HUNTSVILLE - Manvel sophomore Meschelle Gills had rival competitors seeing red in Saturday's 4A Region III track and field finals held at Sam Houston State University.
Wearing bright red socks to match her hair, Gills won the 800 and 1600, then ran the anchor leg on Manvel's winning 1600 relay team to help account for all of the 40 points that the Mavericks scored in the meet.
"I've done that every single meet," Gills said. "I train for it. My body is ready to go every two to three minutes."
Gills started with the 800, the event where she placed second in the state last year as a freshman.
Saving her most exceptional feats for last, Gills won the 1600, then came back on just a few minutes rest to take the final handoff in the 16o0 relay.
"(In practice) I run with the varsity distance boys," Gills said. "In the evening, I run with the girls sprinters. It helps going back to back like that, because you don't get a lot of rest."
Ozen used its own version of the Killer Bees to win the team title with 105 points.
Bealoved Brown and Dominique Brannon collected four medals each. Brown won the 100 and 200, while Brannon was first in the 300 hurdles and third in the 100 hurdles. Both ran in Ozen's winning 400 and 800 relays squads.
Brenham scored 56 points to win the boys team title. Summer Creek was one point back at 55.
Both of the day's closest finishes came in the boys division.
Ozen's Tony Brown took first in the 300 hurdles with a time of 37.312. The closely examined photo finish showed Brown finishing one-thousanths of a seconds ahead of Xavier Morris of Yates.
Reprising Friday night's close finish in the 3200, Ryan Teel of Friendswood again outsprinted Kingwood Park rival Michael Lindberg to win the 1600. Teel ran a 4:17.29 to 4:17.34 for Lindberg.
The Manvel High School Cross Country Teams both earned regional qualifying berths after placing third at the District 24-4A Meet, Oct. 26 in Friendswood.
Meschelle Gills won the girls’ individual title, completing the two-mile course in 12 minutes and 3.84 seconds, while Feliza Bustos was seventh at 12:41.11.
Gills and Bustos will be competing in the Region III-4A individual field as well on Nov. 5 at Atascocita High School in Humble.
Other places for the Manvel Girls included Elly Garza in 14th place, Yolanda Williams in 22nd place and Gabby Salivar in 29th place.
Friendswood won the girls’ team title with 51 points followed by Clear Falls (59) and Manvel (73).
On the boys’ side, Jose Sosa just missed qualifying individually with an 11th-place finish on the three-mile course, while Geoffrey Spano was 13th and Joshua Lee was 17th. Manvel compiled 92 points to finish behind front-running Friendswood (15) and Clear Falls (65) in the team standings.
Manvel's freshman standout Meschelle Gills was a triple 24-4A winner in the open 800 and 1,600, and as a member of the 1,600 relay, and MaKenzie Smajstrla contributed another gold in the high jump.
Britney Hamilton gave Manvel second places in the long jump and 200 meters, the Lady Mavs' 400 and 800 relays also finished second, and Mariah Shackelford was third in the 400.
The Manvel boys are sending Monte Perkins (first in pole vault), Dannie Luckey (second in 110 hurdles and third in 300 hurdles), Nick Holt (second in 200), Julian Walker (third in 400), and their second place 1,600 relay and third place 800 relay to regionals.
Manvel High School’s Meschelle Gills will be competing at the Class 4A State Track and Field Meet, Friday night at 6:20 p.m. in Austin. Gills, who won the girls’ 800 meters at regionals, also carries a state best qualifying time of 2 minutes and 13.29 seconds into the event.
It's a 'been there, done that' moment for Dawson senior Dominique Charles, and the first time for Manvel freshman Meschelle Gills, and both could come home with state medals.
Charles and Gills are part of an as-usual large local contingent set to compete at the University Interscholastic League State Track and Field Championships on Friday and Saturday, May 13-14, in Austin.
Charles has been to state as part of third place 1,600-meter relay teams as a sophomore and junior, and he added a fifth in the open 400 last spring.
"The 400 at state was far from my best race during 2010," Charles said. "It was just one of those days, and I'll try to use that experience to my benefit this week.
"You have to stay focused when you're in your event because it's a unique track at UT (University of Texas' Mike A. Myers Stadium). It's easy to get pulled out of your race by the distractions, and that's where having been there will hopefully pay off."
After winning the 4A Region III 400 for the second straight year last week, Charles hopes to go out with a bang at state before heading off to his collegiate career at the University of Houston.
For Gills, many think this is the beginning of several state appearances for the Manvel freshman, and her coach, Jamie McRae, is in full agreement.
"She is mature beyond her years, and was a vocal team leader for us all year, in cross country and track," McRae said. "She has a great future, and what she's doing is super positive for our program, and it will be very nice to have her around for another three years."
While Gills is Manvel's lone state participant, Dawson also has Karina Turner (girls 100 hurdles), Brook Wilson (girls 300 hurdles), Jennifer Blair (pole vault), David Parker (boys high jump), Kennedy Estelle (boys shot put), and girls 400 and 800 relays that could include Cybil Obiozor, Erica Davis, Brittany Williams-White, Jazmyn Jones, Brook Wilson and/or De'Angellque Hardeman.
