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Wildcats track and field qualify 17 for state

Published 11:03am Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Benjamin Russell track and field team only qualified one athlete for last year’s Class 5A state championships but this year, 5A schools are going to have to make a bit more room for the Wildcats.
With sectionals in the books, 17 boys and girls are heading to Gulf Shores to compete for BRHS.
“We did better than I anticipated, (at sectionals),” BRHS track and field coach Cecil Holinquest said. “We had only one qualifier last year and two the year before, so to have 17 athletes going to state is great. I thank God for it.”
Ellis Holloway won the 110-meter hurdles and finished fifth in the 300-meter hurdles, qualifying for both events.
“He’s performed well for us this year,” Holinquest said.
Aaliyah Goggans finished second in the girls 300-meter hurdles. Kevonta Fuller earned a third-place finish in the 1,600 meter run, and his brother, Cameron won second place in the Triple Jump.
In what Holinquest called a “big surprise,” Woo Varner qualified for the high jump, finishing third at sectionals.
“The high jump wasn’t something we started practicing until mid-season,” Holinquest said. “I asked Woo if he felt he could do it, and he tried it. He fell in love with it.”
Woo, who is also on the 4X100 relay team, conceded his spot to Eric Varner amid concerns about his sore hamstring hurting the team. The 4X100 relay team went on to finish third and qualify for state.
Tabias Russell finished fifth in the discus throw, and Miguel Williams finished fourth in the 3,200-meter run. Goggans, Que’Azia Battle, Makayla Wells and Shay Moten finished fifth in the 4X100 relays to qualify for a slot at Gulf Shores.
“All of our qualifying girls are freshmen, so I’m excited to see them perform well,” Holinquest said. “They’re forming a nucleus on the girls team, and they push each other. It feels good to know that they’ll be here for the next three years.”
Holinquest said the team was very confident it would be in this position.
“The boys told me when the season started that they would make state,” he said. “The girls soon jumped on the bandwagon. The kids have worked hard. We’re very excited at what we’re trying to build.”
Now that the Wildcats are heading to state, Holinquest said that the team can’t rest on its laurels.
“We’re looking forward to competing,” he said. “We want to earn our place in state history and bring back some hardware.”

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