With a handful of runners battling to advance to regionals, the Lady Farmers had an excellent showing at the 13/14-4A area meet.
Competing at Sunnyvale on April 21, four Farmersville athletes earned qualification to the regional tournament next week. The qualifiers will compete in the regional championships at Texas A&M Commerce on April 29-30. Head coach Josh Howard was impressed with the team’s performance in their biggest season competition.
“Coming in, we thought it was all going to be really close and anything could happen,” Howard said. “Aubrey came out and ran a personal best and to be able to win an area meet is a phenomenal accomplishment. Baylee followed it up with a strong 200 while struggling with a 15-20 MPH headwind. She beat a lot of runners who beat her in the district.”
Leading the Lady Farmers was Aubrey Varner. Competing in three events, she qualified in two events. Her best was first in the 400-meter race (1:01.35), setting a personal record. She was proud of her ability to pull out a tight race win and progress to regionals.
“It means a lot to me,” Varner said. “I’ve worked a lot at school and outside of school to succeed and I’ve had many great teammates and coaches push me to succeed. I hope to continue that success next week and see my progress.”
Varner finished sixth overall in the 800 (2:31) in her first race of the day, finishing just outside qualification in that race. Coach Howard said she responded well despite the disappointing earlier result.
“She’s one of the best competitors we have,” Howard said. “She’s used to running the 800, 400 and relay all season for us, but whenever she has someone close to her on the track, she will fight and compete hard to come out on top.”
Varner said she was eager to see how she could improve on her time at the regional meet, with her main goal being to reach the finals and help the relay team do the same.
“For regionals, I hope to improve my time and make it to finals,” Varner said. “I’m happy I improved from last year, but I’d love to keep going and competing. I did a lot of work with endurance to train myself for the 800. Once the season started, it was a lot of speed work, so I think putting it all together has made me a better runner.”
Other qualifiers for the regional meet include Baylee Valliant, who had a tough race in the 200-meter as she held on for second place (26.79). She was battling harsh wind conditions but held off multiple runners close to the finish.
Varner and Valliant also earned qualification in the 4×400-meter relay, placing third at the area meet with teammates Alexi Atchison and Jenniel Soto (4:15.77). Improving on their previous time from the district, coach Howard believes in his program’s ability to compete at the regional meet.
“I’m really just happy with the way we competed,” Howard said. “It seems like we’re peaking at the right time and that allowed everyone to qualify for regionals.”
To read the full story, see next week’s issue of The Farmersville Times. Support your community newspaper for less than $40 a year.
By Kyle Grondin • [email protected]