Zach Hamilton and Tina Douglas pose with their Gold UIL first place medals after their regional wins
Photo submitted by Edwin Quarles
-Edwin Quarles contributed to story
Two Pineywoods Academy high jumpers both punched their tickets back to the UIL 2A state track and field meet next week.
Pineywoods Community Academy seniors Tina Douglas and Zach Hamilton each brought home first-place medals in the high jump at the Class 2A Region III track meet in Palestine on Saturday.
Douglas, is the defending the two-time UIL 2A state high jump champ and she proved she is primed and ready for her third title. She improved by setting a personal best by 3 inches, clearing the bar at 6'0. Not only is the mark a new PR, but that catapults her to the top of the national rankings.
Douglas has won state the last two years at 5' 7" and her personal best prior to Saturday was 5' 9" from her performance in Diboll earlier this year. She took first on Saturday when she cleared 5' 5" and second-place finisher, Kacie Kimbrough of Port Neches Groves, missed all three of her attempts at that height. Douglas was on a roll as she then went on to clear each of her first attempts at 5' 7", 5' 9", 5' 10", 5' 11" and 6'0".
For Hamilton, it wasn't exactly a new height, but his PR height again. Hamilton, who finished fourth in the state 2A meet in 2017 with a jump of 6' 6", won the regional meet on Saturday with a jump at that same height.
Hamilton and Lovelady's Tre'von Hawkins were the only two jumpers to clear 6' 6" and the bar went to 6' 7". That's when the competition dialed up some dramatics. Neither jumper cleared 6'7". Since neither competitor had missed on a previous height, the bar went back down to 6' 6" to try and break the tie for first place. Hamilton cleared the bar with room to spare on his first attempt and Hawkins missed and Hamilton claimed the first-place medal.
Douglas and Hamilton will compete in the Class 2A state meet in Austin on May 12. Austin seems to be a place where Hamilton performs pretty well. To go along with the state meet competition last season, he also climbed back up to 6'6" at last month's Texas Relays.
Next weekend, we will see if Austin will be good to him for the last time in his high school career and produce a new PR, first place, or any state meet medal.
Any combination of those would be pretty sweet!