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Lion tracksters take second at district

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Lovelady's Seth Enos hands off to Alan Baskin in the 4x400 relay at the District 20-2A Track and Field Meet last Thursday night in Centerville. LARRY LAMB | HCCLovelady's Seth Enos hands off to Alan Baskin in the 4x400 relay at the District 20-2A Track and Field Meet last Thursday night in Centerville. LARRY LAMB | HCC

By Larry Lamb
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CENTERVILLE –The Centerville Tigers defended their district track title but had the Lovelady Lions nipping at their heels when the District 20-2A meet culminated last Thursday night at Tiger Stadium.

The Tigers racked up 209 points, giving them a 16-point margin of victory over the Lions, who had 193 points. Groveton, which took second over Lovelady by just 1.5 points  last year, was a distant third with 90 points. Latexo (52), Grapeland (29), Leon (20) and Slocum (1) rounded out the team standings.

The top four places advance to the area meet at Madisonville on Monday, April 18.

The Lions, who had multiple area qualifiers in six events, picked up six golds, seven silvers, five bronzes and a pair of fourth place finishes in the two-day meet.

Competition for field events and running prelims were held last Monday and running finals were Thursday.

Latexo had seven area qualifiers in four events and Grapeland will send athletes to area in three events.

Lovelady advanced to area in the following events:

200 dash- Cody Davis, first, 22.93.

400 dash- Jackson Jefferies, second, 52.46; Skylar Pipkin, third, 54.65.

110 hurdles- Shaun Easterling, second, 15.62.

300 hurdles- Keivon Skinner, third, 42.82.

4x100 relay- Alan Baskin, Cody Davis, Jackson Jefferies, Conner Martinez, first, 43.90.

4x200 relay- Alan Baskin, Cody Davis, Shaun Easterling, Keivon Skinner, second, 1:33.68.

4x400 relay- Alan Baskin, Seth Enos, Jackson Jefferies, Skylar Pipkin, second, 3:45.09.

Long jump- Keivon skinner, third, 19'-7 1/4"; Skylar Pipkin, fourth, 19'-4".

Shot put- Dayvian Skinner, first, 42'-2".

Discus- Eric Castillo, second, 129'-7"; Shaun Easterling, fourth, 118'-7 1/2".

Triple jump- Keivon Skinner, first, 39'-10 1/2"; Alan Baskin, third, 39'-0".

High jump- Shaun Easterling, first, 5'-8"; Keivon Skinner, second, 5'-6"; Brandon Fry, third, 5'-4".

Pole vault- Cole Harris, first, 12'-0"; Landen LeBlanc, second, 11'-6".

Latexo athletes qualifying for area were:

100 dash- Dakota Sherley, second, 11.22; Ashton Hargrove, third, 11.28.

200 dash- Dakota Sherley, third, 23.46; Ashton Hargrove,  fourth, 23.68.

Long jump- Dakota Sherley, first, 20'-5"; Ashton Hargrove, second, 20'-0".

Triple jump- Dakota Sherley, second, 39'-4 1/2".

Advancing to area from Grapeland were:

100 dash- Cadarian Wiley, first, 11.12.

4x100 relay- Cadarian Wiley, Zacuriah Diaz, Riley Murchison, Omarian Wiley, third, 45.74.

Triple jump- Riley Murchison, fourth, 38-8 1/2".

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Lady Lions run away with 20-2A track title

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Lovelady's Mihyia Davis leads the pack down the stretch to victory in the girls 100-meter dash at the District 20-2A Track and Field Meet last week at Centerville. Also shown are Latexo's Charlee Biano (second place), Lovelady's Gracie McMahon (third), Grapeland's Sariyah Davis (fourth) and Lovelady's Morgan Womack (fifth).  LARRY LAMB | HCCLovelady's Mihyia Davis leads the pack down the stretch to victory in the girls 100-meter dash at the District 20-2A Track and Field Meet last week at Centerville. Also shown are Latexo's Charlee Biano (second place), Lovelady's Gracie McMahon (third), Grapeland's Sariyah Davis (fourth) and Lovelady's Morgan Womack (fifth). LARRY LAMB | HCCBy Larry Lamb

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CENTERVILLE – After finishing two points behind Groveton last year, Lovelady varsity girls captured the 2022 District 20-2A track and field championship by a 54-point margin.

Lovelady accumulated 202 points while Groveton settled for second place with 148.

Centerville and Leon battled to a third-place tie with 95 points each, Latexo had 46, Slocum eight and Grapeland four.

District field competition and running  prelims were held Monday. Running finals took place Thursday night at Tiger Stadium.

Top four finishers in each event will advance to the area meet on Monday, April 18 at Madisonville.

“All of our kids did an amazing job over the two-day meet. They will be working hard over the next week to prepare for the area contest,” said Lovelady head track coach Will Kirchhoff.

Winning eight golds, four silvers, seven bronzes and three fourth places, Lovelady girls will send athletes to area in 15 events. The Lady Lions had multiple qualifiers in six events.

