By Larry Gage
Special to the Press
Port Isabel High sprinters Tavien Ellison and Mac Strunk are primed and ready for this week’s district meet at Hidalgo. The Press spoke with both athletes this week to get their thoughts on the meet itself and the preparation that leads up to it.
“The workouts have been really good,” Ellison said in the locker room this week. “We’ve been practicing really well. We’ve been going lightly because we don’t want to over-do it.”
Ellison has three top six finishes each in the 100 and 200-meter races this season but has not run in three of four possible races in the two events at the last two meets. He also runs the third leg in the 4 x 100-meter relay team, which has three wins and two seconds in six meets this season.
“I haven’t been running the individual races, because of (minor injuries),” Ellison said. “I’ve been resting up for the relays. To get points I’m probably going to run one of those races (at district).”
“It’s going well, just trying to stay light on my feet, nothing too major with district (coming up),” Strunk said between workouts at Tarpon Stadium Tuesday. “I don’t want to pull anything or have anything severe happen before the district meet.”
After a close second-place finish at the first meet of the season in February, Strunk has won the 200-meter dash five times in a row. His PR time of 22.04 at the most recent meet in Raymondville is a Valley Best and ranks as the fifth-fastest time in the state in that race.
Strunk teams with Ellison on the 4 x 200 relay team and, as the anchor (4th leg) runner in that event, he takes the handoff from third leg man Ellison. Bad baton handoffs cost the Tarpons a higher finish in relay races at least once earlier in the season, so both athletes know the importance of that aspect of the event.
“Cesar’s and my handoffs have always been good,” Ellison said Tuesday. “In the 4 x 100 we’re going to improve our time because our handoffs have gotten better.”
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