Written by Brandon George
Lancaster's Devin Field, Plano East's Jennifer Madu lead 2011 all-area track and field team
BOYS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - DEVIN FIELD, LANCASTER, SO.
Lancaster sophomore Devin Field won his second consecutive Class 4A long jump state title two weeks ago in Austin and, for good measure, added a triple jump state championship to his resume this year.
Not bad for an athlete who has spent his two years in high school competing with a hairline fracture in his lower spine.
Field (5-10, 160) played on the Tigers’ freshman football team last year, and two weeks into his first varsity track season he hurt so badly in practice that he could barely run. A doctor visit revealed the hairline fracture, which meant the end of his football-playing days.
Field said the injury doesn’t affect him too much, but it has limited his attempts in the triple jump. Because he was suspended for an off-campus incident, Field didn’t compete in his first meet this season until early April. At the District 15-4A meet, Field won the triple jump with one jump (electing not to take the other five attempts).
“The long jumping is just one time when I hit the ground, and that’s the only pressure on it, so it doesn’t really bother me,” Field said, “but in the triple jump, I hit the ground three times, and the pressure is in the same spot.”
But at state, his winning triple jump of 50 feet, 13/4 inches came on his last attempt. That mark ranks fourth in the state and ninth in the nation this year. Field won the long jump at 24-111/4, the nation’s third-best mark.
COACH OF THE YEAR - GREG WILLIAMS, LANCASTER
At state meet: Led the Tigers to a fourth consecutive Class 4A state team title with 54 points.
Notable: This is Williams’ 14th season as Lancaster’s boys track head coach, though he’s been at the school for 23 years. This was Williams’ sixth Class 4A state team title during his Lancaster head coaching tenure. Williams led Lancaster’s 4x400-meter relay team to its sixth 4A state title in the last eight seasons.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR - REESE THOMPSON, ARGYLE, FR.
At state meet: Failed to qualify for state, but finished fourth in the 3A Region II meet in the pole vault by clearing 15 feet.
Notable: Thompson is the younger brother of Argyle senior standout pole vaulter/sprinter Kyle Thompson, who has signed with Texas Tech. Reese Thompson tied for 10th in the area this year in the pole vault.
RELAY - SOUTHLAKE CARROLL’S 4X400
Members (in racing order): Sabian Holmes, Jr.; Peyton Williams, Jr.; Scott Peterson, Sr.; Mac McGuire, Sr.
At state meet: Won 5A title with a time of 3:13.48, which ranked first in the state this year and third nationally.
Notable: Holmes and Williams play receiver in football. McGuire was named the 5A all-state kicker in football and was SportsDay’s player of the year in soccer.
ROBERT ADKINSON, CORSICANA, JR.
At state meet: Won Class 4A 100 title in 10.65 seconds.
Notable: Adkinson also won the 4A 100 state title last year in 10.93.
AARON SCOTT, DENTON RYAN, SR.
At state meet: Finished third in the 4A 200 (21.37) and led Ryan to the title in the 4x200 relay (1:25.77) and to second in the 4x400 (3:17.55).
Notable: Scott has signed with Texas.
ALDRICH BAILEY, MANSFIELD TIMBERVIEW, JR.
At state meet: Won 5A title in the 400 meters (46.76 seconds).
Notable: Posted the state’s top time in the 400 at 46.53 seconds, which ranked fourth in the nation.
RICHARD GARY, DUNCANVILLE, JR.
At state meet: Finished third in the 5A 400 (47.32 seconds) and helped Duncanville finish eighth in the 4x400 relay (3:19.49).
Notable: Gary ranked second in the area in the 400 and fifth in the 800.
TREVOR GILLEY, SL CARROLL, SO.
At state meet: Gilley finished fourth in the 5A 1,600 meters in 4:09.37.
Notable: Ranked seventh in the nation.
CRAIG LUTZ, FM MARCUS, SR.
At state meet: Won 5A title in 3,200 meters in 8:52.91, .57 seconds off the state-meet record time of 8:52.34, set by Conroe McCullough’s Eric Henry in 1987.
Notable: Lutz, a Texas signee, ranked fifth in the nation in the 3,200 (8:52.91) and 14th in the 1,600 (4:11.40).
JORDAN “BO” BURGESS, KENNEDALE, SR.
At state meet: Won 3A title in the 300 hurdles (37.31), anchored 4x200 relay team to third place (1:27.58) and 4x400 relay team to eighth place (3:27.19).
Notable: He signed with Texas Tech.
KENNETH MINKAH, DESOTO, SR.
At state meet: Finished second in the 5A 300 hurdles (36.43), fifth in the 110 hurdles (14.02) and anchored 4x400 relay to fourth (3:15.55).
