SPORTS HEADLINES

Paradise’s Messenger qualifies for state

By Reece Waddell | Published Monday, October 22, 2018.
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After missing almost all of her freshman season with a fractured ankle, Paradise sophomore Jana Messenger’s first varsity race came last year at the 3A Region I championships in Lubbock.

Messenger ran a 13:44 to finish 77th on the 3,200-meter course at Mae Simmons Park, taking fourth on the team.

“It’s almost like last year, I thought my chance was taken from me,” Messenger said. “It just [was] not the same.”

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

Messenger did not let her second chance slip away.

Monday, almost a year to the date, Messenger returned to Mae Simmons and punched her ticket to the state championships in Round Rock. Messenger finished 15th overall but qualified as an individual, clocking a time of 12:31.30.

She was the Lady Panthers’ top runner.

“I’m very proud of her,” said Paradise coach Karin Essig. “The kid battled through a lot last year, really wanting to make a big impact her freshman year. She’s worked hard the entire year. She came and competed. I’m excited for her to get to go.”

Messenger’s teammate, senior Kaycee Martin, also finished in the top 25. She took 22nd with a 12:45.30, narrowly missing out on qualifying for state. Martin won the District 7-3A title Oct. 11 with Messenger taking second.

“I told Kaycee before the race and after, ‘My season is the way it’s been because of you,’” Messenger said. “Seeing [the seniors] go is going to be really hard.”

Messenger will compete at the 3A championships Saturday, Nov. 3 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

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