Ferrara, Messer are not state secrets
MILANO—Milano will send two athletes to the UIL state track meet this weekend, but they are the two who long-time Eagle track coach David Westbrook felt had the best chance at making the trip to Austin.
“I knew they had the greatest opportunity to get there,” Westbrook said of the duo.
Senior Alex Ferrara qualified in the Class A Division I boys high jump and 110-hurdles. He will jump at 1 p.m. on Friday and run at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday. After which he will quickly change clothes and rush to get back to Milano’s prom that is also set for Saturday evening.
“I’ll just miss the (prom) pictures,” Ferrara said about his busy day. He might miss a little more than that should he reach the medal stand, where he does have an outside chance.
Freshman Camille Messer qualified in the 300 meter hurdles. She is set to run at 8:25 p.m. on Saturday.
The ninth grader is the sister of Milano graduate Dominique Messer who won two gold medals at last year’s UIL state track meet in the Class A Division I boys triple jump and 400 meters (which he claimed in a photo finish).
Neither Ferrara nor Messer has attended a state track meet, but are both excited to be there, but on different ends of the spectrum.
“I am just excited I finally made it and blessed it is in two events,” Ferrara said. He finished third in the high jump last year at the regional meet.
The senior plans to attend Texas A&M University in the fall and major in business and accounting.
The younger Messer is just ready to soak up the experience, but knows she has a few more shots to get back.
“I am both excited and nervous,” she said. “If I don’t win, I still have three more years.”
Ferrara has the lowest made height of the nine high jumpers heading into the state meet at 6-0 feet. He has cleared 6-2 this season.
Blaine Listach of Waco Meyer has the best mark at 7 feet, 1 inch. He placed third at last year’s state meet at 6-8. He is the only participant in the field who has state meet experience.
In the 110 hurdles, Ferrara has the sixth best time at 15.44.
Hico’s Cade Hitzfeld has top qualifying time at 14.59 seconds. He won silver at last year’s meet. Wellington’s Walker Williams also returns after a bronze medal performance from 2013 with a 14.75 race.
Ganado’s Clay Vesely and Pineland West Sabine’s Hunter Cabral, return to the state meet in the event, as they finished fourth and seventh, respectively, in 2013.
Sylar Sparkman of Valley View, Weston Jenkins of Medina, Brandon Hooker of Iraan and L’Darius Pope of Alto round out the field.
The record in the event is 14 years old. It is held by Tyron McKinney of Spur, who ran a 14.14 at the 2000 state meet.
Messer goes into her event with the fifth fastest time of the field at 47.34. The range of participants times from fastest to slowest is 3.8 seconds.
Defending state champion and state record holder Kami Norton of Albany has the fastest time of the field at 45.38. S amantha Brashears of Cushing, who was second last year behind Norton, sits at a 46.3.5.
Norton set the state record at the 2013 meet with a time of 43.71 seconds.
Other participants are Bartlett’s Haley Cortez (who beat Messer at the regional meet), Hico’s Summer Lehman, Harper’s Taylor Reid, Vega’s Catie Fangman, Dawson’s Courtney Warren and Gruver’s Hadlee Spivey.
Fangman was fifth and Warren seventh in the event at last year’s state meet.