Abby Casper

It was a solid-gold season for four members of the Houston Middle School track program.

The foursome of Abby Casper, Jaydin Ramsey, Caleb Adkison and Skylur Malam teamed up to break five program records during the 2012 track season. Two of the marks had stood for more than a decade.

“I just think it was that the weather was better and we have kids who are naturally athletic and determined,” said Jeri Welch, who coaches the HMS track team alongside Boulder McKinney.

Two of the records belong to Casper, who set new marks in the 100 and 400 meters for the seventh-grade girls.

Casper established a new mark in the 100 with a time of 14.0 seconds at the second meet of the season in Salem. She topped Alicia Lybyer’s mark of 14.19 set in 2006. She twice eclipsed her own record –– the lowest a time of 13.13 on April 10 at West Plains.

At the same meet, Casper ran the 400 in 1:06.19 to break Sarah Pierce’s mark set in 2006.

Casper twice won the 100 meters at Salem meets that combined seventh- and eighth-grade athletes.

“Her form may not look like a sprinter’s form, but she is a natural speedster,” McKinney said.

Ramsey, also a seventh-grader, set a new record in the triple jump with a leap of 27 feet, 4 inches at West Plains. She topped Shelby Cremer’s mark established the previous year.

“She’s just naturally athletic,” Welch said. “She has speed and power. That combination made her successful.”

Malam, an eighth-grader, pulled even with Scott Edington’s 14-year old record with a high jump of 5 feet, 6 inches April 2 in Salem. He set a new record with a leap of 5-9 three days later in West Plains.

“He’s not the most flexible person, but he has great jumping ability,” McKinney said. “He has really strong legs, decent upper body strength and good timing.”

Maybe the most surprising record to fall was Adkison’s mark in the 100 hurdles. A first-year member of the track team, Adkison was competing in the hurdles for just the third time ever when he topped the field at last week’s South Central Association meet in Willow Springs with a time of 15.82.

Adkison easily set a new eighth-grade boys’ mark and was just 0.01 seconds away from the conference mark.

Welch said Adkison’s inexperience in the event wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“He started when he was tall and lanky, so he learned the three-step approach,” she said. “He didn’t have bad habits I had to break when he got older.”

McKinney attributed Adkison’s success to his strong legs. He routinely tops the field during the summer for the Houston swim team.

Adkison, who broke Bryant Holden’s HMS mark set in 1998, was initially told by the timers at the conference meet that he had broken the SCA record. McKinney had to deliver the unfortunate news.

“I spent probably 5-10 minutes figuring out how to tell him. I felt so bad for him,” McKinney said. “But we told him to be proud. There’s nothing to hold his head about.”

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