The Stephenville High School varsity girls have a new head track and field coach this season, but the quality of the team shouldn't be in doubt.
Jeremiah Butchee was named as head girls track coach by Athletics Director Mike Copeland earlier this year when Copeland decided to step down from his coaching role with the girls. Copeland, a veteran who has coached multiple sports at SHS including football, remains athletic director.
The most recent track meet for the SHS girls and boys teams was March 17 in the Possum Kingdom Relays in Graham. Stephenville took second place in the varsity girls team standings, 31 points behind Canyon. The SHS boys team wasn't at full strength for the meet, which closed out the spring break week.
Helping lead the way in Graham were varsity standouts Jordan Carter, Hailey Martin and Kalli-Blake Bramlett. Carter won the varsity girls high jump competition, clearing 5-2. Martin placed second in the triple jump (33-3) and Bramlett was second in the pole vault (9-0).
Stephenville placed second in the girls 400-meter relay (51.28), with Bailey McBee, Amber Walker, Martin and Bramlett.
Carter qualified for the state meet last year in the high jump, placing seventh with a height of 5-2. Martin is a three-time regional qualifier. But they are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the varsity girls’ team talent depth.
“I feel like our team this year is very strong,” stated Butchee, who has been an assistant on the SHS coaching staff for five years. “We have great senior leadership with girls that have competed at a very high level since they were freshmen. We are also deep, with competitive athletes in all events. Our JV is also very talented, powered by a strong freshman class. The future is very bright for Honeybee track and field.”
Butchee listed a large number of potential standouts on this year’s varsity girls track squad who could advance past the district level.
They included: seniors Hailey Martin (4x100, 4x200, long jump, triple jump, 100 hurdles; Payton Wall (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 4x400); Jordan Carter (high jump); and Kristen Pettit (300 hurdles, 4x200, 4x400, high jump), along with juniors Bailey McBee (4x100, 100m, 100 hurdles, long jump); Chloe Goodman (long jump, triple jump, sprints, relays); Emily Kirbo (1,600); and Kalli-Blake Bramlett (4x100, sprints, pole vault).
Butchee also noted that sophomores Amber Walker (4x100, 4x200, 4x400, long jump); Aubreyanna Ziegler (shot put); Shayden Toof (triple jump); Kassidy Nowak (400, 800); plus freshmen Presley Wall (3,200, 1,600); and Allie Decker (high jump) also are quality performers who have a chance to find great success this year while providing solid depth to the team.
Butchee said the Honeybees’ district competition will be tough, as it was last year.
“Waxahachie Life and Midlothian Heritage are always strong in the sprints and relays, Alvarado always fields good quarter milers and a fast mile relay and Glen Rose has several kids in the field events especially the jumps (long, triple and high jumps). Godley and Venus also always field competitive teams,” Butchee said.
SHS boys head track coach Kreg Kimple will have state champion high jumper Blake Aragon back to defend his title as a senior, along with other returning varsity standouts Krece Nowak (regional qualifier in long and triple jump), Gage Graham (regional qualifier in triple and long jump), Zane Walker (regional qualifier in discus), and distance standout Christian Brown (1,660 and 3,200).
Aragon will also be a strong contender in the long jump.
Nowak took second place in the long jump at the Possum Kingdom meet, reaching 20 feet, 8-1/2 inches.
Kimple added that he expects great things from his relay teams, with Kyle Lindsey, Pacen Parker, Pettit and Nowak leading the way.
Kimple also mentioned he's excited about Kyle Styron in the 800 meters and Caden Cowan in the pole vault as top young performers moving up to the varsity this season.
“Our track district is the same as it was last year, and it is very competitive,” Kimple stated. “I expect great things from the boys this year since we have a great many coming back from a very successful year last year. We are in a tough district but I feel we should have great success this year.”
The next meet for the SHS boys and girls will be this Thursday, March 22, at the Tiger Relays in Glen Rose. The Stephenville Optimist Relays is set to be staged at Lem Brock Field on March 29. The District 8-4A meet is scheduled for April 4-5 at Heritage High School in Midlothian.
1,600 meters — 4. Presley Wall 5:42.78; 5. Emily Kirbo 5:44.21.
100 hurdles — 4. Bailey McBee 16.41; 5. Hailey Martin 16.83.
300 hurdles — 4. Payton Wall 48.85; 6. Kristen Pettit 50.74.
400 relay — 2. SHS 51.28.
800 relay — 5. SHS (Amber Walker, Hailey Martin, Kali-Blake Bramlett, Kristen Pettit) 1:54.29.
1,600 relay — 3. SHS (Amber Walker, Payton Wall, Bailey McBee, Kristen Pettit) 4:16.60.
High jump — 1. Jordan Carter 5-2; 3. Allie Decker 5-0.
Pole vault — 2. Kali-Blake Bramlett 9-0.
Long jump — 3. Bailey McBee 14-11 1/2; 4. Hailey Martin 14-8.
Triple jump — 2. Hailey Martin 33-3; 3. Shayden Toof 32-7 1/2.
Discus — 4. Alyssa Northcutt 110-9.
100 meters — 6. Krece Nowak 11.56.
1,600 relay — 4. SHS (Krece Nowak, Calvin Darby, Cole Pettit, Jose Castillo) 3:37.36.
Long jump — 2. Krece Nowak 20-8 1/2.
Triple jump — 3. Gage Graham 41-8.
Shot put — 4. Blu Caylor 42-4.