L.D. Bell, that meant this past week at Flower Mound High School.
“I felt like we had a good meet,” Bell coach Gerald Smith said. “I feel like we competed really well, especially in this district.”
“I truly expected our kids to run like they did,” Trinity coach David Ryon said. “Some of them were good enough to make it to the area round and some weren’t.”
The Bell boys finished fourth as a team, just three points out of third place. The Raiders were paced by double district-champion Derek Thomas, who won the long jump and triple jump. Ricky Walton also claimed a district title in the 200-meter event and anchored the 4x200 relay, which also finished first.
Chase Steelman was runner-up in shot put, as was Gary Glenewinkle in pole vault.
The Bell boys had won a couple of meets this season, so the team had high expectations coming in.
“To come up short was a little disappointing, but we had some great individual performances,” Smith said, pointing out that a few nagging injuries impacted the Raiders.
Trinity posted a pair of district champions, both on the girls side. Precious Ogba won the 400 meters while Hilita Paipa set a personal best in winning the shot put.
The girls 4x100 and 4x400 relays finished second, while Anne Longangu was runner-up in the 200 meters.
Ryon was extremely pleased with those girls relays teams; the 4x100 set a school record while the 4x400 ran two seconds faster than it has at any other meet this year. That helped the girls team finished third overall.
“We don’t have three in every event,” Ryon said. “For our girls to finish third to a lot of the teams that do have three in every event, I thought was just an incredible accomplishment.”
Up next for the individuals and relays that finished in the top four is the area meet. Neither Smith nor Ryon have any guesses about who might advance from there to the regional meet.
“Once you get to that point, you never know what’s going to happen,” Smith said. “There’s going to be kids that step up and perform even better. There will be kids who have their struggles.”
The area meet will take place at Northwest ISD Stadium on Thursday and Friday. The top four finishers will advance to the regional meet.