Track: Paradise relays make trip to Austin

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, March 30, 2016
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Taking the Baton

TAKING THE BATON – Paradise’s Carressa McCasland rounds the corner in the 4×100. The relay will run in the Texas Relays this weekend in Austin. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Last spring, the Paradise Lady Panthers’ 4×100 relay came up just 0.01 of a second shy of earning a spot to run at Mike Myers Stadium in Austin and the state meet.

“In the 4×100, we missed it by a blink of an eye,” recalled Carressa McCasland.

She and two other returning members of that relay – Kyndall McCasland and Amber French – that finished third at regionals will get a chance to run on the Mike Myers Stadium this weekend during the prestigious Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

Paradise will take its 4×100 and 4×400 to run in the Division I High School section Friday and Saturday.

“This is really special,” French said. “Last year we were just one hundredth of a second from being on that track. We’re excited to go and see what we can do against big-time competition.”

Through the early-season invitationals, Paradise has dominated the relays. The Lady Panthers won the 4×100 squad of the McCaslands, French and Maddie Mitschke last week at Jacksboro in 52.6. Their best time of the year is 51.77 at Nocona.

The quartet of Kaycee Martin, Aliyah Read, Mitschke and Richards turned in a 4:18.69 at Jacksboro. The relay’s best time is 4:13 at the Nocona meet, running against perennial Class 2A state qualifier Era. Richards was also running injured at the meet.

Paradise track coach Johnna Ford said she elected to take the relays to Austin to prepare for the championship portion of the season that begins next week with the District 9-3A championships Monday and April 7.

“We needed to run against strong competition,” Ford said. “Our 4×400 ran good two weeks ago when it was pushed. I want to see what we are capable of running down there.”

For the seniors – the McCaslands, Richards, Read and French – a chance to run in Austin is something they’ve longed for.

“It’s special to go down there with teammates we’ve had since seventh grade,” Read said.

Richards added: “We’ve been wanting to go since we got in high school. It’ll be a great opportunity for us to knock our times down more.”

The Lady Panthers’ 4×200 of the McCaslands, Richards and Read has dominated this season, but didn’t qualify for the Texas Relays. The quartet ran 1:50.38 at Jacksboro. Their best time is 1:49.63.

While looking forward to this trip to Austin, they hope for a return in May for the state championships. But they are not looking that far ahead.

“This will prepare us for district, area and regionals,” Richards said. “We can’t take it too far ahead.”

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