TRACK: 1s to watch: Memorial 4×200 girls, PNG’s Riggs golden in Humble

Published 8:26 pm Saturday, April 28, 2018

By Michael Sudhalter
Special to The News
HUMBLE — The Port Arthur Memorial girls 4×200-meter relay team comprised of underclassmen and a Port Neches-Groves senior boys high jumper took different paths to their respective gold medals on Saturday afternoon at the UIL Class 5A Region III Championships at Turner Stadium.
The UIL 5A state meet will be held on Friday, May 11, at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. The top two athletes/relays qualify for the state meet, while No. 3 has a chance to qualify as a “wild card.”
The Memorial girls 4×200 relay practiced all year to return to Austin, and this time, junior Aniya Duhon and sophomores Coreyanna Gorrer, Zykirra Cabarras and Capri Wilson won a regional championship with a time of 1:39.79 — defeating Fort Bend Willowridge by .02 second.
“It felt great,” said Wilson, who ran the anchor. “We’ve been working on returning to state all year.”
Riggs’ winter/spring sport is soccer, and he was the District 22-5A most valuable player. After soccer season ended, Riggs — who was also a star wide receiver for PNG — decided to give the high jump a try in the district meet.
On Saturday, he earned his first trip to the state track meet by clearing 6-foot-6. Both Riggs and Temple’s Quentin Johnston cleared 6-6. When the bar was raised to 6-7, neither jumper cleared it, and Riggs won first place because he had one miss (Johnston had two).
“It’s an honor to go to state track,” said Riggs, who is considering playing football or soccer at the college level. “I got in the right mindset and knew it would be a good day.”
Ironically, Riggs’ success came at Turner Stadium — almost five months after the Indians lost a football playoff game to College Station.
“Coming back here motivated me to do better than last time we played here,” Riggs said.
Joining Riggs at state will be fellow PNG athlete, Jacie Droddy.
The junior who is making her second consecutive trip to the state meet, finished second in the long jump 18-1 by 1 1/4 inches to Ennis’ Paige Lemonia.
Droddy wasn’t the only area athlete to earn a silver medal on Saturday.
Memorial sophomore Ireon Brown qualified for the state meet as an individual for the first time, finishing second in the 200 meters (21.10 seconds). Last spring, he ran on the Titans’ 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 relay teams as a freshman.
Brown finished second to Humble senior Jordan Booker (20.78 seconds).
“He and I have been going back and forth all season long,” Brown said.
Brown said competing in the 4×200 meter relay in a meet that went quickly affected his chances of winning first place in the 200 meters.
On the 4×200, Brown ran the anchor, alongside seniors Greg Laday, Elijah Hines and junior Michael Odoms, finishing in 1:25.15, behind Fort Bend Marshall (1:24.78).
“It was a good effort, but we have a lot of work to do for state,” Brown said.
Titans head coach Darrell Granger said Hines didn’t compete in the 100, in order to focus on the 4×200.
The relay teams have been hampered by injuries recently, with Odoms running as an alternate to Xavier Hull, who ran in the state meet last season. Granger said Hull could return from a hamstring injury next week.
Memorial’s JaVontae Hopkins also couldn’t compete in the relays or hurdles, due to a strained hamstring.
Both the Memorial boys and girls relay teams finished third. The state meet takes the best regional third-place time in Class 5A, so both teams are awaiting results from around the state to see if they will qualify for Austin.
The Memorial girls 4X100 team of Duhon, Cabarras, Gorrer and Wilson finished in 46.99 — just .01 behind Alvin Shadow Creek.
The Memorial boys 4X100 team of Odoms, Brown, Hines and Laday finished in 41.39 — .03 seconds behind host Humble.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox