Last summer Shelby Cline didn’t quite jump to the moon, but for her it might as well have been.
Her second-place finish in the high jump at the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Games of Texas has inspired her and Granbury Lady Pirates track coach Mike Pinkerton to even bigger goals this high school season.
Cline, a senior, holds the GHS record of 5 feet, 2 inches cleared, which she did at last season’s District 7-4A Meet to qualify for regionals. She shattered that height, however, at the TAAF Games by clearing 5-6, and narrowly missed 5-8.
Both she and Pinkerton believe 5-10 is certainly reachable, along with a berth at the 4A State Meet in May.
“Shelby’s high jumping improved light years last year,” said Pinkerton. “If she continues to improve, there is no doubt that she will make the trip to Austin.”
Pinkerton is used to going to Austin, having done so the past three years with pole vaulter Madison Northcutt, now at the University of North Texas as a freshman. Her younger sister, Morgan, a regional qualifier the past two seasons, has opted not to vault this season, said Pinkerton.
Pinkerton returns about seven competitors from a year ago, but of that group only Cline qualified for regionals. She was second at district and tied for fourth at regionals, vaulting 5-2 at each.
As for newcomers to keep an eye on, Pinkerton pointed to Jettin Murphy and Sarah Sledge, also high jumpers. Murphy competed in both the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympics and TAAF Games of Texas this past summer.
District 7-4A features six Fort Worth schools (Trimble Tech, Arlington Heights, O.D. Wyatt, South Hills, Southwest, Western Hills) and Aledo – in other words, LOTS of speed.
Still, Pinkerton said it is too early to tell just what events – other than the high jump – his team has a chance in which to excel.
He is happy to be hosting his own meet again. The Johnny Perkins Relays will return to Granbury after a year’s absence to allow the tracks to be repaired.
“I am very excited about the Johnny Perkins Relays once again,” said Pinkerton. “All of our coaches work very hard to put on a very quick, professional meet.”
The Perkins Relays will be Friday, March 8.
PIRATES RETURN A DOZEN
Meanwhile, the boys team returns 12 varsity athletes from last season, including five regional qualifiers for coach Jodie Scott.
Regional qualifiers who are back are Austen Wade in the long jump, and mile relay runners Alec Blohowiak, David Henny, Chris Richardson and Kwaun Shaw.
Blohowiak, Richardson and Shaw also compete in the 400, Henny in the 800, and Wade in sprints and triple jump.
Others back are high jumper/hurdler Brendan Crosslin, sprinter/relay runner Kevin Hennard, hurdler Westley Kren, pole vaulter/relay runner Michael Milson, distance runner Kristian Samaniego, and hurdler Charles Wallace.
Scott also suggests keeping an eye on pole vaulter Eugene Geis, a newcomer to the varsity.
Like the girls, the boys compete in a speedy district, particularly in the sprints and middle distance, said Scott.
Scott is also excited to have the Perkins Relays back.
“Our facility is first class,” he said.
“We’re ready to get this season going and build each week in preparation for district.”
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