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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

State qualifiers taking different paths to Austin

Staff Writer

Rashad Terry will be heading to Austin on Thursday and running in Lane 1 twice on Saturday, while Stephanie Herrera will be throwing in position No. 2 and flying Flight 2258 on Friday, in order to get to the Class 3A Track and Field Championships at the University of Texas’ Mike Myers Stadium.

Terry and coaches Jerry Parent and Robbie Ortega will head down to Austin on Thursday morning, though the junior won’t be running in the finals of the 100 and 200 yard dashes until 1:30 and 3 p.m. on Saturday. Meanwhile, Herrera will compete in the finals of the discus at 3 p.m. on Friday, but won’t be getting into Austin until just before 8 a.m. that morning, due to Thursday’s Region I-3A quarterfinal softball playoff game between Pecos and Monahans at the PHS softball field.

“We’re going to leave Thursday morning at 8 o’clock and should get their in time to pick up the packet, which starts at 2 o’clock,” said Parent, while girls’ coach Roxie Chavez said assistant coaches Veronica Valenzuela and Becky Granado would be going down to Austin about the same time.

“Coach V and coach Granado will go down there to get the packet, and Stephanie and I will fly out on Friday morning, and they’ll pick us up at the airport,” Chavez said. “Stephanie said she wants to try and sleep a little after we get there, but we’ll have to see. She needs to be out at the track about noon.”

Herrera threw 129-feet-11 to win first in the discus at the Region I-3A meet in Odessa on April 30, a day after throwing 11 innings in Pecos’ 4-3 playoff win over Lubbock Cooper. “Everybody tells me it’s a good omen. She’s pitching and a day later throwing again, but we’ll just have to see.”

In practice on Tuesday, the senior got off a couple of tosses in the 135-foot range, which is where top-seeded Megan Machado of Somerset threw to take first in her regional meet. Herrera goes in seeded fourth out of the eight finalists.

“She has a good chance if she improves on it the way she did between district and regionals,” Chavez said. “If she can just increase her throw by seven or eight feet, she’ll be OK. In practice she’s been consistently hitting in the 125 range, but she feels like she’s going to improve on that a state.”

“She’s starting to get it out there,” Granado said. “I told her just to try and get her first throw out there and put pressure on the other girls. If she gets a good mark on her first one, then she can relax.”

Terry’s assignment to Lane 1 in both of his finals comes after he had problems with the inside lane at Odessa, stepping on the bar on the inside of the lane during his April 29 preliminary. He still ran fast enough to get out of that lane for the finals on May 1, and was able to get second in the race behind Monahans’ Richard Covington, who’ll run in Lane 7 in the finals.

“They just pick the lanes at random. They don’t seed you at state, because they don’t want to give anyone an advantage,” said Parent, who said he had planned not tell Terry about his lane assignment until Thursday, but that he was told about his spots on the inside of the track during an interview with the Odessa American.

Terry never had to worry about Lane 1 in the 200 meter dash at Odessa and took first there, ahead of Graham’s Jake Schmidt. Like Herrera, he goes into the finals seeded fourth in both his events.

Chason Lane of Celina is seeded first in both races with times of 10-68 in the 100 meters and 22.01 in the 200 at regionals; Terry goes in off 10.81 and 22.17 times at Odessa. Unlike Terry, Lane’s lanes in both races are in the middle of the Myers Stadium track, though Parent said the difference isn’t as great as it is in Pecos.

“Their track doesn’t have as sharp a curve as we do here, so running in Lane 1 there is like running Lane 2 here,” said Parent, who hoped that Terry would have a chance to practice in Lane 1 on Friday, before the Class 2A and 4A state finals are held.

Aside from working out Terry on the inside of the Eagle Stadium track, Parent said Monday’s weather also was good practice for Saturday’s race. “The weather was just like Austin yesterday. It was muggy,” he said. Forecasts for Austin call for a 60 percent chance of rain on Friday and a 30 percent chance on Saturday.

Terry and Herrera are the first state qualifiers for Pecos in seven years, and Herrera is the first girl to qualify for the Eagles in over 30 years. Bryan Brownlee placed second in the discus and fourth in the shot put at the Class 4A state meet in 1997, while Willie Mata won the last gold medal for Pecos at state, taking the 800 meter run in 1995.

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