Let’s hope ‘trend’ continues

The final outcome of Sat-urday’s Class 3A bi-district softball playoff in Graham may not have been satisfy-ing for Sweetwater fans, but the 9-0 loss to Iowa Park told only part of the story.Those who (like me) have followed the local high school sports scene in recent years have no doubt noticed how little success Sweetwater has had, especially in the “team” sports. But the school’s softball program, which had endured the longest playoff drought — 15 years — of any of them, at least did its part to change that. Before Saturday’s game, Sweetwater had not been involved in a playoff invol-ving a sport ending in “ball” (football, basketball, baseball, volleyball and softball) since the football and vol-leyball teams both did it in the fall of 2008.The softball team narrow-ly missed the playoffs a year ago, tying Big Spring for third place in district but losing a tiebreaker for the final postseason berth. But under new coach Bobby Williams, the Lady Mustangs finally broke through this season with an outright third-place finish in District 5-3A.Follow-ing Satur-day’s loss to Iowa Park, the Sweet-water coach said that he hoped his team had begun a “trend” that would lead to the program’s continued success in the future. The next goal is to win a playoff game, something that still hasn’t been achieved since Sweetwater began playing softball as a UIL sport. This year’s team loses only three seniors, and eight juniors are slated to return for their final season in 2013.Let’s hope the “trend” the Lady Mustangs began will continue for all Sweetwater sports teams next year.****Despite some good individual regional performances, Nolan County won’t be represented at the 2012 state track meet. Sweetwater’s Nick Nemir in the Class 3A boys 300 hurdles, Roscoe’s Jacinda Morales in the Class 1A girls 800 run and Roscoe’s Devon Freeman and Blackwell’s Jayden Jones in the Class 1A boys pole vault came the closest as they placed fourth in their events. However, that left them two places short of a qualifying berth.Nemir, a junior who was the only Sweetwater boys regional track representative a year ago, also qualified in the 100 dash and as a member of the 800 relay that also included his brother Sam, plus Kaleb Hoover and Ryan Linebaugh.Morales made it to state in the 800 two years ago, but the senior fell short on Saturday even though her time of 2:24.02 was more than two seconds faster than the 2:26.34 she ran as a sophomore when she qualified for the state meet.Morales was Roscoe’s only girls regional qualifier this year. She also qualified in the 400 dash at the Region II-A meet.Freeman and Jones (12-6) tied for fourth in the 1A boys pole vault. Jones also qualified in the 100 dash and long jump. Highland’s Peyton Howard (11-6) was sixth in the pole vault while Highland’s Lora Stewart was fifth in the girls 400 dash finals and set two school records at the meet.In Friday’s prelims, she had a time of 1:03.16 to place eighth, but she moved up three places Saturday when she ran a 1:03.03 to place fifth. Also for Highland, Sheldon Hall placed sixth in the boys 800 as he ran a time of 2:06.15.Highland had several other girls regional qualifiers at the II-A meet, including the 800 relay of Tarin Weldy, Madison Moseley, Morgan Monroe and Sierra Allen, who placed 13th in the prelims, and the mile relay of Stewart, Moseley, Allen and Beth Richburg, which finished 11th in the prelims. Also competing in the prelims for Highland at the Region II-A meet but not making the finals was Richburg, who was ninth in the 100 hurdles; Moseley, who was 10th in the 1600 run, and Taylar Hammond, who was 15th in both the 1600 and 3200. Blackwell’s Mason Magness (pole vault) and Mark Monroe (boys 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles) and Stephanie Metcalf (girls long jump) and Roscoe’s Jesus Leanos (boys 1600 and 3200) and Eduardo Gallegos (boys 400) were also regional qualifiers.