SPORTS HEADLINES

Fast start: Lewis, Embree win Decatur time trials

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, August 15, 2018
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Leading the Pack

LEADING THE PACK – Hanul Lewis races toward the finish line at the Decatur time trial Saturday morning. Lewis’ winning time of 12:25 was nearly 30 seconds faster than second-place. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

When Hanul Lewis crossed the finish line Saturday morning at Decatur’s annual time trial, she did not have any company.

Although the speedy senior finished nearly 30 seconds ahead of second place, Lewis thought her time lagged a bit.

“I think last year was faster,” Lewis said.

She was wrong. Lewis posted a blazing 12:25, beating her 2017 mark by seven seconds.

After a soaking rain that let up just minutes prior to the race starting, Lewis battled through a wet course and humidity to win the girls time trial for the second straight year.

“She was on cruise control,” said Decatur coach David Park. “She’s [only] going to get faster. And we have not done any speed work. This is all off strength right now.”

Lewis transferred to Decatur from Weatherford last year and was forced to run junior varsity due to UIL transfer rules. Her time of 12:11 at the junior varsity district meet last season would have earned her second-place at the varsity level.

The Lady Eagles claimed the District 9-4A title and took fifth in 4A last year at state.

Kayla Leal, who finished 54th at state in 2017, was fourth with a 13:10. Freshman Grace Lowery was second with a 12:54.

As for Lewis, she is ready to officially join the varsity team and make the trip to Round Rock.

“This year’s team is amazing,” Lewis said. “I’m so excited. We have definitely improved. I think this year we are going to make it pretty far.”

FAST FINISH – Gabe Embree crosses the finish line during the boy’s time trial Saturday morning. Embree won with a 9:55. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

EMBREE, READ BATTLE FOR FIRST

Gabe Embree knew he needed to push the pace from the outset Saturday morning.

With teammate Triston Read lurking for most of the race, Embree wanted to create separation as early as possible.

“He pushed me at the beginning to help me get into my rhythm,” Embree said. “It’s motivation knowing you have a guy right behind you. You have to go if you want to beat him.”

The 2017 state qualifier did just that, posting a staggering 9:55 to edge out Read. He finished in 10:08.

Embree improved on last year’s time by 32 seconds.

“The question in my mind all week was if one of them was going to break 10 [minutes] or not,” Park said. “And sure enough, one broke and one was right there.”

The top six runners for the boys broke 11 minutes. Seventh place finished in 11:05.

Park said he was proud of the entire team’s performance, but especially the runners who finished in the back half. The Eagles’ last runner turned in a 14:55.

Decatur opens the season Saturday at the Little D Classic in Denton.

“These times are going to compare favorably,” Park said. “We do this two-mile trial on purpose at the same time on the same course so I can look through history and see where we are.”

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