April 30, 2010 11:03:00 AM
Adam Minichino - firstname.lastname@example.org
CALEDONIA -- Jelisha Hackman has lofty goals this season.
The Caledonia High School junior wants to crack 36 feet in the triple jump. She also wants to help the school''s 4x400-meter relay team advance to the Class 4A state meet next month.
But Hackman''s biggest goal likely is breaking the one-minute barrier in the 400.
"I am going to do it before the year is over," Hackman said. "I am going to get a 58."
Hackman nearly reached the first part of her goal at the District 4 meet at Kosciusko, winning the event with a time of 1 minute, 1 second. Hackman knows that time won''t be good enough if she wants to continue to advance, so she has her sights set on breaking one minute Saturday when Caledonia is scheduled to compete in the regional meet at Mississippi Valley State University. West Lowndes also will compete Saturday at Mississippi Valley State in the Class 2A, Region 2 meet.
"I feel I have that energy," Hackman said. "It is going to come from my heart."
Hackman also won the triple jump (35 feet, 1 inch), took second in the 100 (13.1), and was part of the 4x400 relay that won with a time of 4:31.
Caledonia High girls track and field coach James Reed said Hackman will face a tougher next step than classmate and distance runner Jessica Comer, who also is on the 4x400 relay, but he feels she has the potential to keep her season going in the individual events. The top four qualifiers Saturday will advance to the North Half meet.
"She is coming around," Reed said. "She ran a personal-best in the 400 at the district meet."
Reed also said Hackman needs to get to 36 feet in the triple jump. At the district meet, he said Hackman had a mark that was nine inches more but didn''t count because she scratched by a half an inch.
Hackman said the a freshly painted surface at the Kosciusko track contributed to her scratches. She said the paint covered up the marks she had made there at a meet earlier this season. As a result, her steps were a little off after she put down her new marks.
Hackman also will try to make an adjustment in the 100. She said she needs to come out of the blocks faster if she wants to have a chance of winning a regional title Saturday.
As a team, the Caledonia girls will send 14 competitors (no seniors, two juniors) to MVSU. Reed said the girls team has been to seven meets this season and hasn''t returned home without a trophy. He said the heart of all of his athletes helps motivate the Lady Confederates.
As the veterans of the team, Hackman and Comer are proud of what a team filled with seventh- and eighth-graders has accomplished.
"I think our team has done really good," Hackman said. "I think we are better than last year."
Said Comer, "I am very, very proud of our little girls. Coming from seventh and eighth grade, that is tough when you''re running against seniors and juniors and girls you think are so much bigger and better than you. They just have to realize that they can do it because I started as an eighth-grader. Some of these girls are starting as seventh-graders. If they keep up with the work they''re doing now, they can be even better than us right now."
The boys team, coached by Jason Forrester, finished third, six points behind second-place Kosciusko. The finish was a marked improvement from last season, when the Confederates were last in the district.
"The guys have worked hard," said Forrester, who is in his first season. "The way that all of the relay teams and all of the individual events were coming through, they were pressing really hard, and I found out that they all had made their minds up together that everyone was going to qualify."
Caledonia qualified 13 boys for the regional meet, only three shy of sending its entire team.
Forrester credited Homer Miller, who was second in the 100 (11.43) for turning it on in the district meet. He also praised the efforts of hurdler Shaquille Dixon, who was second in the 110 hurdles and third in the 300 hurdles.
Curtis Fluker (triple jump, 38-5 1/2), the 4x200 team of Caleb Roebuck, Onterrio Lowery, Fluker, and Miller (1:35), Zach Senneff (3,200, 11:36), Chris Warren (1,600, 4:58), and the 4x400 team of Raymond Brown, Warren, Kevin Kugel, and Fluker (3:44) also delivered second-place finishes.
"I knew all of them could do it if they put their minds to it," Forrester said. "It took some time working out their schedules because some of them played baseball and it took some time for them to work out their schedules so they could practice right.
"Once they got to where they could practice, it started to fall into place. If they give the effort they gave at the district meet, I don''t see why all of them can''t qualify and move on."
n West Lowndes boys second in district: The West Lowndes boys are coming off a second-place finish (80 points) at the district meet, while the girls team was third (50).
Donald Henley won the 100-meter hurdles (16.49 seconds) and the 4x400 relay team of Brandon Clark, Antonio Wilson, Tyquan Lucious, Denzel Weatherspoon, DeAndra Lewis, and Kovi Rice won with a time of 4:13.62.
Other boys who qualified with top-four finishes were: Brandon Hill (long jump, triple jump), Korey Wilson (shot put), Rice (triple jump, 110, and 300 hurdles), DeMarcus Hill (discus), Clark (3,200), Damin Turner (3,200), Henley (high jump, 100), Jeremy Thomas (110 hurdles, high jump), Shuntel James (1,600), Wilson (200), Weatherspoon (800), and the 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams.
On the girls side, Corey Nevils had the best individual performances at the district meet, taking third in the 100 and 200. Nekita Smart was third in the 1,600, and Trenyla Brewer and Hasanna Spearman were third and fourth in the long jump.
The Lady PAnthers'' 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams were second and third.
Other girls qualifiers were: Genevery Stalling (100), Audrey Brooks (800), and Sheoyk Davis (discus).
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.