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Quartet of Lady Lion standouts competes at regional meet

Four Lady Lion upperclassmen represented Ennis High at the Region II-4A Track Meet in Denton this past weekend, proving to be among the best in North Texas in their respective events.
There wasn’t anyone from the group of Amy Alcala, Kim Hernandez, Tina Anderson and Lauren Hodges to move on to the state meet, but that had more to do with the competitive field than anything these Lady Lions did or didn’t accomplish.
“All of the girls competed and gave their best effort – making adjustments and trying to make something happen,” said coach Lonnie Redning.
“It was as tough a competitive field as I’ve seen in the events we competed in. With Amy’s distance races, one second meant a difference of four or five spots in the finish.
“There were nine girls in at 5’2” on the high jump [including Tina], after only a few at that height last year. There were 11 girls in at 9’6” [including Kim and Lauren] in the pole vault, also much more than last year.”
Alcala qualified for the 3200 meters at the district meet with a second-place result and finished as an alternate in the 1600 meters, but found out on Thursday she’d be running both races. With the 3200 meters on Friday and the 1600 meters on Saturday at regionals, Amy had been training with the idea she’d lay it all on the line in the 3200 and be done for the meet. The senior placed eighth in the 3200 meters with a time of 12:16.68 and ninth in the 1600 meters in a time of 5:32.94.
“Amy still represented herself well in both races and actually ran the mile tougher than the two mile; she just ran out of gas toward the end,” Redning said.
“Amy has left an indelible mark on distance running at Ennis High. She’s willing to run a relay knowing she’s not a sprinter in order to allow other girls to compete in a relay and help us field a team – it says a lot about her character and competitive spirit.”
Anderson finished third at the district meet in the high jump and emerged from the regional competition with a seventh-place finish at a height of 5’2”. Looking toward her senior year, Redning said it’s just a matter of Tina perfecting her technique; Anderson’s participation in volleyball and basketball will ensure her legs continue to get stronger.
“Tina got a little frustrated [at regionals] because she’s been hitting a wall at 5’2”, Redning said.
“The desire is there and once Tina breaks that barrier, she’ll start climbing. She’ll have good competition in district out of a Midway jumper next year – nothing new for her. [Coach] Broderick Lewis has done such a great job working with Tina and all the high jumpers this year.”
As for pole vaulters Hernandez and Hodges, the wind was such a factor in Friday’s boys’ competition that half of the field “no-heighted.” The location of the girls’ event went undecided until the last minute and Redning said it still ended up being the wrong choice with a head wind becoming a factor.
“It was the luck of the draw whether you got a strong head wind or a slight cross wind,” he said.
Hernandez, who finished second at the district meet, cleared 9’6” to finish in ninth place. Redning said the senior stayed in the hunt for a while, working through an early scratch as the increased height made it steadily tougher to deal with the wind issues.
“Kim has held the school record, but also finished in the top three at district and went to regionals all four years,” the coach said.
“She set the standard for our young vaulters with that consistency. Stepping up on varsity as a freshman was a big deal for her back in 2005. I wish her well if she goes on to vault in college.”
Hodges might have been the most consistent track and field athlete in Texas this season and that held true at regionals. Finishing with a 10’0” vault at every meet this season, Lauren placed third in district and came away with sixth place at regionals.
The coach said Lauren had some trouble with the top part of her vault that prevented the junior from getting over in her last attempt at 10’6”. A successful vault at that height would’ve given Redning his first state qualifier since he took over Lady Lion track in 2004.
“Lauren was cleaner than the girl who made it to state [in second place] up to 10’6”,” the coach said.
“She went from second to sixth place based on a miss – as close as anyone I’ve ever had make it to state. Lauren really worked hard on some technical things late in the season to try and get to a new level. Knowing she was so close, Lauren will be working hard in the weight room and she’s talked about doing summer track to keep working on her technique.”
Looking toward next season, Redning said losing Lancaster in district competition will open things up a bit for Ennis’ sprinters and relay teams, but added that Midway’s girls are quite strong in their own right.
“They don’t have quite the depth as Lancaster, but still have plenty of fast kids,” he said.
The varsity Lady Lions elevated their performance with a third-place district finish this season after a fifth-place team result in 2007, while the JV Lady Lions placed third in both years.
“I’m extremely proud of both the varsity and JV girls for third-place finishes at district as a small squad this year,” Redning said.
“It was a goal of ours to improve on last year and we certainly did that. Now the challenge is to finish third or better again in the new district; a lot of our key athletes should be better as sophomores.”

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Posted by on Apr 29 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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