AUSTIN —  Brownwood Lion Demarcus Whinery qualified for the Division I high school finals in the 110-meter hurdles at the 86th annual Texas Relays — hosted by the University of Texas — where he placed fifth with a time of 14.85 on Saturday.

During Friday’s preliminaries, Whinery was clocked at the same time — 14.85 — and in the same position — fifth — among the 22 competitors in Division I, which is comprised of Class 3A and smaller schools from throughout the state.

“I’m really proud of Demarcus,” said Brownwood High track and field head coach Don Hood. “Last year he came here and was so intimidated that it effected his performance. This year, he stepped up and ran two really good races. I feel a lot better about his chances of coming back in May (for state) after watching how he competed this weekend.”

Lexie Lewis, who qualified for state in both the 100 meters and 200 meters a year ago, finished 13th in the preliminaries of the Division I 100 meters Friday. Lewis was timed at 12.43.

Victoria Henry placed 16th overall in the Division I girls shot put with a distance of 38-4.75, while the Lions 4x200 relay team of Jared Crouch, Cooper Howey, Kaimon Ontiveros, Bruce Sterling posted the 16th-best time of 1:32.32 in the preliminaries.

The same four Lion runners teamed up to finish 18th in the preliminaries of the Division I sprint relay with a time of 44.65, while the Lady Lions mile relay team of Ebonie Adams, Lewis, Amanda Chambers and Sharday Melvin came in 20th in prelims with a time of 4:14.68.

The Lions mile relay team of Kyle Steele, Ontiveros, Whinery and Bryan Johnson also competed and ran a 3:39.07, which was 34th in the Division I prelims.

“We competed hard, but I thought we might run faster,” Hood said. “But there’s a lot of pressure to come into a venue with 15,000 or 20,000 people watching you.”

Zephyr was also represented at the Texas Relays by the Bulldogs’ sprint relay team. The foursome of Dakota Rogers, Jayden Ezra, Hunter Harper and Dillon Williams placed 27th in the Division I preliminaries with a time of 45.41.

The Lions and Lady Lions will return to action April 11-12 at the District 8-3A meet in Lampasas.

“I feel like we have a chance to win both (girls district championship and boys district championship), but you never know until you get there,” Hood said. “We still need to get faster, but in terms of attitudes and work ethic, we’re headed in the right direction.”