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Decatur outdoor track athletes gain experience

(May 30, 2014) Twelve Stephen Decatur outdoor track athletes earned the opportunity to compete in the 3A state championship meet, last Friday and Saturday, at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

“I thought we could have done a little better. For all of the kids, it was their first time at states (for outdoor track),” said Decatur Coach Jody Stigler. “It’s good to get them exposed to that level of competition. Hopefully, we’ll have a little more success next time.”

Sophomore Evan Haas has the most success at states for the Seahawks. The 3A South Regional champion vaulted 10 feet–his best height of the season–to tie for 11th place at states with Westminster’s Alex Hall and C. Milton Wright’s Ben Rampolla.

Pole vaulting is a technical event, Stigler said, “and for him to pick it up and do 10 feet his first season is an accomplishment.”

Junior Jakhai Woodard recorded a distance of 20 feet in the long jump to finish in 11th place. He also participated in the 200-meter dash. He completed the preliminaries in 23.19 seconds, placing 15th. The top eight advanced to the finals.

Junior Hannah Wilson, the 3A South Regional pole vault champion, vaulted 7 feet 6 inches during the state competition to land in the 11th-place spot. She also competed in the high jump, reaching a height of 4 feet 8 inches. She is the 3A South Region high jump titleholder (4 feet 10 inches).

Sophomore Alison Alvarado ran in the 3,200-meter race, crossing the finish line in 13:33.82.

Alvarado also ran a leg for the 3,200-meter relay team with sophomores Elizabeth Masters and Kayla Lorance and junior Meya Chilengi (11:16.44).

“It was just an accomplishment for them to qualify,” Stigler said of the 3,200-meter relay squad, as it was for all of the Decatur athletes. “Hopefully, we can build and continue to get better.”

Senior Kevin Herbert, junior Parker Harrington and sophomores Scott Berry and Gary Frick teamed up for the 3,200-meter relay event. They completed the race in 9:01.80.

Adam Kristick, a sophomore, qualified for states in the pole vault event, but he was not able to attend the championship meet.

Stigler thought the season went well, overall.

“This season, we didn’t start off with a lot. Considering where we started from, the team improved the most (out of cross country, indoor and outdoor track squads) since I started,” said Stigler, who has been the head coach of Decatur’s cross country, indoor and outdoor track programs for three seasons. “We had only one senior qualify for states. We were a really young team this year and we had a lot of holes to fill in the beginning of the season. They really stepped up.”

Stephen Decatur sophomore Evan Haas competes in the pole vault event during the 3A state track championship meet, held last Friday and Saturday, at Morgan State University in Baltimore.
PHOTO COURTESY DEBBIE HAAS

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