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Track and field: Guyer sends five to regional meet

After getting to run in some of the best weather the team has seen all season, Guyer seniors Brock Thompson and Javan Reece took advantage of the opportunity and qualified for the Class 6A Region I meet on the last day of the area track and field competition, which pitted Districts 5-6A and 6-6A against each other at Justin Northwest.

The top four finishers in each event at the area meet advance to the regional at Texas-Arlington's Maverick Stadium on April 28 and 29. The top two finishers there will earn automatic berths in the UIL state meet along with the state's best nonqualifier from the four regional meets.

Reece, a Kansas signee, advanced with third-place finishes in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. Reece outlasted some tough competition with a time of 14.65 in the 110 and 38.96 in the 300.

This year will mark the second consecutive appearance at the regional meet for Reece, and the senior has a lot of motivation after failing to qualify for the finals last year.

"Given his talent and his speed, I'm not surprised," Guyer boys coach J.D. Aaron said. "For him to make it out of the area again — especially with the level of competition we have — is just awesome. It's exciting, and I'm really looking forward to him getting another chance to be in the mix for a shot at state."

Thompson, who is going to run track at Columbia, advanced in the 100 and 200 after finishing fourth in both events. It will be his first appearance at regionals, and he will be looking to build off a personal best of 21.58 in the 200.

"It doesn't sound like a lot when you look at the times, but it's a ton faster than he's ever run," Aaron said. "He had a great day in that 200. This was the best weather and no doubt the highest competition he's run, and those two factors can help push you to another level."

Akinniyi, Kirby bounce back from rough day

On the opening day of the meet Thursday, Guyer junior Eni Akinniyi and freshman Christalee Kirby had ample opportunity to advance to regionals.

Instead, both finished fifth — one spot short of qualifying. Kirby fell just short in discus, for which she won a gold medal at the 6-6A meet, and Akinniyi finished fifth in the long jump.

On Friday, both got redemption.

Akinniyi broke the school record with a triple jump of 38 feet, 9 1/2 inches to finish fourth behind competitors from Flower Mound Marcus and Allen, two of whom won medals at  state a year ago. Akinniyi will make a second straight trip to the regional meet with a purpose, after scratching on all three attempts at regionals a year ago.

Kirby finished third in the shot put with a throw of 38-5 3/4 and will move on to regionals.

"It's a perfect display of coming back from adversity and not thinking about [Thursday]," Guyer girls coach Megan Hardesty said. "Those two girls had a great opportunity and came up short. They came back fresh and didn't let it affect them today. They both did really well."

Duesing takes third in 800

Guyer junior Payton Duesing will make her first trip to regionals after cruising to a third-place finish in the 800 in 2:21.53.

After drawing a tough Lane 8 assignment on a stagger, Duesing was in seventh after the 100-meter cut-in but only about five meters behind the leader. She was able to keep everyone within striking distance and made her way to fourth place at the 250 mark. With 200 meters to go, Duesing made her move and finished comfortably in third.

Duesing finished last at area a year ago, and Hardesty said she was proud of the way the junior has bounced back.

"She's one of the hardest workers on the team and a leader every single day, so it's always great to see that kind of kid do well at this level," Hardesty said. "It was a big goal of hers to get to regionals, and I'm proud of her for accomplishing that."