JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
WACO — The Faith Academy of Marble Falls girls track-and-field team finished third at the Class 3A state meet of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools on May 8-9.
The Lady Flames scored 57 points for bronze, while Dallas First Baptist had 58 for silver. Boerne Geneva was the state champion with 77 points.
The Woodlands Christian finished fourth with 53 points, and McKinney Christian and Ovilla Christian each scored 52 points to tie for fifth.
Faith head coach Steve McCannon said he was proud of the way the Lady Flames battled, especially since they competed in Class 3A for the first time this year. Going into the final event of the meet, the 1,600-meter relay, Faith could have ended up anywhere between second and seventh. He noted the Lady Flames were 0.35 of a second from not earning a plaque.
And a new scoring system and rule change this year allowed the Lady Flames to pick up 15 more points, McCannon said. Most of the points were courtesy of a third gold medal won by distance runner Sophie McCannon, the coach’s daughter, who competed in all three distance races for the first time this year.
“She is the first one to pull off the 3,200, 800, 1,600 (meters) trifecta, so she made a little history,” her father said. “She has worked very hard and sacrifices to get herself in a position for success.”
TAPPS officials voted to use a scoring system adopted by the NCAA that gave points to the seventh- and eighth-place finishers and doubled the points available in the relays.
“It could not have been more exciting,” the coach said. “We have now brought home 11 plaques in the last 12 years. We find a way to get into contention each year regardless of all the obstacles we face as a track team.”
All teams had to battle the same opponent: Mother Nature. Organizers tried to rearrange events only to have to delay them, McCannon said.
He noted that Sophie was 30 minutes away from running one of the distance races that ended up being delayed for three hours. And the 800-meter and 1,600-meter relay teams were each five minutes away from their starts before being forced to wait an hour.
“We discussed being prepared for any type of weather,” McCannon said. “They handled it well.”
Hailey Shipley set a new personal best in the triple jump with a leap of 34-2¾, breaking her previous best by more than 7 inches.
McCannon said he couldn’t be more grateful for seniors Sierra Brinkley, Rachel Ormsby, Brandi Kehlmann and Gabby Sordelet.
“In the 4×4, Sierra fought three other relay teams neck and neck for a podium spot,” he said. “That was the best way for her to go out — having it coming down to a senior and 50 meters of sheer guts for the team.
“In the 4×4, Rachel’s foot was clipped, and she ran her leg with her shoe halfway off,” he added. “That is Rachel. No matter the circumstances, she gives it her all. I was shocked when I saw the photos.
“Brandi is a true competitor and always willing to dig deep for the team, whatever the sport may be,” McCannon said. “Gabby fought through the pain all season and gave us a chance in the relays. Gabby runs the turn so well.”
Jonathan Bryer was the only Flame to qualify for the state meet. He finished fourth in the shot put with a heave of 41-8½.
“Jonathan was the lowest seed coming into the meet,” McCannon said. “I told Jonathan before he threw (that) the points he scored would be our entire boys team’s total, and that number will always be on the Internet for him to see. Jonathan really came out competed against some quality competition.”
RESULTS: Boys — shot put: 4, Jonathan Bryer, 41-8½. Girls — 400: 7, Sierra Brinkley, 1:04.66; 800: 1, Sophie McCannon, 2:24.72; 1,600: 1, Sophie McCannon, 5:25.94; 3,200: 1, Sophie McCannon, 11:56.07; 100 hurdles: 7, Hailey Shipley, 17.63; 400 relay: 7, Faith (Sierra Brinkley, Rachel Ormsby, Gabby Sordelet, Brandi Kuhlmann), 52.99; 800 relay: 7, Faith (Christina Lykken, Rachel Ormsby, Gabby Sordelet, Brandi Kuhlmann), 1:54.73; 1,600 relay: 4, Faith (Christina Lykken, Rachel Ormsby, Sierra Brinkley, Brandi Kuhlmann), 4:19.13; triple jump: 5, Hailey Shipley, 34-2¾; high jump: 8, Hailey Shipley, 4-6.
QUOTABLE: “We had great season and did very well for our first season in 3A. We will need to re-load as usual, and that will be a challenge as all our relays were all seniors. We feel confident in our system and we look forward to next season,” coach Steve McCannon said.