Coach Antwan Hughes is eager to see how Parkland’s girls relay teams will respond this weekend when they compete in the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro.
Since winning the Class 4-A state outdoor track team title in mid-May, the Mustangs have had a lengthy layoff.
“The time off was a good thing, but it was also a bad thing,” he said. “On one hand, our girls were able to get some rest and heal some minor injuries. But with that time off, they didn’t get to put in the practice time like they would normally.”
At the state championships, Parkland won the 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 relays in impressive fashion. The Mustangs most scintillating performance of that day was in the 4×200. The foursome of Katlin Sherman, Ebony Williams, Miaysha Bryant and Erin Morrison clocked a season-best 1 minute, 36.99 seconds, which is No. 5 nationally among high school girls according to the http://www.scholastic.org website.
Parkland’s best shot at posting a top-three finish at the NB national championships is in the 4×200. Even so, it won’t be easy. One of the prime contenders is Miami Northwestern (Fla.) which No. 2 in the nationals rankings with a season’s best time of 1:36.41. New Rochelle (NY) is also strong in that event. Entering the nationals, Hughes has mixed feelings about what the possibilities are.
“Looking at some of the times that the girls have run in practices, I feel like we can maintain the level we had at the state championships,” he said. “But right now, I have no idea if they can run faster at the nationals. There’s really no way to tell. We’ll just have to wait and see, and hopefully, things will work in our favor.”
Parkland will face stiff challenges to make the final eight in the 4×100. During the high school season, the Mustangs (Ila Mumford, Myshale Spigner, Sherman and Bryant) clocked 46.99 seconds, which puts them in the Top 50 nationally (46th).
The 4×400 relay team ranks among the Top 30 nationally (3:47.88), but since graduating senior Myshale Spigner has opted not to run in this year’s nationals, Hughes has decided to enter the 4×400 team in the Emerging Elites Division, which is a lower-level competition than the Championship Division in which they usually compete in.
Spigner, who ran on the state-championship-winning 4×100 and 4×400 relays, will continue her track career at Richard Bland College in Virginia.
In the individual events at the nationals, Sherman and Williams are primed to pit their skills against the nation’s best. Sherman, a double gold medalist in the sprints at the Class 4-A state meet, will compete in the 100 and 200. Williams, the state runner-up in the 100 hurdles, will run the 100 hurdles and 400 hurdles.