With strong showings in the sprints, the Waltrip girls track and field team had a trio of district champions at last week’s 18-6A meet at Barnett Stadium.
Those girls, along with a couple of others, will now advance to the Area 23/24 meet Thursday, April 19 with the top two in each event moving on to the Region III competition and a shot at getting to the state meet next month in Austin.
Senior Amber Johnson was the district winner for Waltrip in both the 100- and 200-meter races, and she also helped the 4-x-100 relay bring home the gold medal as the Rams finished tied for fourth place in the team standings with Sharpstown.
Both the Rams and the Apollos scored 58 points and were just two points behind third place Wisdom, which finished with 60. They were also both just three points ahead of fifth place.
Madison, which had 55. Sterling won the meet with 135 points and Northside was a distant second with 78 points as the real competition was for team placing after Sterling.
Johnson led Waltrip’s strong effort as the Rams went 1-2 in the 100 with freshman Ayana.
Fletcher coming in second. Johnson won the meet’s shortest race (12.14) rather impressively, finishing a full second over Fletcher (13.29), who ran very well in her first varsity district meet as a ninth-grader.
The pair also were first and second respectively, in the prelims with fast times that they improved on in the finals two days later. Johnson was first in the prelims (13.09) and Fletcherwas right behind her for second (13.70).
Johnson was also more than solid in the 200, winning it (26.14) in a race that saw only the top three finishers close with times under 27 seconds.
Again Johnson won the prelims and ran a better time in the finals than she did in her first race (26.54) as she knocked nearly half-a-second off to advance.
Both Johnson and Fletcher were part of the Rams’ third gold medal, running the third and fourth legs on their winning 4-x-100 relay squad (51.08). Chrislyn Johnson and freshman Lillian Espinosa were the first two girls on that relay, meaning half of the group were ninth graders competing in their first district track meet.
The 400 relay was a close race to the end as well with Sterling coming in a tight second (51.17) and Northside third (52.08) as one full second separated the three teams.
Espinosa secured her own medal in the 400-meter run, placing second (1:03.06) with the final time below 1:04. The winning time (1:01.48) came from a Houston Wisdom runner. Espinosa was also the runner-up in the prelims (1:01.75) with three girls running times under 1:03 in their first race.
Taleah Atkinson just missed qualifying in the shot put, as he placed fifth (26-02.5). The first place distance was 32 feet even with only two throws longer than 30 feet among the group.
The boys will also at least three individuals and two relays to this week’s Area meet after they had a nice showing at the district meet.
Senior Tyrell Buard was the team’s only district champ, winning the shot put (48-09) by more than four feet. In all, only three heaves went farther than 40 feet. The Rams just missed having two shot putters advance to the next round with freshman Jacob Escobeda coming in fifth (37-02.5) overall.
Orvis Fowler was second in the long jump (21-0) for the Rams as only two jumpers in the 24-5A went longer than 21 feet, but the top five finishers all went farther than 20 feet. It was also one of the meet’s largest competitions with 17 jumpers in the field when they started.
Junior Andrew Mendez came in third in the 800-meter run (2:11.63) in one of the meet’s tightest races with just two-tenths of a second separating the top three runners. The winning time (2:11.42) and second place mark (2:11.52) were just a stride ahead of Mendez’s pace.
Mendez came up just short of moving on in two events after he was fifth in the 1,600 (5:13.46).
Again it was a close race with less than five seconds between the top five finishers as the winning mark was a 5:08.12. The Rams will have two relay teams at the upcoming Area Meet after they were third in the 4-x-100 for a bronze medal and fourth in the 4-x-200.
Kevion Thompson, Caleb Lastrape, Coley Barnes, and Cameron Boudreaux made up the 400 relay group that was third (44.40) while Johnson, Lastrape, Fowler, and Boudreaux again on the anchor made up the 800 relay (1:33.12). Sterling won the 400 relay (43.56) but was less than a second ahead of the Rams. Madison took the 800 relay (1:31.89), but again it was close with Waltrip just 1.2 seconds behind them.
Boudreaux came up one place short of getting to the Area Round in the 200 after he was fifth (23.84) in that sprint event.
Cameron Williams also just missed advancing in the quarter-mile, placing fifth in the 400 (56.32).
As a team, the Rams placed fifth with 53 points. Austin won the team competition with 167 points and Sterling came in second with 113.