Sturgess, 4×800 team lead qualifiers |

Sturgess, 4×800 team lead qualifiers

by Joey Crandall

Three years ago, the Douglas High track and field team sent one athletes to the state championships.

Last year, it sent six.

At the Northern 4A Regional Championships at Damonte Ranch High School last weekend, the Tigers had eight athletes qualify for state.

“We’re steadily improving every year,” Douglas girls’ coach Jim Abbott said. “We keep getting more and more in, and if we get all the kids coming back next year, we’ll be able to take even more to state.”

This year, it was an exceptional class of middle-distance runners that boosted the number of qualifiers for the Tigers.

“Of the eight athletes going to Vegas with us, five are middle distance runners,” Abbott said.

Alicia Sturgess took third in the 800, third in the high jump and helped the girls’ 4×400 relay team to a third-place finish to lead the girls’ qualifiers.

The boys’ 4×800 team of Brad Boyd, Seth White, Spencer Lewis and Derrick Jenkins also took third, breaking the school record by nearly 15 seconds.

“The boys ran an awesome race,” Abbott said. “It was really close at the start and Brad put us in fourth or fifth right out of the gate.

“Spencer took the baton and ran a 2:01 split which propelled us from fourth to first.

“Seth kept us in first, but it was so close at the hand-off. Galena came up and caught us, their anchor leg ran a 1:54 split, which was incredible, but Derrick caught a guy from Manogue and brought us in well,” Abbott said.

The girls’ 4×400 team of Sturgess, Nicole Mehrer, Jessica Gorton and Skylar Young blistered a season-best 4:04.

“All three of the top teams really separated themselves about halfway through the third leg,” Douglas coach Rick Brown said. “Carson and McQueen were really strong and they ended up 1-2.”

Some other highlights from the regional meet included senior Christine Ward throwing a personal-best 105 feet in the discus. The throw beat her previous best by six feet and placed her in sixth overall.

Gorton and Mehrer just missed qualifying in the long jump and triple jump, although each posted personal bests.

The girls’ 4×200 team of freshman Ne’Jae Jackson, Sturgess, Mehrer and Young took sixth as well, despite having only worked together for two weeks.

“It was a case all day of kids posting their best times and distances,” Brown said. “We had PRs all over the place. The only problem was, so did everyone else.

“The kids all came ready and they performed to the best of their abilities.”