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Four Kennedale relay teams expect to make a splash at state meet

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Reprinted from the Fort Worth Star Telegram 5/8/2013?

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By Shawn Smajstrla

Special to the Star-Telegram

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/05/07/4833217/four-kennedale-relay-teams-expect.html#storylink=cpy

The Kennedale boys and girls relay teams aren?t simply heading to Austin to compete during this weekend?s Class 3A state track and field meet.

They?re planning to win.

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And for the girls 4×100 and 4×200-meter relays, the goals don?t only include gold medals, but state records. {{more}}
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The girls enter the state meet with the fastest qualifying times in both the 4×100- and 4×200-meter events, including the 46.66 seconds they ran in the 4×100 last month at the regional meet in Lubbock. The mark is one-hundredth of a second ahead of the state meet record ? one they intend to have after this weekend.
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?I knew that they had had some success in the past, so it was just a matter of keeping the girls focused and understanding what they actually had,? coach Jimyria Woodard said. ?I did notice that the mindset about winning the state championship was somewhat new to some of them, or breaking records was something new to them.?
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But winning at the state level and breaking records is now part of the culture of the track program at Kennedale. Both Woodard and boys coach Leon Paul are in their first year with the school, and already they?re making their marks.
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?When I came in I told them my standards and told them we were making it to state this year ? and we?re not just going to show up and run, but we?re going to compete for a state championship,? Paul said. ?I told them that in January, and they didn?t really believe me until we started doing these workouts that I brought to Kennedale. They started seeing their times drop and we kept dropping each week. We went down to regionals and broke the regional record in the 4×200.?
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The boys 4×100 team enters the state meet with the sixth-fastest qualifying time and the 4×200 is fourth best. But Paul is certain they can improve on their times.
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?We watched film from the regional meet and we saw a lot of errors that we can fix that made our times not as fast as they should be,? Paul said. ?When I pointed out on film where we were slowing down a little bit and running out of gas a little bit, they saw themselves doing it and went out the next day at practice we ran all the way through the exchanges. I think that can get us going from a 1:27 to a 1:25.?

The fastest boys 4×200 qualifying time is 1:26.49.
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Junior sprinter Leon Powell was chosen captain by his teammates, which include Juwan Washington, Sterling Dickens, Patrick Lovings, Donny Darville and Ejinio Rico. Powell admits he was skeptical before the season about how far the relay teams could go.
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?I don?t think any of us believed that we had a shot,? he said. ?But as time went on, we kind of bought into the workouts and we thought if we want to get better we have to buy into it. Now I believe we can accomplish anything if we just put our work into the practices that our coach gives us.?
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Senior Chianne Lowe serves as an inspirational leader for teammates Toni O?Neal, Hailey Patterson and De?Andrea Powell. Lowe, who had a baby in September, anchors the relays.
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?I was excited to come back,? Lowe said. ?I knew everything I could do and had done before, but I was nervous I wouldn?t be what I was my sophomore year, that I wasn?t going to have any of the power back.?
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Woodard is sure that Lowe is ready to shine, though. ?She?s a big-stager; she?s a gamer,? Woodard said.
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The relay teams aren?t the whole story, though. Fred Scott will also represent the Wildcats in Austin. The North Texas football signee qualified in shot put in his first year in the event.
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After Scott pulled a hamstring early in the track season, Paul suggested that he avoid jeopardizing his football future and take up something else. Scott took his coach?s advice and began to shot put.
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?He was a surprise to the whole track team,? Paul said. ?He?s just an added bonus, so I?m excited about him as well.?
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