Messer reclaims her gold

BY BILL MARTIN
Reporter Sports Editor


Corey Carroll reacts after seeing his time in the 100. 
Reporter photos/Bill Martin Corey Carroll reacts after seeing his time in the 100. Reporter photos/Bill Martin AUSTIN—Her mere presence at this year’s state track meet was about one thing— redemption.

To say Camille Messer was focused is a vast understatement.

“I wasn’t taking anything but first.”

The Milano senior emphatically avenged her surprise loss in last year’s 100-meter hurdles by breezing to a career-best 14.4 clocking at the UIL State Track & Meet in front of 20,000 fans at Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.

In her fourth straight trip to Austin, Messer has talked at length at her disappointment in finishing second in 2016 after claiming the top prize in the event as a sophomore in 2015.

“I think maybe I came in last year a little big-headed because I never have any competition until state,” said Messer. “This year, I was like I can’t look over. I’ve got to keep my eyes forward, run my race, lean and not worry about anyone that was beside me.”


Top, Camille Messer is well ahead of the field as she heads to the hurdle finish line. Middle left, Corey Pruesse gets off a toss in the discus. Middle right, Devonte Jones executes a hurdle in the 300s. Bottom middle, Corey Carroll surges across the finish line in the 100. Bottom left, Lulu Mitchell takes off in the 800. Bottom right, Camille Messer shows off her gold medal—her third medal of her career. Top, Camille Messer is well ahead of the field as she heads to the hurdle finish line. Middle left, Corey Pruesse gets off a toss in the discus. Middle right, Devonte Jones executes a hurdle in the 300s. Bottom middle, Corey Carroll surges across the finish line in the 100. Bottom left, Lulu Mitchell takes off in the 800. Bottom right, Camille Messer shows off her gold medal—her third medal of her career. Messer ran a clean race and easily outdistanced Laynee Burr of Stratford, 14.44 to 15.05.

Messer and Burr came in 1-2 in state qualifying times.

Messer—who will run track for Prairie View A&M—was hoping to set a new Class 2A record in the event, but fell just short of Amber Elkins’ mark of 14.19, set in 2009.

“I love crossing the finish line,” said the clearly focused Messer. “I love seeing all of the cameras there.”

It’s a wonder Messer could walk, much less run. She also ran on Milano’s 400-meter and 800-meter relay squads.

Hardly an hour elapsed between the 400-relay and the 800-relay with the hurdles sandwiched in between them.

After she won the hurdles race, Messer climbed the spiraling steps to the awards stand, met with the press and literally stepped on the track just in time for the 800-relay.

“I rushed from the 400 and was tired from running back and forth, but it’s my last year. I’ve got to keep focused. It doesn’t matter if I’m tired or not, I’m going to finish what I came here for.”

The 800 team was seventh and the 400 team eighth.

The relays were made up of Messer, Emma Batten, Kelaria King and Lulu Mitchell.

Speedster Corey Carroll duplicated his finish from 2016 with a second place timing in the 100-meter dash.

In a photo finish, Bremond star Joe Williams just barely nudged out Carroll 10.61 to 10.86.

It was a rerun of last year’s sprint, when Williams barely got past Carroll.

Williams—a University of Houston signee—mined three golds at state in 2017: the 100, 200 and 400.

Carroll cupped his hands over is face as he saw the times on the scoreboard.

“Disappointed, no,” he said of his performance. “I’m excited to be here. I’m satisfied to win a medal at state.”

Carroll and the Eagles almost pulled off the upset in the 400-meter relay as they were eked out by New Deal at the tape, 42.99 to 43-flat.

Carroll—who will run track at Berea College in Kentucky—passed four runners in a surge to the finish line.

“I knew I had to be aggressive and had some heads to hunt to get us back in the race,” said Carroll, who teamed up with Ronnie Messer, Devonte Jones and Tim Demeritt. “I leaned and tried to out-lean the New Deal runner but at the end of the race, he kind of ran faster than I did. There were only two or three teams here we didn’t know, so we have basically been racing them all season.”

Jones almost pulled off an upset on his own and grabbed a surprise second in the 300-meter hurdles.

The sophomore was also involved in another photo finish as he kept his stride down the back stretch and leaned in at the tape and was edged out by Josh Wallace of Lindsay 38.47 to 38.68.

“My coach told me ‘You have more foot speed than anybody out there so you have to get out there early and try to hold them off,’” Jones said. “That’s what I did.”

It was a free-for-all at the finish, with just 4/100ths of a second separating the first five runners.

“I thought I was in pretty good shape but I knew those other kids had been working just as hard and I was going to have to fight if I was going to get on that medal stand,” said Jones.

The Eagles were actually in second place in the team standings after Jones’ second in the 300-hurdles, trailing eventual winner New Deal 52-32.

Milano finished fifth.

In his second appearance at state, Sethe Pugh placed seventh in the pole vault after clearing the first three opening heights of 12-feet and 12-6, but failed to conquer 13-6.

Ethan Bernstein of Albany took the gold with a leap of 16-feet.

Thorndale’s Corey Pruesse just missed out on a medal, placing fourth in the Class 2A discus with a toss of 152-10.

Favorite Xavier Rivera of Abernathy easily captured the gold medal with a measurement of 163-09, over 10-feet better than second place.

Pruesse, a sophomore, established a new school record in the discus at regional with a 153- 3 effort, breaking a 37-year old mark.


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