Notable: Minkah signed with Texas A&M. Minkah’s 300 hurdles time at the state meet ranked second in the state and third in the nation.
ANDREW AKENS, N. MESQUITE, SR.
At state meet: Akens won the 5A title in the shot put (62-21/2).
Notable: Akens ranked 23rd in the nation in the shot put.
JORDAN ROOS, CELINA, JR.
At state meet: Roos won the 3A title in the shot put (60-101/2).
Notable: Early in the season, Roos had a mark of 64-1 in the shot put that led the state and ranked 12th in the nation.
OLABANJI ASEKUN, CEDAR HILL, SR.
At state meet: Finished fourth in the 5A triple jump (49-03/4) and fifth in the long jump (23-51/4).
Notable: Asekun’s season-best long jump of 24-23/4 tied for 23rd nationally.
DEANDRE ELLIOTT, CARTER, SR.
At state meet: Finished second in the 4A long jump (23-41/2).
Notable: Elliott signed a football scholarship with Colorado State.
JONATHAN FULLER, ROCKWALL-HEATH, SR.
At state meet: Finished second in the 4A high jump (6-8).
Notable: Fuller’s season-best high jump of 6-11 tied for 15th nationally.
KYLE THOMPSON, ARGYLE, SR.
At state meet: Finished third in the 3A pole vault (15-6), sixth in the 200 (22.03) and ninth in the 100 (10.96).
Notable: Signed with Texas Tech.
At state meet: Field won 4A titles in the long jump (24-111/4) and the triple jump (50-13/4). Last year, Field won the 4A long jump state title with a leap of 22-61/2.
Notable: Field and his family were forced to move from his hometown of Port Arthur in 2005 when Hurricane Rita destroyed their home. Field said he plans to graduate early his senior year and would like to be on a college campus in the spring of 2013 instead of competing in high school.
GIRLS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - JENNIFER MADU, PLANO EAST, Jr.
In 2008, Rochelle’s Bonnie Richardson dominated the state meet by winning the Class 1A girls team championship by herself. She totaled 42 points by medaling in five events (two wins, two runner-ups and a third).
But 1A is the lowest UIL classification. What Plano East junior Jennifer Madu pulled off two weeks ago at the other end of the pecking order in 5A might be considered more impressive.
Madu was a one-woman show at the state meet for a school that has one of the largest enrollments in Texas. Madu won titles in the triple jump (40-31/4) and 100 meters (11.63 seconds), finished second in the long jump (19-2) and sixth in the 200 meters (24.34) for a total of 29 points, placing Plano East fifth in the final team standings.
“I was pretty excited and really tired,” Madu said. “I remember after the long and triple jump, I looked at the score sheet and we were winning, and I was like, ‘Yes!’”
That eventually changed, with relays counting 20 points for a win instead of 10 for finishing first in an individual event. Still, it doesn’t lessen what Madu accomplished. Many outstanding girls athletes have dominated state meets before, but few cross over from the sprints to the field events with Madu’s success.
Madu’s season-best long jump (19-4) tied for 23rd in the nation, and her best triple jump (40-73/4) ranked 11th. Her best 200 (24.03) tied for 28th, and her best 100 (11.63) was 12th.
At state meet: Won 5A titles in triple jump (40-31/4) and 100 meters (11.63 seconds), finished second in long jump (19-2) and sixth in 200 (24.34). She scored all of Plano East’s 29 points, which placed it fifth in the team standings.
Notable: Madu, who plays basketball, missed a month of the track season with a sprained ankle. Her parents were born in Nigeria, but she was born in Garland. Madu’s schools of choice are Florida, Stanford, Texas A&M and Kansas State.
COACH OF THE YEAR - JUNE VILLERS, DeSoto
At state meet: Led the Lady Eagles to the Class 5A state team title with 51 points.
Notable: Villers led the Lady Eagles to a second consecutive 5A Region II team title in Waco, racking up 116 points (more than double that of second-place Skyline). Villers just completed her 14th season as a coach, nine at DeSoto (four as the Lady Eagles’ head coach). Villers ran track for DeSoto (as a senior she did the 1,600, 800 and 4x400 relay) before graduating in 1991. Last year, Villers guided DeSoto to a second-place finish at the state meet behind Skyline.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR - DESIREE FREIER, JUSTIN NORTHWEST, FR.
At state meet: Finished second in 5A pole vault by clearing 12-3.
Notable: Freier, a 5-foot, 14-year-old who says she’s scared of heights, had the nation’s best vault (12-3) for a freshman. She ranked 12th in the state and was tied for 35th overall in the nation. She was over the bar at 12-7 at a regional qualifiers meet but her pole came back and knocked off the bar, so it didn’t count. Freier was the lead leg on Northwest’s 4x100 relay. Her step-father George Rodriguez held the University of North Texas pole vault record for 20 years.
