There will be a strong contingent of girls representing Keller ISD at the state track and field meet this year.
Many of the qualifiers from the regional meet are making their first appearance at the Class 6A event in Austin on May 16.
Qualifying in both the 100m and 400m events is Timber Creek’s Jhane’ King, a junior who is one of those headed to Austin for the first time. King was a regional qualifier last year, but finished third and just missed out on the state appearance.
Although she used to also play soccer, King said she’s focused now solely on her track performance. She also competes in the 200m and a member of the 4x400m relay.
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“I really enjoy the feeling of accomplishment, especially after the 400,” she said.
King should feel a sense of accomplishment, as she’s set more than a few records for the Timber Creek girls’ track program already.
“I’d like my name in the records when I leave,” she said. “I set the school record in the 400, 100 and part of the 4x4 last year and this year set the record in the 200,” she noted.
King’s best times in the 100 is 11.77 and has a 400 best of 45.95. Her mark in the 200 is 24.54. Her qualifying time in the 400 this year is fourth-best and her 100 time is sixth.
“I hope to run faster at state,” she said. “I’m pretty excited this year since it’s the first year for state.”
Another state qualifier is Central’s Stephanie Gaisbauer in the pole vault. Gaisbauer finished second at the regional meet with a best-height of 12-0, although that’s six inches below her personal best.
She’s been vaulting now for six years and said the ability has been a natural talent.
“In eighth grade, we had tryouts and it looked cool, so I tried it,” she said.
At the district meet this season, Gaisbauer’s best had been 12-3 and she said, “I just went for it.”
Gaisbauer has honed her skills as part of the Polecats vaulting club which practices in empty lots which can be seen off Bear Creek Road, just across from the park in Keller.
“I’m really excited about it,” she said of going to the state meet. “At the start of the season, I thought I could do it. I have more motivation to get further in the track season.”
The senior is planning to continue her vaulting at Texas A&M Commerce next year. She said she feels her abilities are tied to her arm and core strength, along with her speed.
In Austin, Gaisbauer said there’s no real pressure.
“I’m going to go in and jump like practice. There’s no pressure because I don’t have to qualify for anything further. The big obstacle was qualifying for state,” Gaisbauer said.
Heading into the state meet, Gaisbauer’s best height would put her third amongst the other qualifiers.
She knows, though, on that particular day – May 16 – will determine the final standings.
“I haven’t looked at the other vaulters,” she said. “If I do, I’ll start stressing about it. At the meet, I just want to have fun with it. I might place, I might not.”
Yet another female qualifier is Fossil Ridge’s Tatyana Flannigan.
Flannigan finished as the regional champion in the triple jump.
Other girls at state from Keller ISD include Desiree Coston, Timber Creek, high jump and Keller’s Ryanne Johnson in the discus.
Another Timber Creek athlete, Chase Dennis, will be in Austin to compete in the discus, while Keller’s Josh Zozaya will pole vault in the boys competition.
With the three Timber Creek athletes competing, Strong had said this is the most individuals representing the Falcons at the state meet. “We had three relays five years back,” Strong said of the team qualifiers.