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Program growth leads to record-breaking Farmersville track season

by | Apr 11, 2023 | Sports

The Farmersville girls’ track program has experienced a lot of success this season and hopes to send multiple girls to the state meet.

This season, head coach Josh Howard said the turnout has been great for the Lady Farmers. They’ve won meets at every event they competed in this season, including their own Farmer Joe Invitational back on March 16, which has seen the participation and interest be at an all-time high.

“We had 42 kids come out for track this year,” Howard said. “I remember having a dozen or so kids on the team in the past. It’s awesome because track is a difficult sport. It requires a lot of conditioning and it’s at the end of the school year when kids aren’t always as engaged. We’ve had kids show up to spring break workouts and it’s great to see them bring each other on and we work hard to be the very best in any event.”

Along with the team success, the Lady Farmers also feature plenty of individual success stories on the track, with several school records being broken this season. Aubrey Varner broke the team’s 800-meter record multiple times this season, with 2:23 on April 6 her best mark of the season to date.

Varner is an athlete who has continued to stand out for the Lady Farmers in now her third season on the varsity team. The junior qualified for the regional meet last season as a sophomore, and now has eyes for state.

“She does things just above and beyond on the track,” Howard said. “She runs after practices and continues to train and lift weights away from our workouts. She wants to run at the collegiate level and it pushes her to compete at the highest levels. We put her in the mile the other day and she was nearly within a second of our school record in her first time running it. She’s just relentless in her work.”

Varner ran in the 400 last year for the Lady Farmers, before deciding to increase her distance for this upcoming season. So far it has worked well for her and the team, and Howard believes it’s made her a better track and field performer as well.

“It’s hard to keep moving into further distance races and keep your top-end speed, but she has the experience in track to handle it well,” Howard said.

Along with Varner, Frances Dickerson broke the school record in the 300-meter hurdles, finishing with a time of 47.28 at the Commerce Tigers Relay back on March 3.

A transfer to Farmersville before her senior year, Dickerson is set to run at Texas A&M Commerce next season. Coach Howard has said her experience and work ethic as a Division I athlete has been instrumental in the Lady Farmers’ success this season.

“It’s been a real big thing for me, and it helps me coaching as well,” Howard said. “When you’re a Division I athlete, you do things a little bit differently. The other kids have been able to watch her and see her approach, and it’s increased our practice mentality and improved us moving forward for someone who has been here one year.”

While those two individuals have a great chance to compete at the area and regional levels, they also are half of a good Farmersville 4×400 relay team, which has finished nearly within a second of the school record. The team consists of Dickerson, Varner, Alexi Atchison and Baylee Valliant, with Varner, Atchison and Valliant on the mile relay team that qualified for regionals last year.

That group ran a 4:04.72 at the Clyde Littlefield Relays on April 1, an invitational event consisting of the best runners in the state. It was good enough for 15th at the Division 1 level, but could have the Lady Farmers relay team competing for a state championship berth. Along with Dickerson and Valliant, Farmersville’s 4×100 team also included Ashlynn Clark and Zaquita Skinner was also invited to the Texas Relays and finished with a time of 51.15.

“We’ve got a really good group and their experience together is great and they rely on helping each other,” Howard said. “They’ve bought into being a team and go out and compete hard every time they’re out there.”

Farmersville competes at their district championship meet on April 12-13 at Sunnyvale High School, with the top qualifiers advancing to the area meet in Dallas next week.

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