Latexo has six area qualifiers and Grapeland has one.

Area qualifiers from Lovelady are:

100 dash- Mihyia Davis, first, 12.06; Gracie McMahon, third, 13.16.

200 dash- Gracie McMahon, fourth, 28.13.

400 dash- Bailee Albinus, second, 1:06.43.

800 run-  Shyanne Pipkin, fourth, 2:47.44.

1600 run- Shyanne Pipkin, third, 6:14.47.

100 hurdles- Anyya Mitchell, first, 16:10; Hanna Huffstuttler, third, 17.56.

300 hurdles- Scout Lovell, first, 49.05.

4x100 relay- Mihyia Davis, Scout Lovell, Makenna Pierce, Bailee Albinus, second, 51.13.

4x200 relay- Mihyia Davis, Scout Lovell, Makenna Pierce, Bailee Albinus, first, 1:48.15.

4x400 relay- Anyya Mitchell, Bailee Albinus, Aaliyah Jones, Gracie McMahon, third, 4:50.24.

Shot put- Holli Seidel, third, 28’-1 ½”; Magali Castillo, fourth, 27’-10”.

Discus- Kylie Pugh, first, 121’-5 ½”; Magali Castillo, second, 98'-8 1/2”.

Triple jump- Anyya Mitchell, first, 33’-10 ½”; Shyanne Pipkin, third, 31’-11 ½”.

High jump- Shyanne Pipkin, first, 5’-2”.

Pole vault- Scout Lovell, first, 8’-0”; Olivia Ice, second, 7’6”; Rylee Wilson, third, 6’0”.

Latexo girls will advance to area in the following events:

100 dash- Charlee Biano, second, 12.91.

200 dash- Charlee Biano, third, 28.00.

300 hurdles- Katy Allen, fourth, 55.51.

Long jump-  Emily Bird, third, 14’-3 ½”.

Discus- Baylee Omelina, third, 89-9 ½”.

Pole vault- Natalie Nicol, fourth, 5’0”.

Advancing to area from Grapeland is Sariyah Davis, who placed fourth in 100 dash with 13.65.

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CMGS begins 30th season

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The 2021 15u TTAS State Champion Crockett Fireballs honored during the opening ceremony Saturday were Malley Moore, Marysol Lopez, Shelby Eberts,  Madilyn Smith, Baylee Omelina, Harlie Hoch, Taylor Dise, Natalie Nicol, Charlee Biano and Katy Allen. Not pictured are Lauren Woodard and Morgan Terry.The 2021 15u TTAS State Champion Crockett Fireballs honored during the opening ceremony Saturday were Malley Moore, Marysol Lopez, Shelby Eberts, Madilyn Smith, Baylee Omelina, Harlie Hoch, Taylor Dise, Natalie Nicol, Charlee Biano and Katy Allen. Not pictured are Lauren Woodard and Morgan Terry.

CROCKETT – Crockett Merchant Girls Softball started its third decade Saturday with a ceremony, fund-raiser and seven opening day games at the Paul May Sr. Field in the city park.

CMGS is fielding eight teams ranging from ages 4 up to 15. There is one T-ball team (ages 4-6), two 8u teams, two 10u, two 12u teams and one 15u.

The Crockett Fireballs, 2021 Texas Teen Age Softball (TTAS) 15u State Champions, were recognized during the program.

The Fireballs return all but two players who have "aged out" of the 15u division, but they expect to make some noise again this season as they defend their state title.

Returning Fireball team members are  Malley Moore, Marysol Lopez, Shelby Eberts, Baylee Omelina, Madilyn Smith, Natalie Nicol, Charlee Biano, Katy Allen, Lauren Woodard and Morgan Terry. Taylor Dise and Harlie Hoch are no longer eligible for 15U.

Four Fireballs players and coaches were selected to deliver the ceremonial opening pitches. Coaches Jerry Dise, Richard Omelina, Jason Allen and Mike Omelina threw their best pitches to Taylor Dise, Baylee Omelina, Katy Allen and Shelby Eberts behind the plate.

Before hitting the diamond for their season openers, it was time for the annual CMGS cake auction.

Each of the eight teams had a cake on the auction block and more than $6,500 was raised, according to Stacy Dise, CMGS treasurer.

Proceeds are used to fund facility improvements and  this year's main project was construction of a lighted batting cage between the two softball fields.

"It was a great day with beautiful weather and the sportsmanship exhibited by all the teams and fans was amazing," said Dise.

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Garcia signs with Jacksonville College

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Omar Garcia signs a letter of intent with Jacksonville College for cross-country, track and soccer during a ceremony in the Crockett High School foyer last Wednesday. He is pictured with his father, Hipolito Garcia (left), CHS cross-country coach Jordan Heersink (standing) and coach TaNesiah Johnson. LARRY LAMB | HCCOmar Garcia signs a letter of intent with Jacksonville College for cross-country, track and soccer during a ceremony in the Crockett High School foyer last Wednesday. He is pictured with his father, Hipolito Garcia (left), CHS cross-country coach Jordan Heersink (standing) and coach TaNesiah Johnson. LARRY LAMB | HCC

By Larry Lamb
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CROCKETT -- Jacksonville College landed a three-sport athlete with the signing of Crockett High School senior Omar Garcia last Wednesday,

Garcia received scholarships in cross country, track and soccer from the East Texas junior college.

