By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
Daniela Murchison has qualified for her fourth consecutive UIL Women’s State High School Track and Field Meet. She made it by winning the shot put event and placing second in the discus competition at last weekend’s Region IV Meet at Kingsville.
Murchison’s gold medal-winning shot-put distance came on her third attempt. “My first throw was about a 42, and my second attempt was a 46-plus but I scratched.” Her best attempt of 132-06 in the discus came on her first attempt. “I just wanted to get it over with and relax, she added.” Celine Markert of Yoakum was the gold medalist with a toss of 147-10.
In winning the shot-put with a toss of 45 feet 11 ¼ inches, she broke the meet and Javelina Stadium record. Those records were held by Johvonne Howard, who is well acquainted with Murchison. She was Murchison’s coach for her freshman and sophomore seasons, and is currently the head track and field coach for the Los Fresnos High Lady Falcons.
Howard was not able to attend the regional meet but she did talk with her former throwing pupil by phone afterwards. “She was happy for me,” Murchison said Monday. “She was really excited. She’s always been telling me to break all her records.”
“We talked about it early in her career,” Howard said by telephone this week. “Everything she’s accomplished we talked about four years ago. It’s no surprise to me what she’s accomplished because of all the time and effort she puts in. I’m really proud of her.”
As a Port Isabel Senior in 2001, Howard set the regional and Javelina Stadium shot-put record of 45-04 ¼ and went on to win the State Class 3A Championship in both the shot-put and discus events.
In the 4×400-meter relay race, the Lady Tarpon foursome of Alex Martinez, Natalie Garza, Ava Gomez, and Simone Harry ran a 4:07 in prelims to make Saturday’s final. “We didn’t have quite as good a run on Saturday as on Friday,” Coach Breedlove said this week. “We ran a 4:11 (4:11.81) and we ended up 8th.”
“We ended up running a 4:07 (prelims) which was only a second, a little more off our best time that we’d run all year. So that was exciting for the girls. We’ll be back next year.”
Natalie Garza also ran in the 400-meter dash and just missed making the final. “Natalie PR’d (personal record) and ran a 60 (60 second plus), so she was really excited about that,” Breedlove told the Press. “She just missed the finals by .2 seconds.”
The 4×200 foursome of J’yah Cook, Amaya Lampkin, Harry, and Gomez ran a 1:48 in prelims and did not make the final. All eight runners in the two relay events will return for next season.
Murchison reported one change in her practice routine in preparation for next week’s state meet. “I’m going back to lifting weights, just for this week,” she said Monday. “It’ll help me get a little stronger in my legs.”
If Murchison should win shot-put gold at the state meet she would be the first Valley high school female athlete in any class ever to win three state titles in the same event. The only one of her four years of high school that she was not a state qualifier in both events was her freshman year when she went to state only in the discus.
Murchison is going for her third straight state shot-put gold medal, but this year the size classification is different. She was the state Class 3A champion last year and in 2013. It’s all the same schools only now the designation is Class 4A instead of 3A.
The 2015 UIL High School State Track and Field Meet will be held at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin. It all starts Thursday afternoon (May 14) with the Class 1A field events at 5:00 p.m., and concludes with the Class 4A and 6A running events on Saturday night.
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