St. Aloysius competing for South State track title

Published 11:41 am Friday, May 6, 2011

Team track titles for the St. Aloysius Lady Flashes have been few and far between in the past.

That’s not the case this spring. The St. Al girls won their second postseason meet in a row last week at Madison Central and will now aim for a third on Saturday at the Class 1A South State meet in Tylertown.

Coach Richard Hodges’ team is qualified in 15 of the 17 events for the South State meet. Another good performance Saturday at South State and the Lady Flashes can count themselves as contenders for a state title a week from today in Pearl.

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“The girls are well-positioned to win South State,” Hodges said before Thursday’s practice at Balzli Field. “We have at least two entries in the high jump and long jump. This will be the first meet where they will award points for eighth places. You still have to get into the top four to advance to the state meet, but for us, it’s all about the points.”

Seventh-grader Katie Martin is a newcomer to competing at this level, but will be counted on to deliver points in the distance events. She won the Region 4-1A meet’s 3,200-meter run and was third in the 800.

“For me, I swim, so this ended up being some good training,” Martin said. “I hope to do well at South State.”

Sophomore Madison Lumbley wants to be a factor in the field events like the high jump and long jump plus the relay events.

“We’ve actually done really well in the past two weeks winning district and region,” Lumbley said. “We want to give it our all.”

St. Al faced some stiff competition in the regular season. They ran against Vicksburg High at the Gator Relays and also got to compete against some of the best teams from the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools.

“We saw a lot of good girls teams at the meet at Jackson Prep,” Lumbley said. “There was a girl from MRA who jumped 18 feet. My best is 14, 51⁄2.”

The St. Al girls do have an elite performer, eighth grade pole vaulter Maggie Waites. Waites cleared 10 feet, 6 inches earlier this season. She’s undefeated this season in the event and will be favored to win Saturday.

“Maggie has her own personal trainer for the pole vault and she goes down to Hammond, La., at least twice a week to work on it,” St. Al assistant coach Keiko Booth said.

All together, the St. Al girls posted 131 points to win the regional meet. Thomastown was second at 75 followed by Sacred Heart and South Leake. Hodges feels Region 4 is the tougher of the two south regions.

“The strongest team from Region 3 is Durant, but I think our toughest challenge is going to come again from Thomastown, Sacred Heart, South Leake and Cathedral,” Hodges said.

The St. Al boys finished second at region with 87 points to McAdams. They are qualified in 12 of the 17 events. Matt Wooten, a double winner in the shotput and discus at region, will pace the field events. Ford Biedenharn is qualified in the long jump and triple jump.

Eighth grader Luke Eckstein won the 3,200 meter run at region.

“I ran a 12:19 at Madison, but I think a 12:10 is within reach,” Eckstein said. “We have a lot of new people doing track this year.”