FIRST TEAM RELAY - GARLAND’S 4X100, 4X200
Members (in racing order): Chasity Clark, Jr.; Bianca Jackson, Jr.; Chellane Jones, So.; Quetta Mapps, So.
At state meet: Won 5A titles in the 4x100 (45.87) and 4x200 (1:36.52).
Notable: The 4x200 relay posted the nation’s fastest time this year.
DEPHANIE ADEYEMI, FLOWER MOUND, JR.
At state meet: Finished second in 5A 100 (11.72) and fourth in 200 (23.94).
Notable: Adeyemi’s state-meet time in the 100 tied for 21st in the nation, and her state-meet time in the 200 tied for 18th.
STEPHANIE KALU, URSULINE, SR.
At state meet: Won TAPPS 5A titles in 100 (11.70) and 200 (25.45), anchored Ursuline’s state-title winning 4x100 relay team (49.67) and led Ursuline to its fourth consecutive team title.
Notable: Kalu, who has orally committed to Georgia Tech, posted the state’s top 100 time this year at 11.55 seconds, which ranked 11th nationally.
COURTNEY OKOLO, CARROLLTON NEWMAN SMITH, JR.
At state meet: Won 4A title in 400 meters (53.79) for a second consecutive year, anchored Newman Smith’s 4x400 relay team to a title (3:49.75) and finished third in 800 (2:15.37).
Notable: Okolo’s time of 53.79 in the 400 was the fastest in the nation this year.
JASMINE WEBB, SKYLINE, SR.
At state meet: Won 5A title in 800 (2:11.15) and anchored Skyline’s 4x400 relay to third place (3:46.19).
Notable: She’s received scholarship offers from LSU, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Kansas and has received interest from Oregon.
RACHEL JOHNSON, PLANO, SR.
At state meet: Finished second in 5A 3,200 (10:36.08) and fourth in 1,600 (5:02.57).
Notable: Johnson, who has signed with Baylor, missed the early part of the season with an injury.
CONNOR WARD, FLOWER MOUND, SR.
At state meet: Won 5A title in 1,600 (4:54.21) and finished third in 3,200 (10:37.88).
Notable: Ward’s winning 1,600 time led the state and ranked 21st in the nation.
BREA GARRETT, ARL. MARTIN, SR.
At state meet: Won 5A titles in the 100 hurdles (13.70) and shot put (46-01/2).
Notable: In both the 100 hurdles and the shot put, Garrett led the state and ranked eighth in the nation.
TAIJE JORDAN, LANCASTER, JR.
At state meet: Won 4A title in the 100 hurdles (13.96) and finished fourth in the 300 hurdles (42.68).
Notable: Jordan’s season-best times in the 100 hurdles (13.78) and 300 hurdles (42.59) ranked 12th in the nation.
CLAIRE UKE, URSULINE, SR.
At state meet: Won TAPPS 5A titles in the shot put (44-83/4) and the discus (138-71/2).
Notable: Signed with Rice. Won shot put state titles all four years of high school.
SHELBI VAUGHAN, MANS. LEGACY, JR.
At state meet: Won 5A title in the discus (161-0) and finished second in the shot put (44-111/4).
Notable: Vaughan led the nation in the discus with a throw of 174-10 (9 feet, 1 inch better than the nation’s second-ranked thrower). Vaughan broke DeSoto-ex Skylar White’s 5A state-meet record of 158-4 (in 2007) in the discus.
JESSIE JOHNSON, ARGYLE, JR.
At state meet: Won the 3A title in the pole vault (12-9).
Notable: Johnson broke the 3A state-meet record of 12-6, set in 2005 by Gonzales’ Arianna Ince. Johnson’s season-best pole vault of 13-3 ranked fifth in the nation.
ORLENE PARRIS, ARLINGTON, SR.
At state meet: Won 5A title in the high jump (5-9).
Notable: Parris signed with TCU. Parris’ season-best high jump of 5-10 tied for the state lead and tied for fourth in the nation.
BRIANNA RICHARDSON, ROCKWALL-HEATH, JR.
At state meet: Won 4A title in the triple jump (40-2) and finished second in the long jump (18-81/4).
Notable: Richardson’s season-best triple jump of 41-23/4 led the state and tied for sixth in the nation.
ANNA ROBINSON, DESOTO, SO.
At state meet: Won 5A title in the long jump (19-7).
Notable: Robinson’s season-best long jump of 19-103/4 led the state and tied for fifth in the nation.