Garcia plans to major in kinesiology and pursue a career as a soccer coach or physical therapist.

"After my two years at Jacksonville, I'd like to get a full ride to run or play soccer with a DI program.  Either one would be fine with me," said Garcia.

Garcia was a state qualifier in cross-country his senior season after winning the district title and advancing to regional for the third time.

He played soccer early in the season but decided to focus on track in hopes of reaching the state meet in the 800-meter, 1600-meter and two-mile races.

Garcia said his senior cross-country season is the most memorable. "We didn't have as many runners, but we created a bond and were like family. Everybody was so happy whenever one of our runners did well. That's what it's all about, supporting each other," he said.

Confronting adversity head-on,  Garcia's road to success hasn't been easy.

He was designated to be the kicker for the Bulldogs football team his freshman year but had to undergo  emergency brain surgery during two-a-days.

"It was a week before the start of school, so I missed my first day of high school," recalled Garcia.

"I told myself that as soon as I recovered from the surgery and got out of the hospital bed I was going to work harder than ever. My goal was to make it to state in either track or cross-country and I did it," said Garcia.

Because of his health issues, Garcia did not run cross-country his freshman year but was able to run track in the spring.

Garcia came back with a vengeance, qualifying for the cross-country regional meet his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He decided to forego a regional appearance his sophomore year to attend the national FFA convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Crockett cross-country coach Jordan Heersink has watched Garcia's progress the past two seasons.

"Omar has the best work ethic I've seen in an athlete. He's intrinsically motivated and always out training on his own putting in extra work," said Heersink. "It doesn't matter what the weather is like. We had threatening weather earlier this week and he was the only one out there getting his workout in. He's a great hard worker and he's going to do really well in college."

Heersink said while Garcia possesses the endurance to run a 5K race, his speed makes him a big threat in the mile and 800-meter run.

"I'm really excited for him and proud to have been a part of his journey. I know he's going to do great things in college," the coach said.

Outside of school, Garcia enjoys singing in the choir at Good Shepherd Fellowship.

"I'm grateful for this opportunity to compete on the next level," said Garcia, whose parents are Hipolito  Garcia and Maria Tovar.

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Lions split two in district

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Tyler GilchristLovelady's Tyler Gilchrist (12) slides to second for a double in the fourth inning against Centerville on Friday. LARRY LAMB | HCC

From Staff Report

LOVELADY– Lovelady baseballers edged Leon 6-3 on the road Tuesday before falling to undefeated district leader Centerville 9-1 at home Friday.

Centerville, ranked No. 5 in this week's THSBCA state poll, improved to 5-0 in district and 13-3 on the year.

The Lions, 3-2 in district, played Normangee on Tuesday and host Latexo on Saturday.

After Centerville took a 1-0 lead in the first, the Lions tied the game but were unable to muster any offense the rest of the night.

The Lions scored their only run after Jayton Crawford doubled and went to third on a wild pitch. He came home on a ground out by Skylar Pipkin.

The Tigers hit a one-out triple in the second and went up 2-1 on a sac fly.

With two outs in the third, Crawford hit his second double and Pipkin singled but was caught stealing second.

Centerville went up 3-1 in the fourth on a RBI double.

In the fourth, Tyler Gilchrist hit a two-out double but was stranded.

Centerville tacked on another run in the fifth and put the game away with five runs in the seventh.

Lion starting pitcher Slade Murray went four innings and Brady Mikes worked the fifth and sixth frames. Lance Pierce took the mound in the seventh and was relieved by Crawford.

In last week's game at Leon, the Lions gave up a run in the second before taking a 4-1 lead in the third.

Pierce led off the third with a walk and Troy Shupak reached on an error. After a sac bunt by Mikes, Murray reached on an error and Pierce scored from third. Crawford bunted into a fielder's choice and Shupak came home.

Pipkin's ground ball single drove in Murray and Crawford for a 4-1 lead.

A leadoff homer by Leon in the bottom of the third made it a two-run game.

The Lions went up 5-2 in the fifth after Murray drew a leadoff walk and scored from first when Crawford reached on an error by the shortstop.

Lovelady added insurance runs in the last two frames.

In the sixth, leadoff batter Tyler Gilchrist walked and courtesy runner Blake Patrick advanced all the way to third on a sac bunt by Pierce. Mikes drove in Patrick with a two-out fly ball single and Murray doubled but both runners were left on base.

Leon's leadoff batter walked, went to second and third on wild pitches, and scored on a fly ball to make it 6-3.

Tyler Gilchrist started on the mound and worked 6 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits while striking out 11 and walking five. Mikes recorded the final two outs to secure the victory.

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