A pair of Brown County student-athletes will attempt to bring home gold medals in their respective events at the UIL Class 2A State Track and Field Championships, which take place Friday and Saturday at Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus in Austin.
Early senior Guy Henry will test his mettle against the state’s best in the boys 100 meters, while Bangs sophomore Andrea Evers will challenge for the girls long jump crown.
Henry, the Region I-2A champion, boasts the second-fastest qualifying time of 10.99. Only Jeremy Brown of Whitewright (10.97) ran a faster time at a regional meet.
“It’s Texas, it’s a huge state and a lot of people could go to the state track meet,” Henry said. “I’m just proud to be one of them and to represent Early. We have one of the best athletic programs in 2A and I’m just glad we’re getting recognition at the state track meet.”
For Evers, making it to state has always been a goal, though having it occur so early in her high school career caught even her by surprise. Evers (16-8.25) came in second to Reagan County’s Victoria Goodloe (17-6.25) at regionals to earn her trip to Austin.
“I feel like I accomplished one of my goals and it feels like all the hard work I put into it paid off,” Evers said. “I knew I could do it, but I’m surprised to.”
Henry, who will run at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, may well be competing in the toughest race at state. The top six qualifiers were separated by approximately a tenth of a second. Henry edged out Aaron Flores of Floydada (11.0) for the regional title, while the rest of the field includes Dustin Thompson of Edna (11.07), R.J. Evans of San Antonio Cole (11.08), Jarvarious Tatum of Tatum (11.08), Duke Truitt of Mart (11.1) and Larry Ellis of Pottsboro (11.3).
“I know a little about Aaron Flores from Floydada,” Henry said. “I raced him in the finals at the regional meet and beat him by a hundreth (of a second). He’s already good competition. I think I’m going in with the second-best time, so I have a good shot at a medal. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Evers, who will jump at 1:30 p.m. Friday, owns the eighth-best qualifying distance amongst a field that includes Tara Towns of Dublin (18-6.75), Jasmine Kent of University City Randolph (17-9.75), Chasey Senger of Hamilton (17-8.75), Sigrid Roberts of Boling (17-2.75), Ajante Russell of Anahuac (17-1.5), Cassi Clower of Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill (17-1) and Goodloe.
Competing at Myers Stadium isn’t a first for Evers as she took part in the Texas Relays earlier this spring, which she hopes gives her an extra edge.
“I went to the Texas Relays and was really nervous, but since I’m going there again I won’t be as nervous,” Evers said. “I want to try my best and remember to have fun and not take it too serious. I’m just blessed that I’m going.”
Added Bangs Lady Dragons track coach Michelle Allen, “The Texas Relays were a real good experience for her because of how many people she competed against. Andrea has a lot of potential to do even more than what she’s doing right now. She’s a hard worker and she’s learning to work even harder and that’s the reason she’s accomplishing her goals. She reaches her goals because she never stops trying.”
For Henry, he is hoping to capture a state championship that has narrowly eluded the Longhorns in team sports over the past few years.
“I’m not sure anyone from Early has ever won a state championship and I would like to do that just to break that streak,” Henry said. “I’m going to give it everything I have and shoot for the gold.”
Added Early Longhorns head track coach Darren Bailey, “This is a great thing for Guy to be running at state because he’s worked so hard through his high school career. He’s worked really hard to achieve what he has and he can show other kids what’s possible. When these kids do great things, it carries down to future athletes who will come through here.”