Blackwell’s Fab Five seek 1st state medal

By: 
Ron Howell
Sports Editor

Blackwell’s outstanding track season ends Friday as five individuals compete in the Class 1A state meet held at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin on the University of Texas campus.
One boy and four members of the district, area and regional champion girls team will be competing in a total of six events, and all five athletes are seeking a first-ever UIL medal.
Two of the five have been in this position before and fell just short of getting that first state medal. They plan to use that experience to their advantage and have a better result this time.
The other three also hope to win a first-, second- or third-place UIL medal after making it to state for the first time.
Kiley Cummings
Sophomore
UIL event:
Girls triple jump,
400-meter dash
Though just a sophomore, Cummings — who made it to Austin in three events a year ago — has already set school records at Blackwell in four events: the 200 and 400 dash, 800 run and triple jump. The 800 record was broken this year by Vickie Davis at the regional meet.
Two of the school records Cummings holds were set at regionals where she placed first in the 400 (1:00.22) and the triple jump (35-10 1/2). She ran the 400 in a time of 1:00.33 a year ago at Austin and placed fourth, missing a bronze medal by a scant .01 of a second.
Cummings also qualified again in the triple jump, where she was seventh this past year at the state meet.
“I really want to medal this year in both the triple and the (400),” Cummings said. “I think I need to go under 60 (seconds) in the 400 and 36 (feet) in the triple jump, but I feel like I can do it this weekend.”
She said having Davis, her Blackwell teammate, at state with her this year will make this Austin trip “more exciting” than her first one as a freshman.
“My dad (Blackwell coach Wiley Cummings) and Vickie have both pushed me a lot this year,” she said. She deserved to go (in the 800). She worked hard for it. One of my motivations this year was to get her to state.”
“She was just as happy when Vickie made it as she was for herself,” head track coach Clint Lowry said.
“I call her ‘Sassy.’ All of these kids work hard, but she takes it to another level. Her dad pushes her and has done a good job with her. She’s very deserving of what she (has accomplished).”
Vickie Davis
Senior
UIL event:
Girls 800-meer run
Davis’ hard work paid off at regionals, where she broke Cummings’ 800 mark by nearly a full second with a time of 2:28.68.
She began running the event for the first time this year and has made considerable improvement during the season. Her goal is a 2:20 at Austin, which would be at least five seconds better than her competitors’ regional qualifying times.
Davis said the coaches gave her a shot at the 800 when they noticed during the fall cross country season that she was keeping up with Cummings. It turned out to be a great call after she made it to state for the first time as a senior. Davis was second at regionals to Benjamin’s Temi Flowers, who was timed in 2:26.57.
Going to state “made me real excited,” Davis said.
“I was really glad that I did it. It makes me proud that my work paid off. Kiley has been a huge motivator. I used her to motivate me to be better than her.”
“Vickie told me at the first of the year, ‘Coach, I’m going to state in something’ so we put her in the 800 and she’s torn it up,” said Lowry. “She and Kiley have really pushed each other to get where they’re at.”
Peyton Hinckley
Senior
UIL event:
Boys high jump
This will also be the first state trip for Hinckley, like Davis a senior, after he won the boys high jump at the regional meet, going 6-1 for a personal best.
Hinckley needed several extra jumps to be declared the winner as Sterling City’s Michael McGuire also went over the bar at 6-1 but had to settle for second place.
Hinckley jumped six feet for the first time this year and thinks a top-three state finish is doable.
“We’re (the nine UIL high jump competitors) all pretty close,” he said. “I hope to at least get on the podium.
“The coaches have helped me with my technique and approach. That’s a big part of it. If you don’t have that right you can’t compete.”
“I’ve coached Peyton since sixth grade,” Lowry said. “He started to high jump his freshman year and that was a good move. He’s made it easy for me in the high jump. When he messes up he knows what he did wrong. He tells me what he did before I tell him.”
Jordan Jones
Junior
UIL event:
Girls pole vault
None of Blackwell’s state competitors is more familiar with this weekend than Jones, who is making her third straight appearance in the Class 1A pole vault.
Before that, her brother Jayden was competing in the boys pole vault where he won a state gold medal during his senior year.
Jordan is still seeking her first UIL medal after barely missing out in 2017 and ‘18, where she finished fourth both times. However, like Jayden, she holds the school record (9-3) in her event.
And her luck is already changing. Her 9-3 vault at the regional meet was only good for a third-place tie with Water Valley’s Kirstyn Greebon. However, she won a jump-off for third place.
Then she found out that she would go to Austin by a wild card invitation, for having the best third-place jump out of the four regions in the state.
“My ultimate goal is to get on the medal stand because the last two years I’ve been just short. But it’s just a blessing to go,” Jones said. “I was saved by the wild card this year.
“I credit a lot of it (success) to Coach (Dale) Means but also Coach Lowry and my brother for allowing me to be confident,” she said. “I felt I needed to work harder this year and I feel like I have.”
Jones said she thinks it will take a jump of 9-6 to win a state medal.
Darrian Kenney
Sophomore
UIL event:
Girls 100-meter hurdles
Kenney is making her first state appearance in the same event her mother, then known as Christy Williams, was a two-time state runnerup for Blackwell in the early 1990s.
Kenney qualified by winning the 100 hurdles at the regional meet in a personal best 16.30 seconds, .57 better than her time of 16.87 at the area meet.
Her genetics weren’t the only reason she has improved her time in the event since her freshman year — she has also grown six inches since then.
She had also hoped to go to state in the high jump after a third-place regional finish as a freshman, but is still excited about going to Austin.
“I just want to go out there and do the best that I can,” she said. “I knew I had the ability to win the hurdles, but it was still surprising.”
Lowry issued a challenge to Kenney after she failed to qualify for state in the high jump. “I told her ‘I know that you’re disappointed. Now you go take it out on the hurdles.' And she did.”
Lowry said Kenney has benefited from working with Blackwell principal Bryan Shipman, who was nationally ranked as a hurdler at Angelo State University. “She just blossomed this year,” Lowry said. “The ceiling is pretty high for her.
“It’s such a pleasure to work with all of them. They are all great kids and great competitors.
“They work hard and we try to make it fun.”

Pictured (from left): Jordan Jones, Darrian Kenney, Peyton Hinckley, Vickie Davis, Kiley Cummings
Photo by Ron Howell

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