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Sunset Track: Legacy’s Jeriel Thomas eyes state championship

Legacy senior sprinter Jeriel Thomas tweaked his left hamstring at the Class 4A state meet last season, and has since spent the last year training and treating the injury.

All for Saturday.

All for state.

Thomas, Nevada’s fastest 400-meter runner, won his heat in 48.73 and finished second in the Sunset Region preliminary race on Saturday.

Centennial’s Tre Harley, who beat Thomas at state last season, posted the fastest time at 48.66 seconds.

“I’ve been trying to work to get back where I started,” said Thomas, who posted 47.83 in the 400 this season, and 47.67 last season. “It’s starting to progress back. I’ve just got to keep my mind focused and worry about winning state.”

Thomas sustained the initial injury during his junior football season, and worked to return to the track in 2017. The hamstring nagged, though, and he struggled to a third-place finish at the Class 4A state meet despite logging one of his fastest times of the season.

He didn’t play football this past season, worked diligently with team trainers and strength coaches and rebuilt his speed with an eye on that elusive state championship. He credited performance to a tedious training routine.

“I need to just keep a level head, worry about getting better,” he said. “I want to break the state record. It’s just been on my mind to keep grinding … Just like I was in last.”

Thomas built a lead during the first 200 meters on Saturday before easing up down the stretch to preserve some stamina. He still won his heat by several meters, but was a couple seconds off of his goal of sub-47.

“He knows he the fastest, but he has to prove it out here,” Legacy coach Tyrone Armstrong. “We know it’s going to be an uphill battle … He’s come a long way.”

Other top boys performers

Bishop Gorman’s Kylen Ulrey won the shot put with a throw of 48 feet, 11½ inches to clinch a trip to the Class 4A state meet.

Cam Hunterton, also of the Gaels, won the triple jump with a mark of 42-8½.

Faith Lutheran’s Jack Gordon cleared 14 feet to win the region championship in the pole vault.

Palo Verde’s Ben Slighting completed the 3,200-meter run in 9:05.57 to win the region championship.

Valley’s Christian Franklin won the 1,600-meter run in 4:36.02.

Top girls performers

Palo Verde’s Jacquelyn Fields cleared 5-4 in the high jump to win the event and earn a berth in the Class 4A state meet.

Centennial’s Alexis Gourrier won the region championship in the 3,200-meter run, finishing in 11:36.28.

Gorman’s Jill McPherson won the region championship in the discus with a throw of 117-1.

Gwenavere Bobowicz, also of the Gaels, won the region championship in the long jump with a distance of 17-8½ inches.

Hannah Esparza had the fastest time in the preliminaries of the 400 for Arbor View in 57.69 seconds.

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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