A seasoned veteran and a track and field rookie will be representing Glen Rose in the Class 4A state meet, which will be May 11-12 in Austin.
GRHS senior Ally Andress will be making her third appearance at the state meet next weekend after winning the Reigon I-4A girls high jump championship last Saturday at Plains Capital Park/Lowrey Field in Lubbock.
Her winning height of 5 feet, 8 inches broke the existing Region I girls record as she earned her third consecutive regional title in that event.
The other state qualifier for Glen Rose is senior Drayden James, who won the boys 300-meter hurdles competition with a time of 39.46 seconds. His time of 39.33 seconds he posted in winning the prelims was a personal record for James.
As a sophomore, Andress brought home the silver medal as the state high jump runner-up. She cleared the same height as the state champion, at 5-6, but lost because she had more misses at that height. Last year Andress won her state crown and gold medal with a jump of 5-6, topping the runner-up by one inch.
In Lubbock this time, Andress jumped 5-8 to establish a Region I record height. Second place went to Ajanique Wells of Big Spring, who won with a 5-4 effort over Lauren Allen of Waxahachie Life School, who had more misses at 5-4. Jordan Carter of Stephenville, attempting to reach the state meet for the second straight year, finished out of the running with an effort of 5-2 for fourth place.
“It was emotional for both of us. She was excited and we celebrated,” GRHS girls head track coach Sandy Langford said of Andress. “We knew it was going to be hard, being her third time and with the pressure. We knew it would be a competitive region. It’s always nice to have a PR (personal record) at the place you need it.
“At 5-2 there were still 10 (jumpers) left. It was competitive. Two cleared 5-4, and they had a jump-off for second.”
Langford said that one high jumper who qualified out of Region II will be a top challenger to Andress in Austin.
“She’s got someone at 5-7 in Region II,” Langford said. “She knows she’s got to work at it. She almost had 5-9. She’s capable of going higher. That one inch changes the whole dynamic of her jump.”
Andress, who qualified for the state meet last season also in the triple jump, has signed a letter-of-intent to join the Texas A&M University women’s track team, one of the top-ranked NCAA Division I programs in the nation. She has also earned all-state honors in volleyball and basketball.
GRHS boys track coach Jacob Marwitz said that James, who is in his first full season of track and field competition, tried not to focus on the other competitors in Lubbock.
“He went into the finals as the No. 1 seed after he had the best time in the prelims,” Marwitz said. “In the finals it was neck-and-neck and then he pulled away.
“He focused more on each hurdle. He focused on running smooth and relaxed. We kind of work to where his times improve each week. It’s always good to see them run their best time at this time of year.”
Because of his limited hurdles — and track in general — experience, James may have more room for improvement as he prepares for the state meet.
“Anything can happen when you get down in that atmosphere,” Marwitz said. “He’s definitely going to have to improve by at least a full second. He will be focused on running with speed and also have good technique. He has really good foot speed and he’s a gifted athlete.
“Now he’s more confident. He’s feeling good about it. He can keep improving.”
GRHS senior Breanna Rosentreter, the area champion, finished just one spot out of the running for a berth in the state meet at regional, taking third place in the girls shot put with a distance of 36-3 1/2. The second-place finisher had a distance of 36-5 /12. The winner, Nicole King of Graham, reached 36-6 1/2.
The other GRHS girls competing in the regional meet were senior Laiken McAnear in the 300-meter hurdles, junior Shalyn Wedel in the pole vault, sophomore Avery Turner in the 800-meter run, and freshman twins Alexis Mims in the 800 and Jocelyn Mims in the 3,200.
“They went out and competed. We did great,” Langford said. “Bree (Rosentreter) got beat by an inch or so. Alexis was really nervous. She competed. In the 800 we ran well the first 200 meters. The girls competed and did a great job.”
The other boys who competed in Lubbock were senior Chance Hatfield in the 400-meter run and on the 1,600-meter relay, along with the other three on the relay team — Jett Gould, Brick Umphress and James.
McAnear closed out her distinguished high school sports career by finishing 13th in the hurdles with a time of 49.73 seconds.
Wedel pole vaulted 9 feet, 6 inches, which was her personal-best mark. She placed fifth, while the winner jumped 10-9 and three others cleared 10 feet or higher.
Alexis Mims was fourth and Turner placed sixth in the 800 run. Mims cross the finish line in 2:27.76, while Turner posted a time of 2:29.90. The winner, Kyra Young of Brownwood, had a time of 2:16.57, a personal record for her.
Jocelyn Mims, competing in the grueling 3,200-meter run, placed 10th with a time of 12:50.38. The race was won by Renee Elliott of Midlothian Heritage, with a time of 11:36.47.
Hatfield, who had earned district and area championships in the 400-meter run, did not make it out of the prelims, where he posted a time of 51.85 seconds.
The GRHS boys 1,600-meter relay team also failed to qualify for the finals, running a 3:28.65 in the prelims.
“For whatever reason we didn’t run as well,” Marwitz said. “I’m proud of what they had done to get to that point. They were disappointed.
“Drayden ran really good, and Chance Hatfield ran about what he had run. I’m proud for those two seniors to have run well.”