Lady Mules’ Withrow qualifies for state in two events

CNJ STAFF

ODESSA, Texas — Muleshoe junior Jessica Withrow will have a chance to defend her Class 3A state championship in high jump after winning in regional competition over the weekend at Odessa’s Ratliff Stadium.

Withrow also qualified for the Lady Mules in the 300 hurdles, an event in which she placed second at state a year ago. Other qualifiers were senior Sara Benham in triple jump and junior Ashley Gutierrez in the 800.

Muleshoe finished third in the team standings with 62 points, trailing Kennedale (78) and Canyon (64). The top two finishers in each event advance to state competition May 13-15 at the University of Texas in Austin.

Withrow went 5-6 in high jump, and also won the 300 hurdles with a time of 46.23 seconds. She scored but did not qualify in her other individual events — fourth in long jump at 17-4, and fifth in the 100 hurdles in 15.20.

Benham made it in triple jump by placing second on Saturday with a personal-best 37-2. Coach Benji Jay said she got it on her final jump of the day, moving up from fourth place.

Meantime, Benham came up short of qualifying in high jump. She went 5-4 and tied for second, but lost out based on more misses.

Junior Amber Cowart also lost out for second place to Brady’s Callie Young in pole vault based on misses, matching her personal best at 9-6. Monahans’ Jenna Fann won the event with a meet record vault of 10-0.

Gutierrez finished second in the 800 with a time of 2:29.65 after running a time in the 2:25 range in Friday’s prelims. Canyon’s Laura Simpson won it with a time of 2:20.98.

Jay said a brisk north wind affected virtually everything on Saturday. “None of the times in the finals really matched what was run in the preliminaries,” he said.

He added that while the Lady Mules hoped to send another event or two to state, the ones who made it are solid. Muleshoe finished eighth in last year’s state meet with 24 points.

“We’re going to state in four events, which is what we did last year,” Jay said.

The Lady Mules’ 1,600 relay team of Gutierrez, Brandi Wood, Benham and Withrow was fourth the finals in 4:12.34 after running a couple of seconds faster than that on Friday.

Muleshoe’s boys scored one point in the meet, coming on a sixth-place finish at 6-0 in high jump by junior Robby Bomer.