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Showing good form D.J. Thomas shows the form that narrowly missed qualifying him for the final at the regional track meet.
Ready to runThe Mile Relay Team of Daniel Mabbit, David Stretcher, Kyle Clark and D.J. Thomas prepare to compete at the regional track meet in Odessa
Ready to run The Mile Relay Team of Daniel Mabbit, David Stretcher, Kyle Clark and D.J. Thomas prepare to compete at the regional track meet in Odessa Friday. (Photo by Mark Stretcher)
The Jacksboro track athletes made the five hour trip to Odessa to compete at the Region 1-2A track meet this weekend. This was the first year that the University Interscholastic League had implemented the Area Track Meet. The end result of the extra level of competition was that only sixteen student athletes would compete in each of the events compared to twenty-four student athletes in each event in previous years. Therefore, simply qualifying to compete at the Regional Meet was a more difficult accomplishment than in previous years. Each of the athletes competing at the Regional Meet were one of the top 16 athletes in the region in each of their respective events. Athletic Director Brian Hodnett said, "We are so excited about the kids that advanced to Regionals. We as a staff believe that a good track program helps every sport by developing better athletes. The kids were excited about representing JHS and have already started making plans to go back to Odessa next year." Jacksboro High School was moved to Region 1 in the last UIL realignment. In previous years, Jacksboro has competed in Region 2 at Tarleton State University. But with the change in Regions, the Tigers and Tigerettes made the trek to Ratliff Stadium in Odessa. Kirk Weldon (Jr) and D.J. Thomas (Jr) started the competition for the Tigers in the shot put. Weldon came up with his best throw of the day on his final preliminary throw to qualify for the finals. Thomas was right on the cusp of qualifying for the finals and was even announced as a finalist before a recalculation kept him out of the finals. Weldon finished eighth in the shot put. Laken Plaster (Sr), who competed Friday morning before leaving Odessa to travel to Albany to be the starting pitcher in the Tigerettes first ever softball playoff game, qualified for the finals in the shot put as well and she earned sixth place at the Regional Meet. Jared Lamberson (Sr) competed in the triple jump and just missed qualifying for the finals in his event. Weldon moved from the shot put competition straight to the discus where he entered the finals with the third best throw in the competition. Weldon ended up with a fifth place finish. The 4x100 relay team of Thomas, Reid Spiller (Sr), Daniel Mabbit (Soph) and David Stretcher (Jr) shaved 1.5 seconds off their time at the Area Meet to qualify for the finals where they finished in seventh place. Despite improving their time from the Area Meet, the 4x400 relay team of Mabbit, Stretcher, Kyle Clark (Jr) and Thomas fell just short of qualifying for the finals. Clark also fell just short of qualifying for the finals in the 400 meter dash. Saturday morning started off with Stretcher competing in the long jump and he missed qualifying for the finals in the event. Kelsey Laake (Jr) finished thirteenth in the 800 meter run Saturday morning. Jacob Bridges (Fr) had a challenging day Saturday as well, as he placed twelfth in the 800 meter run and after a short amount of time to rest, placed twelfth in the 1600 meter run. The Tigers and Tigerettes and their coaches had a great track season, highlighted by the school's first District track championship in ten years. Head Track Coach Don Rodie commented, "This season has had many great achievements and stepping stones. Winning the District title was a huge goal that we had set, and placing third at the Area Meet was another great feat. "Watching both the boys' and girls' programs participate and develop into a competitive group has to be the most exciting part of the season. I would like to personally thank my coaching staff who stepped up and did an unbelievable job in preparing our kids to compete this year." An added bonus to the track students was that they made it back from Odessa in time to walk the red carpet for their 2013 Junior Senior Prom Saturday night and all was good.