Memorial, PNG athletes focus on rest, technique in preparation for state meet

Published 12:32 am Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Local track and field coaches are helping their athletes prepare for the state meet this week. After months of preparation, coaches and student-athletes are weighing the pros and cons of resting and practice.

Port Neches-Groves’ Cyrus Jacobs Jr. and Sanaria Butler join Memorial’s Ke’Andre Jones at the UIL state track meet Friday.

Butler will compete in the long and triple jumps and the 400m dash, while Jacobs will race in the 800m run. Jones will compete in the high jump.

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All state competitors had to finish in the top two of their respective events at the regional meet two weeks ago.

Memorial Track and Field Director Darrell Granger said Jones is focused on sharpening his technique.

“He has been doing well,” Granger said of Jones. “We have just been really getting into the logistics of how to do the high jump. We are going to take that shot at 7 feet this week.”

Jones holds the school record for the high jump. (Chris Moore/The News)

Jones currently holds the school record for high jump with a leap of 6’8” at the Port Arthur Relays earlier this spring.

“The past week, we have been taking it slow and working on the technique,” Granger said. “We have been working on the running form. We have been working on his jumping and his approach. That makes it more comfortable. You just have nine competitors. We want him to be as comfortable as possible. I think that will give him a good chance to be on the podium.”

Jones uses what field athletes call a “J” approach. Granger said the approach is just as important as the jump itself. The run up to the bar follows a J pattern, allowing the jumper to use momentum to get optimal force on the jump.

“He will work on that (Tuesday and Wednesday) and then we will take a break and get ready to go on the road,” Granger said.

At PNG Butler and Jacobs are taking a similar approach by prioritizing rest.

“We are super lucky,” Girls Track Coach Jessi Farmer said. “Sanaria stays in shape whether she is in school or not. She competes in the summer in the outside leagues. We focus a lot on rest and active recovery. We are getting her body where it needs to be. We work on low-volume stuff like her steps and approach. She has been training all season and it is not anything she doesn’t know how to do.”

PNG’s Sanaria Butler runs on the track in preparation for the state meet. (Chris Moore/The News)

Jacobs has been nursing a hamstring injury since the area meet. PNG Boys Track Coach David Wallace said the two-week break between regionals and state has been a blessing.

“He has been getting treatment,” Wallace said. “At this point in the year, it is about rest and recovery. He has been having light workouts. He is feeling really good about it… At this point, I don’t know how much faster you can get in a couple of weeks.”

Wallace said the school is lucky to have athletes like Butler and Jacobs.

“We are excited and hopefully we can come away with some medals,” he said.