By John Eisel: CNJ sports writer
AUSTIN, Texas — Muleshoe senior Jessica Withrow capped off her illustrious prep track career Friday with two gold medals and two silver medals at the Class 3A state track tournament at the University of Texas.
Withrow won the high jump (5-foot-8) and 100-meter hurdles (14.75) and was second in the long jump (18-8 1/2) and 300 hurdles (44.01).
Bovina senior Edgar Ortiz took seventh in the 3,200 (10:13.82) on Friday and third in the 1,600 (4:32.55) on Saturday in the Class 1A meet.
The lone girls representative from Muleshoe, Withrow scored 36 points, putting her fifth in the team competition. She was the high-point individual by six points over Tianca Mock of Navasota.
Canyon won the girls tournament with 61 points.
For Muleshoe coach Benjie Jay, this type of performance was expected from a girl who finished with eight state medals in her prep career.
“The thing about her, you know she’s going to do well,” said Jay, who’s in his third year at Muleshoe. “You just don’t know how well. You know she’s going to do something.”
Withrow and Jay were confident she could place in the 300-hurdles and high jump, events she medaled in as a sophomore and freshman. The questions were in the 100-hurdles and long jump.
However, Jay said Withrow got a good jump out of the blocks in the 100 hurdles, notching a personal-best time while beating Katie Miller of Bandera by .2 seconds.
“No one could catch her,” Jay said.
Withrow also recorded a personal best in the long jump. Jay said Withrow had great location on her take off, finishing 3 3/4 inches behind Mock. Withrow had gone into state ranked fifth in the event.
If Withrow had a little disappointment, it would have been in the 300 hurdles. The race had to start three times because of a false start and faulty gun, which led to a slow start, according to Withrow.
“I tried to not let it affect it mentally,” Withrow said. “I was a little afraid it (false start) would happen to me.”
She was nearly half-a-second behind Rianne Decker of Canyon (43.54).
Withrow reclaimed the high jump title after winning it as a sophomore and placing second last year. She edged Audrey Svane of Pilot Point by an inch.
She will compete at Abilene Christian University next year after getting looks from Texas Tech and Texas A&M.
“I just love the atmosphere, the godly atmosphere around there and I knew it was for me,” she said.
She’ll compete in the heptathlon and Jay has no doubt Withrow will do well.
“She’s the most athletic and hardest working girl in track that I’ve been around,” he said of his 10 years of coaching track.
Meanwhile, Ortiz came back after finishing seventh Friday in the 3,200, to place third in the 1,600, and set a new school record.
“He was just very business like,” Bovina coach Kent Torbert said. “He made up his mind today and ran a great race.”
Ortiz had finished second in the 3,200 and sixth in the 1,600 last year, but reclassification led to a number of good runners dropping down from 2A and a more competitive race, according to Torbert and Ortiz.