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KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

Regional qualifiers chase invites to State Meet

Bryce Gerbasich successfully clears the pole at the height of 14 foot. He finished in a four-way tie for first place. In the tiebreaker, he took 3rd place and advanced to the Regional Meet.

Senior Eva Abshire still remembers standing at the finish line after falling .02 seconds shy of qualifying for the 2022 State Track & Field Championships in the 300 meter hurdles. 

As a freshman in 2021 at the Region Meet, she clipped the second-to-last hurdle. The minor mistake took away her advantage, also costing her a trip to State.

Sophomore Madison Staggs and senior Eva Abshire compete in the 100m hurdles in the Area Meet at Turner Stadium. Abshire took first in a time of 15.02. Staggs took second with a time of 15.19. Both advanced and will compete in the 100m hurdles, the 300m hurdles and the 4×400 at the Regional Meet. (Arleigh Doehring)

Abshire is ready to make new memories at this year’s Regional Meet, which begins April 19 at UT-Arlington. The top two finishers in each race automatically qualify for the State Meet.

“I think getting over the mental aspect of what has happened the past two times I’ve been to region,” said Abshire. “That’ll be the biggest obstacle for me. I really have my eyes set on making State in the 300 hurdles.”

Abshire has competed in the Regional meet two times prior to this year. She will compete in the 100m hurdles and 300m hurdles, along with teammate Madison Staggs. Abshire will also compete in the 4×400 relay, which took second at Area with Abshire, Staggs, Caitlin McLain and Maria Maldonado.

The regional competitors have learned through their time competing that track can be a mind game. Junior Elijah Merino, who ran at the State Meet in cross country this year, tends to get stressed before big races and his coaches have worked to help him. 

“Don’t run the race three times before you actually do it,” the coaches often tell him. 

Merino won the 3200m race at the Area Meet and finished third in the 1600m. He will compete alongside teammate Carson Brown in the 3200. 

“I really want to go to state,” Merino said. “That’s definitely a huge goal.”

Sophomore Bryce Gerbasich qualified for Regionals in his first-year on varsity. At Area, he competed in a jump off against four other pole vaulters and secured third place while jumping a personal best 14 feet.

Junior Courtney Daniel throws the shot put at the Area Meet. She won 1st place with a throw of 44-05. (James Pham)

“I was relieved,” Gerbasich said. 

Gerbasich started the year injured and was worried the injury would hurt his track success. 

“I thought the whole year was going to go like that,” Gerbasich said. “I just had to get out of a negative mindset.”

Junior Courtney Daniels is the school’s only returning state qualifier from last year’s State Meet. She finished 6th at State in the shot put. This weekend, she will try to reach State in both the shot put and the discus. 

“Since I’ve already been to State, I know what to expect,” Daniels said. “I know that it’s not as scary as you would think it would be.”

Daniels has worked hard throughout the year to improve upon her sophomore season. 

“I think a lot of times people ask, ‘Oh, like, how do you have motivation to do this all the time?’” Daniels said. “And I’ve learned that it’s not about motivation. It’s about being disciplined to love a sport enough where it’s not a matter of wanting to do it every day – but because you love it, you have to.”

** To see more photos from the Area and District Meets visit the KP Media SmugMug account

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