SPORTS HEADLINES

Track Roundup: Rivera opens season with gold

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, March 1, 2014

After finishing fourth at the state meet last year, Brandon Rivera entered this track season determined to be on the podium in Austin in May.

“It’s first place or bust,” Rivera said. “If I don’t have the gold at the end, I’ll be disappointed.”

Rivera put the fruits of his hard work throughout the fall and winter on display Thursday, running an impressive 1:58.92 at the Eagle Relays.

“I don’t want to go above 2 minutes all year,” he said. “I want to break the school record and run 1:54.”

With no one to push him, Rivera turned in a 58-second first quarter.

“My first split was a little slow,” Rivera said. “It needs some work. But it’s all right for February.

“I didn’t have anyone behind me.”

Rivera won the race by more than 100 meters. Decatur’s Payton McAlister took second in 2:11.34.

STRIPLING TAKES SECOND IN HIGH JUMP

Decatur’s Macen Stripling finished second in the high jump clearing 4-10.

Just a couple weeks after finishing basketball season, she was hoping for a better effort.

“I hadn’t practiced much and didn’t feel too well about it,” Stripling said. “I kept hitting the bar with my shoulder. This first meet, I was hoping to come out and show what I can do. I’m still happy I got points for my team.”

Stripling took third in the 100 hurdles in 18.15.

NEIGHBORS WINS 300 HURDLES

The 2013 state qualifier, Nicole Neighbors opened the season with a victory in the 300 hurdles.

Neighbors turned in a 50.21 on her home track to edge out Brownwood’s Sharday Melvin.

Neighbors, who finished seventh in the 100 hurdles at state last year, took second in the event Thursday in 18.09.

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