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Tigers send 10 to zone

by Chuck Smock

Ten Douglas Tigers qualified to compete in the Northern 4A Zone track and field meet by turning in top-four finishes at the Division II meet last Saturday in Fallon.

The Tiger contingent will head to Reed High in Sparks on Saturday for the zone meet, where the top four finishers in each event will advance to the state meet, May 19-20, also at Reed High.

“We were very excited with all the performances,” said Douglas coach Keith Cole, who added that he thinks all of the DHS athletes who will compete at zone have a legitimate shot at advancing to state. “I’m excited about our chances.”

Gabe Hatchett won the 110 high hurdles and the 300 intermediate hurdles races and anchored the Tigers’ 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams, both of which advanced.

Defending state champion Chris Chappell easily won the Division II pole vault title with a jump of 15 feet, 6 inches. Chappell also teamed with Hatchett, J.J. Patay and Matt Parra on Douglas’ second-place 4×100 team.

Parra also qualified to run multiple events at the zone meet at Reed High this Saturday. He finished fourth in the 100 meters.

Josh Nussbaum, Jared Kenison, Kyle Baker and Hatchett teamed up to claim the fourth and final zone berth in the 4×400 relay.

Thurman Roberts came up about 15 feet short of the distance he was shooting for in the discus, but his toss of 134-9 was still good enough for fourth place.

“I was tired from prom, but I really wanted to get to zone,” Roberts said, referring to the Friday night party that appeared to affect several of the Douglas seniors. “(The throw) was not as good as I wanted it to be, but it was good enough to make it to zone.

“Right now, I’m throwing really well. Hopefully, I can do to the same thing Saturday.”

Cole said he and the rest of the Tigers were excited to see the dedicated senior earn the zone berth.

“That was tremendous for Thurman,” the coach said. “He’s been working hard all season. It was just outstanding for him to able to have a chance to go to zone.”

Douglas’ distance of Rebecca Pope and Taryn Joyce-Mendive also continued to make impressive strides. Pope, a sophomore, took fourth place in a very competitive 1,600-meter race, while Joyce-Mendive, a freshman, finished third in a very tough field in the 3,200 meters.

“It was a great day for Rebecca and Taryn,” Cole said. “Both of them really, really stepped up and had good runs.”

Pope also turned in a sixth-place finish in the 800 meters. Joyce-Mendive had planned to run either the 800 or the 1,600, but decided to concentrate in the 3,200.

“Taryn ran a real smart race,” Cole said. “She hung back, let the pace move at her rate and she hammered them. Finishing third in that two-mile is tremendous. For her, it was a chance to prove she could run with these girls. I think on Saturday we really saw the young lady step up and believe in herself.”

By winning the two hurdles races, Hatchett put himself in position to make return trips to the state meet in both events.

“Gabe’s such a true competitor,” Cole said. “He has a real strong heart and he doesn’t like to lose. You put that together with the kind of speed and technique he has, and I think he’s really going to be successful on Saturday.”

Parra may have surprised some people in the 100 meters. He was only three-hundredths behind Jake Hurwitz, last year’s zone champion, with a personal-best time of 11.69 seconds.

“I was watching Matt in Friday’s prelims and I was thinking, ‘That’s a pretty good run,'” Cole said. “And he looked really good on Saturday. He put himself in a real good spot for this weekend. It’s very exciting.”