PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

April 10, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL TRACK: Browns spark Ozen to 20-4A supremacy

BEAUMONT — How low can Downtown Tony Brown go? That’s what area track experts had to wonder Wednesday after the Beaumont Ozen junior headed toward town.

  This almost had to be seen to be believed. A vicious, unforgiving south wind roared in his face to nearly 30 miles an hour by 4 o’clock at Babe Zaharias Stadium. The finals of the boys 110-meter hurdles and 100-meter dash were run into that wind, starting behind the north end zone. The two events were only minutes apart with one race (the girls 100 meters) separating them.

  Yet Brown defied the breeze and the odds, shattering a meet record with a hurdle time of 13.85 and a 100 clocking of 11-flat at the running finals of the District 20-4A track and field championships.

  Veteran Beaumont public address announcer LaCharles Mitchell appropriately chirped, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is why our district is considered among the toughest anywhere, because of performances like this.”

  The national leader in his event, Brown achieved that status on Mar. 30 with a 13.38 under much more pleasant conditions than the district meet provided.

  “It was almost perfect weather over there,” Brown recalled. “But I didn’t let anything bother me. Today it was all about form.”

  His form looked picture perfect and the wind never mattered. There’s no telling how close to the national high school record of 12.9 by Renaldo Nehemiah that Tony might have clocked under calmer conditions. It’s something we will never know.

  With excellent work from Tony and Bealoved Brown and Dominique Brannon, Ozen took the team titles, inching past Chris Theriot’s deep Nederland boys squad 152-151. Tony took home three golds. His teammate Jakobi Jones had four – two jumping golds and two relays. Kaylon Sellers had three because the Panthers captured all three relays.

  Taller and stronger than ever, the Oklahoma-bound Brannon duplicated her district excellence of last year, winning five gold medals while Tony’s sister walked away with four.

  Other multiple gold winners included Nederland distance runner Ryan Roebuck in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races, Lumberton distance champ Jordan Welborn in the girls 800- and 1,600-meter races and UT-bound Ozen senior thrower Nekia Jones in the shot and discus.

  Single gold winners also pleasantly hailed from Mid-County including Kinsey Miller of Nederland, who won the two-mile and gave Welborn a good battle in the half-mile and a pleasant surprise in the boys 200 where senior Kaleb Clark edged two close chasers from Central and Livingston.

  Miller’s Monday mastery of the two-mile was not a huge surprise. She has been among the area’s finest distance runners for two years. Clark’s gold medal in the boys 200 was much more shocking. How many gold medalists come from runners with the fifth-fastest qualifying time. Clark took care of business from lane two after running a 23.67 in the prelims. His final time of 23.58 outlasted Easton McClain of Livingston at 23.65 and Kamon Darby of Beaumont Central at 23.66.

  But 2013 in Texas high school track and field represents a different year with different opportunities. The top four finishers in each event lived to compete another week. The 4A tracksters from District 19-4A and 20-4A will converge at Zaharias Stadium next Thursday (Apr. 18) for the area meet. The top four qualifiers in each event will advance to regionals the following week.

  So the season continues Kaleb in the 100, for PN-G’s girls in the 400- and 800-meter relays, for PN-G’s Lauren Rogers in the 100 and 200 sprints, for Nederland’s Daniel Mullins in the two-mile, and teammate Sam Gutierrez in the half. Allen Bellard of Nederland can keep working on the intermediate hurdles.

  Weather permitting, the week of district wraps up today with the running finals of the 21-5A and 21-3A meets. Both are scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

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