Port Neches-Groves track looks for first in competitive district behind “backbone” Sanaria Butler

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, March 1, 2022

PORT NECHES — With a couple of meets behind them, the Port Neches-Groves track program has some promise with their sights on conquering a competitive district.

Sanaria Butler is back for her senior season with the Indians with her eyes on a trip to state.

Butler made it to the regional meet last year in the 400-meter dash.

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“I am excited,” Butler said. “I am ready to make it to state and have one last season with my team.”

While Butler moves around events as needed, her specialties are triple jump, long jump, 400-meter dash, 4×100 and 4×400.

So far this season, Butler earned first place for long jump, triple jump and 4×400 relay. She also came in second in the 100-meter dash.

Girls track coach Jessi Farmer said the program is off to a strong start.

“We are doing what we can right now,” Farmer said. “We are really strong in a lot of areas, but there have been some injuries here and there that affect us. We are doing what we can to put the puzzle pieces together and see where everyone fits.”

PNG came in first place at the Orangefield meet and finished second at its home meet this past weekend.

“We are very excited about Sanaria, but we are sad it is her last year,” Farmer said. “She is a real team player and she always does a good job. Sanaria has really been the backbone of the program. She has always came in and really been willing to help everyone. She is great for us. She helps us at all times. She is a great teammate and very supportive and a positive attitude on the team.”

Farmer said she wants to win district this season after finishing second place last year.

“We want to get better every meet,” she said. “We really want that first place. That is always the goal. “

Farmer said the girls’ side will also rely on the experience of Karisa Gonzales, Kyleigh Bushnell and Sophia Lewis. The coach said she is anxious to see what freshman Jamariah Washington brings to the team.

Isaac Sinette practices the high jump at PNG. (Chris Moore/The News)

On the boys side, coach David Wallace said PNG returns Cyrus Jacobs, who is coming of a regional qualification last year.

“I think the kids are competing really well,” Wallace said. “…We’ve seen vast improvement by a lot of people. It is all about getting in shape and trying to get ready for district.”

Jacobs, who is mulling over multiple college offers, is versatile on the track, Wallace said.

“We are putting him in different events to find out where he needs to be,” he said. “He is solid. He is really good. You put him anywhere and he looks good for us.”

Jacobs finished first in the 800-meter and 200-meter races at the PNG Relays. Over the weekend at the Orangefield Relays, the senior he won the 800-meter and 100-meter races and was the anchor for the 4×400 relay team that finished in first place.