Lady Dog track sends six to regional meet

Apr. 17—NEW WAVERLY — After a successful outing at the area meet, New Waverly will send six members to the Regional Meet with an opportunity to advance to the state.

The Lady Dogs will have six girls compete across seven events with senior Brooke Munoz and junior Sa'Mariya Johnson leading the way.

With a heavy contest coming up at the regional meet, the Lady 'Dogs will need to remain strong to advance to the state meet.

"We are feeling pretty good about our chances. I try not to look at the times from the other groups going to regionals but I like to compare and I have a good feeling going," New Waverly track and field coach Donna Gilliam said. "We have been running great, have great handoffs and put in a lot of work. I feel like their hard work is going to pay off."

One of the mainstays that this Lady 'Dog squad has is Munoz. The senior has qualified for the state meet in the last two years in the hurdles and will try to go once more.

Munoz placed first in the 100-meter hurdle with a time of 15.15, that time was 1.78 seconds faster than the second-place finisher. In the 300-meter hurdle, she took gold with a 46.24 time that was a full two seconds faster than the second-place finisher.

The senior is also competing solo in the long jump where she took home a third gold medal. After going to a jump-off for first place, Munoz turned in a 17' 9.75" jump to win the event by seven and 3/4ths inches.

"She brings a lot to the track team. Brooke is one of the top track athletes that we have. She puts in the work. I feel confident about her chances to medal. When you get to regionals, it's a lot of competition. She just has to stay focused and work like she has all year," Gilliam said.

The other thing New Waverly is excelling in is two separate relay events. The Lady 'Dogs have two relay teams competing.

New Waverly has a 4X100 meter relay and a 4X200 meter relay competing. The 4X100 relay is currently 6-0, winning every event they run in and just setting a new team personal record. At the area meet, they finished with a time of 49.81 for gold.

With Dee Goodman, Ariana Fair, Johnson and Munoz competing for the gold, the group continues to get better every time they hit the track.

The second part of the relay team competes in the 4X200 Meters and has a little different team. The 4X200 squad runs with Goodman, Fair, Johnson and Kaci James to switch it up just a tad.

The relay team finished fourth place in the area meeting with a time of 1:52.17 to make the cut and advance to regionals. With solid speed, the only thing New Waverly has focused on is the handoffs to ensure they keep the streak alive.

"All year we've worked. We got the handoffs where we wanted them. We set a new personal record at the area meet. In each meet our time improves and we feel good about where we stand," Gilliam said. "As long as our handoffs are on point, I think we have a good shot."

Johnson is also competing in the 100-meter dash after finishing second at the area meet. Last season, she missed out on the event and has started to pay off. She finished the area event with a time of 12.45 in the run and missed gold by eight-hundredths of a second.

"She has been coming in and putting in the work on the weekends and she is hungry this year. The extra work is paying off for her and I am proud of her," Gilliam said. "She brings a lot to this team and she is my anchor leg in the relays."

To round out the competitors, New Waverly has junior Catalina Cheeseman in the triple jump. Last season Cheeseman missed out on the regional meet after falling just short in the area event. But now she has come back with a vengeance.

Cheeseman took gold in the triple jump with a mark of 35' 9.5" to beat the second-place jumper by 9.5" at the area event.

"She missed regionals last year on the final jump. She gets better each time. We are working on jumping techniques and trying to get her legs stronger," Gilliam said. "She is a junior so she brings a lot to the table."

New Waverly will compete in the Regional Meet from April 19-20 at Waco Midway High School. To qualify for the state meet, you must finish second with the third place being an alternate for state.