It takes more than a knee injury to keep Hico's Blake Wood from soaring.
Wood won gold and set the 2A Region I girls pole vault record at 11 feet, 2 inches during the regional track and field championships at Ratliff Stadium last week. She's the only area competitor to advance to the state meet at Myers Stadium in Austin next Friday.
Wood struggled to top 10 feet as she recovered from a nagging hip injury for much of the season, but soared past a group of competitors that cleared 10-6, as tiebreakers determined the remaining places.
The Lady Tigers was just more than three inches from having company on the road to Austin. That's how close five-event regional qualifier Eric Heinrichs was to making it to state in the boys long jump.
Heinrichs leaped 45-5, good for third in the event. Second place - and the final automatic state meet berth - went to San Saba's Luis Vega at 45-08.25.
Wood's performance led the Lady Tigers to ninth in the final Region I team standings with 24 points, while Heinrichs' was key to the Tigers 10th place finish in the boys standings with 16 points.
The Lady Tigers picked up 10 points for Wood's win and eight for a fourth-place finish in the 4x400 relay.
Summer Lehman, Sierra Kash, Michaela Gephart and Wood teamed up to finish the race in 4 minutes, 8.50 seconds, four seconds better than their previous best time and school record.
Like Wood, Kash and Gephart placed in multiple events with Kash taking fourth in the triple jump at 34-9 and Gephart placing sixth in the 400 in 1:03.16 after breaking the school record in the prelims in 1:02.08.
Kelsey Warren was sixth in the 1,600 in 5:43.89.
The Lady Tigers' 4x200 relay club missed the finals by one spot but did set a school mark with a 1:50.06. Wood didn't score but was eighth in the 100 hurdles with a school-record prelim time of 15.32.
On the boys side, Heinrichs anchored both the Tigers' sixth place relays. Drew Polk opened, Brandon Stewart ran second and Alex Sikes third in the 4x100 and 4x200 and the Tigers finished in 44.55 and 1:32.41, respectively.
Tyler Turner cleared 13-6 to finish fourth in pole vault, while Chris Hannon was fifth in shot put at 48-02.
Hico's 4x400 relay team - the same foursome as the other relays - missed the finals with the 10th fastest prelim time of 3:31.60.
Dublin's Ryan Drew cleared 6-0 - the same height that won him the District 8-4A title - and finished fifth in the boys high jump. The Lady Lions had two relays in action - the 4x400 team missed the finals by one spot and half a second with the ninth fastest prelim time of 4:14.60 and the 4x200 club was 15th in the prelims in 1:51.96.
Ashtyn Armstrong opened the 4x400, followed by Laura Tolboom and Sydney Beck. Mariah Reeder anchored both relays, and was proceeded in the 4x200 by Mariah Sojourner, Tolboom and Armstrong.
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