There must be something in the water at Plainview.
Even when the weather is as miserable as it can get, unseasonably cold, windy and with a slight rain, there was sprinter Hope Salzman on the school's track, brandishing a baton and working on her form as the anchor of the Indians' short relay team.
The weather may have been down, but Salzman has the enthusiasm of a preschooler on a beach field trip.
"Come rain, sleet or snow, Plainview is ready to run," she says with a grin.
And that may be all the Indians need, as Plainview enters today's 4A state meet at Ardmore, once again a overwhelming favorite to capture the state title in girls track and field.
"We've got enough people in enough events for scoring to be champions," girls coach Jerry Naylor said. "Now you've got them there, but you've got to score with them."
The Indians have qualifiers in 16 of 17 events, and will feature a bevy of individual favorites for state titles, headlined by Shannon Wilson in the discus throw and Alex Davis, who will look to cap a magnificent prep career with two more state titles in the mile and 2-mile runs before continuing her career on scholarship at Baylor.
"It's definitely bittersweet, and a little scary to be running my last time in a Plainview jersey," Davis said. "When it comes to state, I let it all out and I'm going to be hurting afterwards."
But the secret is in the relays, where the Indians feature a qualifying squad for all four relays and are coming off their best times of the year during regional qualifying in Madill last week.
"Right now the relays are running good," Naylor said. "Our 4x200 had the second best time, the 4x800 had the best time, but all of them are running real close."
Overall, it leaves Naylor with the impression that this squad, on the heels of a dominant and record-setting win a year ago in 3A, may be one of the best he's seen at the school.
"We've got a really good team, with some really quality people," Naylor said. "We've got enough people there to do it, to win, we've just got to get out there and do it."
On the boys side, coach Cody Lawson will be looking to take his team to a state title in his first year as the head man at Plainview.
"We talked about that we're pretty confident in what we've done so far," Lawson said. "The last three weeks we've really hit our stride, so we feel good going into the state meet."
He will be well-equipped to do so; Robert Torres (1,600 and 3,200) and McKenna Ray (110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and pole vault) are two of a host of individuals that have qualified for state, while the relay teams, especially the distance ones, are primed to get big points.
Page 2 of 2 - "It would be just so great to win a title," Ray said. "We've got a lot of young people on our team who have stepped up and shown they can do it."
All in all, the squad feels good about its chances of closing the gap from a year ago, when the boys finished eighth in 3A.
"Everybody wants to win," Torres said. "Especially because we didn't get it last year, the older guys want to get it here, during our last chance at it."
Nolen, Burchett among state hopefuls for Wildcats
Though it won't be quite the size of the contingent the Indians bring to Noble Stadium, Madill will feature a nice collection of athletes at the 4A state meet as well.
Miranda Nolen qualified in both the 1.600 and the 3.200 runs, while Shailene Burchett will enter as a qualifier in the pole vault.
Madill's girls squad will also feature Lyndsey Carpenter in the 400 dash, Kaitlyn Richardson in the 100 hurdles and Lindsey Gregory will join Nolen in the 3.200.
In addition, the team qualified in three relays. The Wildcats stand a good chance of a nice showing.
"I'm happy about what our relays have put in, and the rest of our team as well," girls coach Trey Drinkard said. "Hopefully we can build on that and do something at the state meet.
"We'll see how it goes."
On the boys side, the Wildcats will feature three relay qualifiers, as well as Colton Clement in the pole vault and Jose Delacruz in the 1,600.
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