Muleshoe girls finish eighth at state

CNJ Staff

AUSTIN, Texas — Led by sophomore Jessica Withrow, the Muleshoe girls track team finished eighth in the Class 3A state meet on Friday and Saturday at the University of Texas.
The Lady Mules scored 24 points. Team champion Celina finished with 45 points.
Withrow accounted for 20 points in three individual events, including a gold medal in Friday’s high jump competition when she cleared 5-7.
On Saturday, Withrow placed second in the 300-meter hurdles in 45.05 and fifth in the 100 hurdles in a 15.33. The Lady Mules’ 1,600 relay team of senior Eva Pylant, freshman Brandi Wood, junior Sara Benham and Withrow also placed fifth with a time of 4:05.53, more than two seconds better than its previous best.
“The girls did real well,” first-year Lady Mules coach Benjie Jay said. “They got a lot of experience, and I’m looking forward to bringing more of them back here next year.”
Withrow, who cleared 5-6 in high jump in regional competition and had a season-best of 5-8, won comfortably in Friday’s event. Celina’s Becky Christensen, who also went 5-6 during regional competition, finished second to Withrow on Friday at 5-5 and was the only other jumper to clear that height.
Withrow clinched first place when she cleared 5-6 on her second attempt. She continued on by herself, and got 5-7 on her third try before going out at 5-8.
“We felt like she had a real good shot there,” Jay said of high jump. “In the 300 hurdles, we felt like she could get on the podium (third or better).”
Withrow edged defending 3A champion Kim Ballinger for second place in the 300 hurdles. Tamara Koepp of La Vernia won by a comfortable margin.
In the 100 hurdles, Jay said Withrow “ran a great time considering she got a bad start.”
In Class 1A boys competition, Bovina sophomore Edgar Ortiz finished seventh in the 3,200 with a time of 11:03.88. Winner Heath Wing of Ralls posted a time of 9:55.13, nearly 12 seconds ahead of his closest competitor.
Bovina coach Tony Epps said Ortiz got squeezed against the outside fence and fell on the first curve, and the race was stopped and then restarted.
“Somehow he got hinged up in the pack,” said Epps. “The next thing I know, he slips and hit his head.”
Among other things, Epps said Ortiz turned an ankle and scraped a knee in the fall. But he said Ortiz was able to hang in and finish reasonably well despite his nicks.
“He stayed with them pretty good on the first lap,” Epps said, “and then he began to drop back.”