Parker cleared 6 feet, 10 inches to win the region high jump and record the top regional mark in the state.
Turner (14.765 in 100 hurdles) and the Lady Eagles 800 relay team (1:40.96) are also coming off region gold.
Charles came close to four straight state appearances in the 400 having placed third at regionals as a freshman and sophomore.
"We competed in (Class) 3A my freshman year, and I slipped coming out of the blocks and then dove at the finish line to just miss state," he said, "and as a sophomore in 4A, the competition was just better, and again, I missed out by one spot."
Friendswood has two state qualifiers with Ryan Teel in the 4A boys 1,600 and 3,200 meters, and Shannon Ellis in the 4A girls high jump.
Ellis was the region champion (5-5), and Teel was second in both distance races.
Pearland is sending senior Allie Saunders to Austin in the 5A girls triple jump.
The Alvin High Varsity Track Boys delivered four first place performances at the Purnell Relays in Angleton last weekend.
Scotty Carpenter dashed to victory in the 400 meters at 50.53 seconds, while Zach Guthrie won the high jump at 6 feet and 4 inches. Justin Mutina also captured the pole vault at 11 feet and 6 inches and Chris Shepard captured the discus toss with a heave of 134 feet and 9 1/2 inches.
Alvin, who finished fourth overall in the boys’ standings, claimed top honors in the 800 relay and second in the 1600 relay.
Manvel’s Meschelle Gills won both the 1600 and 800 meter running events on the girls’ side.
Other top finishes for the Yellowjackets included John McDowell with a third place in the 100 meters, Billy Hendricks with a third place in the 400, Devin Molina with a fourth place in the 400 and Anthony Gonzales with fifth places in both the 3200 and 1600 meter events.
On the girls’ side, Hannah Callaway of Alvin collected a runner-up showing on the pole vault (9-0) and a fifth place in the high jump, while Manvel’s Marissa Rosa was second in the 1600 and fifth in the 800.
Mariah Shackleford finished third in the 400 with Lady Mavs’ teammates Randi Hamilton taking fifth in the 200 and Ja’Neal Turner sixth in the 300 hurdles.
At the host Yellowjacket Relays on March 4, Gills won both the girls’ 800 (2:15.07) and 1600 (5:13.95) meters for Manvel.
Carpenter earned runner-up honors in the 400 (49.94), while teaming with fellow Jackets Andrew Pitones, Adrian Cordova and Hendricks for another second place in the 1600 relay (3:24.07).
The Manvel Girls’ foursome of Gills, Shackleford, Yolanda Williams and Tyra Brantley also placed second in the 4X400 (4:04.46).
Shackleford was third in the 400 meters as well and Callaway was sixth for Alvin in the pole vault.
Other finishes for area boys included a fifth place for Manvel’s Nick Holt in the 200, fifth place for Alvin’s Freddy Gutierrez in the high jump, fifth place for Manvel’s Monte Perkins in the pole vault, sixth place for Alvin’s Guthrie in the high jump and sixth place for Hendricks in the 400.
Meschelle Gills' incredible freshman season continued with individual gold in the 800 and 1,600 meters, and as part of Manvel's winning 1,600 relay, at the recent District 24-4A Meet.
"I had seen her run in middle school a couple of times, but I did not realize just how good she was until she got into cross country and her freshman season," Manvel coach Jamie McRae said. "She's just a great athlete with a very positive attitude, and she also works very hard."
Gills, her Lady Mavericks teammates and the rest of the qualifiers from 24-4A will compete at the Class 4A Region III Track and Field Meet on Monday and Tuesday, May 2-3, at Sam Houston State University Bowers Stadium in Huntsville.
Several 24-4A coaches say Gills is capable of getting to and winning multiple state medals over the next few years, but getting there this season in the 1,600 will be a huge challenge with Kingwood Park's Zahri Jackson and Willis' Cali Roper also in Region III.
Jackson won the District 18-4A 1,600 in 4 minutes, 59.52 seconds, and Roper was second at 5:00.38, and Gills' season best is right around 5:08.00, according to McRae.
"The region 1,600 is going to be very intense since only the top two make it to state," McRae said. "We're hoping that kind of great competition will help Meschelle knock off a few seconds."
Sophomores Ikeea Brown and Mariah Shackelford, and junior Randi Hamilton join Gills on the 1,600 foursome, while the Lady Mavericks' other region relays feature Brown, senior Jontavia Dailey, and sisters Randi and senior Britney Hamilton on the 400, and Brown, the Hamiltons and freshman Tyra Brantley on the 800.
Another Manvel freshman, MaKenzie Smajstrla, won the 24-4A high jump while splitting time as a softball starter.
"District was only her second track meet of the season because of softball, and it was nice to have her out there," McRae said. "She's part of what is a very good freshman class."
Some of the other athletes set to go in multiple 4A-III region events are Dawson's Cybil Obiozor (girls triple jump, 200 meters, relays), Karina Turner (girls 100 and 300 hurdles, relays), Domonique Criddle (girls discus and shot put), and Kennedy Estelle (boys shot put and discus), and Friendswood's Ryan Teel (boys 3,200 and 1,600).