For the first time in years, El Campo will be sending a Ricebird and a Ladybird to the State track meet. Junior Philip Hundl and sophomore Jackie Nichols will be competing in three events, today in Austin at the University of Texas.
Hundl will be making a return trip to State in both the 110-meter hurdles and the high jump.
Nichols is making her first trip and will compete in the long jump.
“Last year it was like, ‘Oh yay I made it,’ kind of more celebratory,” Hundl said. “This year (I’m) going in tied for second in the high jump and with the fourth fastest 110 (hurdle) time, it’s more business this year. Definitely trying to take home some hardware this time.”
“I was excited,” Nichols said. “I was trying to push to go to State in the triple jump and the 4x100, but that didn’t happen. But I was excited just to be going since I didn’t go last year.”
The junior Ricebird this year is ready for his return trip to State. As a sophomore, he was introduced to the world of State track and got to experience even more this year when competing in the Texas Relays.
“It really is helpful, because you know how to get warmed up because you’re going to be on their football field and then get transferred on over to the track,” Hundl said. “Getting used to their high jump pit. This will be my third time jumping there now, so I definitely have a real good feel for the environment because it’s a lot different than any other track meet.”
Following the Regional track meet, Hundl had two weeks to prepare for State. This week, coach Gabriel Cavazos was not able to help Hundl because he’s out for the birth of his first child. While Hundl is missing his normal coach, the Ricebird junior has been able to get some last minute instruction from two former track coaches that have come out to help him. Cavazos may not be there instructing Hundl, but he’s left a plan for the final week.
“This week (I’ve) definitely been working the real finer things,” Hundl said. “You can’t make any big gains this week, it’s all about (staying) where you’ve progressed (to) and making sure to work on those tiny little things you can adjust.”
Nichols practice load leading into the State meet has been low to keep the springs in her legs as healthy as possible. Recently she’s been doing some run-throughs, sprinting, jumping, while working some techniques to help her get a little higher in the air when she makes her leap.
The Ladybird sophomore is looking to get a jump of 18, which would best her jump of 17-9.5 she had at Regionals.
“I would never say that I’m nervous,” Nichols said. “I’m just used to it. I go out and play and do what I do.”