STATE TRACK AND FIELD MEET: Academy junior Chris Preddie seeks gold medals in long jump, triple jump
By GREG WILLE
LITTLE RIVER-ACADEMY – After producing a pair of record-breaking performances in the Class 3A Region III track and field meet, Academy junior Chris Preddie has his sights set on larger goals – and golds.
Preddie is a prime contender for championships in the long jump and the triple jump in the University Interscholastic League 3A State Championships on Thursday at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. He will compete in the long jump at 9 a.m. and in the triple jump at 1 p.m.
In the 3A Region III meet at Waco Midway's Panther Stadium on April 24, Preddie broke Academy and meet records as he won the long jump and the triple jump by going 23 feet, ¾ inch and 48 feet, ¾ inch, respectively. He also competed in the high jump at the regional meet.
This will be Preddie's second appearance in a state-level competition in a two-month span. He also was a valuable reserve guard on the Bumblebees basketball team that reached the 3A state semifinals in early March.
Preddie, whose coach at Academy is RJ Bacon, enters the state meet with the best qualifying distance in the triple jump, exactly 1½ feet farther than the next-best mark among the eight other competitors. Donovan Ramirez of Odessa Compass Academy went 46-6¾ at his regional meet, followed by Buna's Trevor Ramirez (46-6¼) and Vanderbilt Industrial's Matthew Davis (46-6).
Whereas Preddie should be considered the gold medal favorite in the triple jump, his regional distance of 23 feet, ¾ inch in the long jump is the second-best qualifying mark among the nine state finalists. Senior Robert Brooks of Wichita Falls City View brings in the best mark by 9 inches at 23-9-¾. Brock junior Eli Potts ranks third at 23-0 ¼.
Also in the 3A boys competition Thursday, Cameron Yoe sophomore Tracer Lopez will run in the boys 300-meter hurdles at 7:10 p.m. Lopez's regional time of 39.94 seconds ranks fifth-best in the nine-runner field. The top qualifying mark is 39.34 seconds by New Waverly's Brett Munoz.
Lopez also plays shortstop for the Yoemen's District 19-3A championship baseball team that will begin a best-of-three bi-district playoff series against Elkhart on Friday evening. He is verbally committed to Texas Tech in baseball.