Dodge City High Schools’ Vincente Estrella not only set a personal record this past weekend at KU’s Anshutz Pavillion in Lawrence, Kansas, but also brought home the Region Six 800 meter title with a time of 1:56.36
“We are excited to see what Vincente can do when he is pushed outside of his comfort zone, as that is exactly what will happen at the NJCAA Indoor National meet at Texas Tech in two weeks” commented Smith. “He is not one to back down from a challenge and I believe he will rise to the occasion and accomplish more than even he is expecting”.
“We are fortunate to have Vincente” coach Ballard stated. “Vicente has put in the hard work it takes to make himself better. He has not settled for being a good runner. He has decided he wants to be a great runner and is doing what it takes to get there. I am proud of him.”
Another breakthrough accomplishment for the Conqs was the national qualifying jump of 2.0 meters and 3rd place finish by sophomore Cory English of Colorado in the high jump. “Cory has come so far since he stepped into Conq country as a freshman in the fall of 2011. He has put in many hours of hard work since then on the high jump apron as we totally over hauled his approach” Smith said. “I am sure there were many times it would have been easier to walk away and just go back to old jumping habits, yet he stuck with it, and all that frustration and dedication paid off today”.
Head coach Cole Ballard also had positive words about his performance as he stated, “Cory English has made the largest transformation athletically of any student-athlete we have had in our program thus far. He is very deserving of the opportunity to go compete at the national level because of his performance today and all the hard work he has put in to make himself better.”
Yet the personal records didn’t stop with Vincente and Cory. Another Dodge City native, Dashonda Johnson ran a PR of 9:07 in the 60 meter high hurdles securing a third place finish. “I was a little worried after her prelims”, mentioned Smith. “I knew she had hit a hurdle pretty hard with her knee but she stepped up to the plate and got the job done.”
The Conqs will be attending the NJCAA National Indoor Track and Field meet at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas March 1-3. The following athletes have qualified to compete in the national meet in their perspective events. Eric Klotz and Sydney Hudson will also be competing. Each team attending the national meet is allowed one white for a male and female athlete. A white card may be used to enter one male and one female athlete that did not meet the qualifying standard. Both Coach Ballard and Smith believe Klotz and Hudson have the opportunity to compete at the national level in their perspective events with two more weeks of practice under their belts. Congratulations and good luck Conqs!
Vicente Estrella-800 meters
Dashonda Johnson- 60 meter hurdles
Darvell Harris-60 meter s
Cory English-High Jump
Eric Klotz-600 meters-white card
Sydeny Hudson-600 meters-white card