The annual March tradition returns Saturday as the Brownwood Lions and Lady Lions will serve as hosts of the Bluebonnet Relays at Gordon Wood Stadium.
For both teams, Saturday will feature the largest contingent of athletes competing for either squad thus far in the young season.
The Lady Lions have posted a pair of second-place team finishes at Godley and Brock. During the Godley meet, the Lady Lions registered four points fewer team champion Benbrook, while at the Brock meet Brownwood was one point behind Midland Christian in the final standings.
“We started early at Godley and we didn't have everyone there but came out as the runner-up, and we did the same thing at Brock, and I thought that was a big thing for us,” said Lady Lions track and field head coach Chesney Neely. “Most importantly, our kids are improving. We've had a lot of PRs and more kids competing in different events. Obviously we want to go out and try and win the Bluebonnet but more importantly we want to see our kids go out and get better each week, gain confidence, put up more PRs and keep improving.”
Thus far in 2020, the Lady Lions have been led by Harding University signee Trinity Jackson, who the 100-meter hurdles at both Brock and Godley, the 300-meter hurdles at Godley, and the pole vault at Brock.
The 4x100 relay of Jadie Sudderth, Watts Jones, Alyssa Couey and Aleyia Cotton placed first at Godley, while Cotton, in the 400 meters, and Kenya Barnes, in the discus, were winners at Brock.
The Lions, who have been far more short-handed, came in third in Godley and eighth at Brock.
Lions head coach Andy Howard stated the Brownwood boys likely won't be at full strength until the San Angelo Relays March 20-21.
“We're getting to that point of being closer to full strength but we'll have three of our relay legs at the baseball tournament,” Howard said. “We also have some basketball guys that are just a week into training so we're looking at them in different areas. Once we're out of baseball tournament season and we get the basketball guys through the conditioning phase we'll be at full strength.”
Among the strengths of the group are the jumps with reigning Class 4A triple jump state champion A.J. McCarty, while the 4x100 and 4x200 relays return three legs from last year. Khyren Deal in the 100 meters and Royshad Henderson in the 400 meters are off to fast starts, while Zach Bond is expected to make an impact in the hurdles. Hunter Day in the 800 meters and Weston Burns in the pole vault are others to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
Deal won the 100 meters at Brock while Uriah King finished first in the 400 meters at Godley.
Saturday's meet begins at 10 a.m. with the field events and 3200-meter runs. Running finals will begin 30 minutes after the completion of the field events, which will consist of four jumps and four throws. Running events will take place in the following order: 4x100 relay, 800 meters, 100-meter/110-meter hurdles, 100 meters, 4x200 relay, 400 meters, 300-meter hurdles, 200 meters, 1600 meter, 4x400 relay.
Divisions earlier in the week were as follows, but Howard stated more teams have and will be added to the meet after other events were cancelled this week due to rain:
Brownwood is slated to compete in Division I along with Graham, Mineral Wells, Midland Greenwood, Sweetwater, and Stephenville.
Division II will consist of Bangs, San Saba, Brady, Cherokee, Gordon, Roscoe, Stamford, Graham JV, Sweetwater JV, Midland Greenwood JV, Mineral Wells JV, Stephenville JV and the Brownwood JV girls.
Making up Division III will be the Bangs JV, San Saba JV, Brady JV, Cherokee JV, Gordon JV, Roscoe JV, and the Stamford JV.