SGP boys track down fifth

Runner-up finish in 1,600 relay paces Warriors at Jesuit meet

By Brandon George / Special Contributor to the Arlington Morning News
Published 03-28-1999

DALLAS - South Grand Prairie's Gavin Boothe reached back to grab the baton and then let out a loud, wide-mouthed scream Saturday.

The explosion of emotion seemed to energize the junior.

Boothe, running the third leg of the Warriors' 1,600-meter relay team, proceeded to burst into a 10-meter lead in the last race of the 35th Annual Dallas Jesuit-Sheaner Relays boys track and field meet. A crowd of about 250 watched at a rain-soaked Haggar Stadium.

Boothe maintained a 10-meter lead over the third leg of Marshall' s relay team as he handed off to Clifford Sparks.

Sparks streaked to a 15-meter lead and held it until the final 200 meters, when the last leg of Marshall's relay team began to catch him. The two runners ran neck and neck down the final straightaway before the Marshall runner slipped past the finish line three-hundreths of a second before Sparks.

"Hey, I don't like to get beat, but they ran well," South Grand Prairie coach Barry Lucy said of his 1,600 relay team. "Clifford [Sparks] doesn't like to get beat either."

But the second-place finish in the 1,600 relay propelled the Warriors to a fifth-place team finish in the 10-team Class 5A division. South Grand Prairie's 56 points was the highest total of any Arlington or Grand Prairie school.

Lamar finished tied with Marshall for sixth place with 54 points. Arlington High, which left the meet early because of inclement weather, finished ninth with 20 points. Sam Houston, competing without several athletes, finished 10th with 14 points.

Killeen Ellison won the Class 5A division with 1421/2 points. DeSoto finished second with 102 points, Allen was third with 82 and Plano was fourth with 65.

Arlington High's lone shining moment came when its distance medley relay team won its event in a time of 11:02.9. Plano finished second, just five one-hundreths of a second behind the Colts' relay squad.

Sam Houston coach David Hill said his team would have finished higher if it would have had a full squad at the meet. Hill said about six of his athletes didn't show up when the team left the school at around 6:30 a.m.

"It has cost us," Hill said. "This was a great opportunity to run against some good competition and a great opportunity to gauge ourselves against other district [7-5A] teams."

Such as Lamar, which had several bright spots in the meet. The Vikings' Reggie Harrell won the 110-meter high hurdles in 14.17.

"He's getting better and better," Lamar coach Mike Nelson said. "If he concentrates on running his race, he's always going to run a 14-flat."

Harrell jumped out to a quick lead and, as he has all season, surged halfway through the race. For the second consecutive meet, Harrell ran a clean race, not hitting any hurdles.

"I got out better than I normally get out," Harrell said. "I had a smooth run the whole way through."

Lamar also had success in the field events Saturday morning. Cedric Hilliard won the shot put with a throw of 54 feet, 71/2 inches. Hilliard edged out DeSoto's Bennie Oliver, who had a throw of 52-41/2.

Lamar's Sammy Umobong took third in the discus with a throw of 146-9. Killeen Ellison's Ivory Griffith won the discus with a mark of 165 feet, followed by Oliver, who was second with a throw of 151- 4.

Boothe also did well in the field events, winning the high jump with a leap of 6-4. Boothe also finished fourth in the pole vault. His mark of 12-0 left him four feet, seven inches behind the winner, Killeen Ellison's Rocky Danners.

Danners, whose mark of 16-7 set a new meet record in the pole vault, drew a huge crowd to the middle of the infield while he was vaulting. He missed all three attempts at 17-1.

Though Danners' record-setting vault was the highlight of the meet, Lucy was pleased with the Warriors' team performance.

"We've had a fare showing," he said. "We did some things well [Saturday]. It's hard to argue with success."

PHOTO(S): 1. (Arlington Morning News: John Kennedy)
Lamar's Reggie Harrell clears a hurdle on his way to victory in
the boys 110-meter high hurdles at the 35th Annual
Jesuit-Sheaner Relays in Dallas on Saturday. Harrell won with a
time of 14.17 seconds.

2. (Arlington Morning News: John
Kennedy) South Grand Prairie's Gavin Boothe fails to clear the
bar during the boys pole vault competition Saturday at the 35th
Annual Jesuit-Sheaner Relays in Dallas. Boothe finished fourth
after clearing 12 feet.

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