Harker Heights Knights Get Strong Start in District Meet

Knights discus RamirezHarker Heights Knights and Lady Knights ran, jumped and heaved their way into the track and field postseason Wednesday during opening day of the District 12-6A meet at Midway ISD Stadium.


The meet concludes Thursday with running finals beginning at 5 p.m.


The top four finishers in each event advance to the area meet April 11 back at Midway ISD, the next stage in the run to the 6A state meet May 4 in Austin.


In the opening running event, Harker Heights senior Ella Perry made sure there would be no surprises turning in a gold-medal performance in the 3,200-meter run.


Perry is a three-time district champion in the two-mile run. She finished in 11:21.38, 51 seconds in front of the second-place finisher. Teammate Aristine Fletcher, also a senior, finished in sixth place to earn a point in the team standings.


“Definitely mixed emotions finishing out my final district race,” she said. “I’ve grown so much with Coach Hood, learning how to work with people and being a leader. I’m excited about what’s to come.”


Perry is a three-time state qualifier in cross country and signed with Baylor University to continue running at the college level. She has not made it to state in track.


While she is excited to move on to the DI college ranks, the competitive Lady Knight is going to do her best to make a stop in Austin before graduation.


“I’m happy (with my times), but I hope I can keep progressing,” she said.

Lady Knights Ella Perry


Another senior looking to finish track at the highest ranks is Jaden Cook, who won the discus with a 152-5 and finished fourth in the shot put at 45-2 to qualify for area in both.


Sophomore Patrick Ramirez also moves on in the shot with a second-place finish at 47-6.


“I expected to move on in discus, but shot put, I haven’t really been practicing it,” Cook said. “I’m glad I could put it all together.”


“It feels satisfying. Last year I was nervous because it was my first district meet on varsity. I think I have a lot to improve. The main thing for me is to make it to state.”


Harker Heights head boys’ track Coach Sergio Ramirez praised the Knights’ hard work this season and was optimistic as the field events closed prior to the start of the running preliminaries.


“We’re in the mix for everything,” he said. “We at least have the opportunity. We’ve had good surprises and some letdowns. That’s how it works. If someone struggles, someone else will surprise you, pull you up,” he said.


“I prefer having the team win, having points for everything,” he said. “We want a full team effort. Those four, five and six finishes mean a lot. Fight for every inch.”


Harker Heights head girls’ track coach Rachael Hood praised Perry’s impressive showing in the 3,200 meters, and the legacy of excellence she will leave behind. The coach also pointed out up and coming talent.


Jada Hood, a freshman, tied for first place in the high jump, clearing 5-2. She moves on as the second-place finisher based on the number of scratches.


Another Lady Knight, sophomore Imani Gardner, moves on to area with a third-place finish in the discus, at 101-6, a personal record.

Knights shot put Jaden Cook


Harker Heights Knights and Lady Knights results include the following with the top four finishers moving on to the area round and the top six earning points in the team standings.


Boys Discus Jaden Cook first 152-5, Kai O’Neal sixth 134-5

Boys Long Jump Jordan Pope first 21-7.5, Torrance Anthony third 21-4.5

Girls Triple Jump Kristen Burrell fourth 34-0, sixth Treasure Bethea 33-1

Girls Discus Imani Gardner third 101-6

Girls High Jump Jada Hood second 5-2, Sanau Falniko fifth 4-10

Boys Pole Vault Kai McMillan fourth 10-0

Girls Long Jump Samara Johnson sixth 17-4

Boys Triple Jump Arshawn Spann fifth 42-10, Jaylen Mason sixth 42-1

Boys Shot Put Jaden Cook fourth 45-2

Boys High Jump Ashton Stanford second 6-2, Jeremiah Downing fifth 5-10

Girls Pole Vault Caliyaha Coleman fourth 7-6, Jaiden King sixth 6-6

Knights broad jump