LUBBOCK- The third time wasn’t a charm for Tascosa’s Ke’Mauri Pinkard this weekend.
That didn’t matter much in the end, though, as the first two times certainly were.
The senior brought home gold in two field events Friday and Saturday at the Region I-5A track and field meet at PlainsCapital Park Lowrey Field. Pinkard won the triple jump Friday and the long jump Saturday to guarantee himself a successful meet by any standard.
He missed out on a chance at a third medal in the high jump immediately after winning the long jump. Pinkard had cleared 6-foot-4 in the high jump and was one of the last four standing at 6-6, but he rolled his left ankle while missing his second attempt and would miss his third attempt, keeping him from a medal and a chance to qualify for the state meet in three attempts.
“I fell a little short in the high jump, but I’m satisfied,” said Pinkard, who lived up to his top-seeded status in both the triple and long jumps. “I feel like it helps me because I can see who all is in front of me and see what I have to do to become that number one spot.”
Pinkard had a personal best mark of 49-10 in the triple jump, winning by over two feet to start the meet. In the long jump a day later, Pinkard leapt to a 22-6 to score a decisive victory.
For at least one event, Pinkard lived up to his own standards.
“If I had a big number, I thought it would be in long jump or triple, most likely in triple,” Pinkard said. “It’s just something that I always do and something that I’m very used to.”
Pinkard entered the high jump with a qualifying jump of 6-6, which tied him for second best going into the event. He had a good chance of winning his second medal in two hours.
That prospect took a hit, though, as Pinkard went up wrong off his ankle. He gamely went out for a third jump and barely missed, eliminating him from the competition.
Pinkard isn’t concerned over how his ankle will affect his performance in his specialty events at the state meet.
“I wouldn’t be so concerned,” Pinkard said. “Is it a minor set back? Yes, because I’ve got to rest a little longer and take some time away from practice, but I feel like everything else is going to be great. When it’s time for state, I’m going to show up.”
Joining Pinkard at the 5A meet as a regional champ will be Amarillo High’s Sierra Cornell, who will go in two events as an individual and as part of a relay team.
Cornell, a sophomore, ran in three events Saturday, and got things off on the right foot by winning the girls 800 meters. She turned on the jets down the stretch and edged Aledo’s Sofia Brandenburg to take home the gold in a time of 2 minutes, 14.83 seconds.
After finishing seventh in the 400, Cornell finished the day on as high a note as possible, anchoring Amarillo High’s winning 1600 relay team including Gracee May, Keely Harper and Madyson Castellion with a time of 3:53.31. That gave Cornell two spots in the state meet.
“The 4-by-400 and 800 we got gold in both and I’m so incredibly happy about both of those and all the support of the teammates, coaches and family,” Cornell said. “The 400, that’s another story.”
Cornell might not have had much left for the 400 considering how strong she finished the 800. Sacrificing the 400 proved worth it in the long run, literally.
What really proved motivating was coming up short a week earlier.
“Last week in area I came in second (in the 800),” Cornell said. “What happened to me is I didn’t close as strong, and I got beat by a couple of hundredths of a second. This time I tried to stay stronger and almost wait to kick a little bit and finish it off.”
The only other area state qualifier in 5A was Tascsosa’s Makya Beacham in the boys 400. Beacham finished second in 49.00 to punch his ticket to state.
The top two finishers in each event qualify for the UIL Class 5A state track meet set for May 11-13 at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. For a look at the full results from the Region I-5A meet please click https://www.spatotrack.us/results/highschool/2023/lubbreg/