Memorial powers into state meet; PNG’s Droddy going, too

Published 8:49 pm Saturday, April 29, 2017

By Michael Sudhalter

Special to The News

HUMBLE — As soon as he rounded the curve, Kary Vincent Jr. knew that he was the 200-meter regional champion.

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“It was my best corner ever,” said the Port Arthur Memorial senior. “It felt great. I came out here to win, and that’s what I did.”

Vincent, an LSU football commit, set a personal record in the 200 meters, breaking the 21-second mark at 20.77. He defeated second-place Shamon Ehiemua (21.17) by nearly half a second at the 5A Region III Meet on Saturday afternoon at Turner Stadium.

“To succeed at state, we’ll have to work hard, keep our faith and stay healthy,” Vincent said.

Vincent was one of three Memorial boys — joining long jumper Xavier Hull (second place) and 800-meter runner Ja’Quan Francois (second) — to qualify for state.

The top two competitors in each event qualify for the state meet, May 11-12 at the University of Texas in Austin.

Memorial qualified for state in three relays — winning the 4×100 (40.38) and 4×400 (3:15.48) and finishing second in the 4×200 (1:24.72) — just .02 second behind Manvel.

The 4×100 team is Ireon Brown, Vincent, Hull and De’Andre Angelle. Michael Odoms joins Brown, Vincent and Hull on the 4×200. Hull joins Francois, Gregory Laday and Brown on the 4×400.

“This meet is something I circled on the calendar at the beginning of the year,” Titans coach Darrell Granger said. “I knew it would determine a lot for us. We are glad to represent our city and our school.”

On the girls side, it was a great day for underclassmen.

Memorial freshman Capri Wilson qualified by winning the 100 and Port Neches-Groves sophomore Jacie Droddy finished second in the long jump (18 feet, 3 inches) to qualify for state. Both athletes are first-time state qualifiers.

“It’s a big thrill,” Wilson said. “I knew I’d go far, but I couldn’t imagine going to state as a freshman. I did it for my community, my coach and my school. You need that drive to succeed.”

Said Droddy, who also finished sixth in the 200 (25.41): “It’s crazy. Last year, I had an injury, so I didn’t qualify. I struggled at the beginning of the season. I’m looking forward to state.”

The Memorial girls 4×100 team of Wilson, Zykirra Cabarras, Coreyanna Gorrer and Aniya Duhon qualified for state by finishing second.

Memorial girls Sandra Bradford said her team adapted well to the schedule changes. The running finals were moved up by 2 ½ hours (from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.) due to rain in the forecast in the Humble area.

“We had a short recovery, but the kids worked hard, and we qualified for state,” Bradford said.

Memorial disc thrower Kennedi Lofton finished ninth Saturday. She made it to the regional after an athlete was ruled ineligible and performed on short notice.

Nederland pole vaulters Alec Torres and Kevon Latulas finished sixth and seventh, respectively.