Ashley Machuca

Lake Dallas junior Ashley Machuca set the school record in the girls pole vault at the Area 5/6-5A track and field meet at Brewer High School.

Lake Dallas girls track and field coach Kassie Urban had a message for her Falcons after rainy weather forced several running events in the 5/6-5A area track and field meet to be delayed by one day.

It was about getting prepared for the events that awaited the Falcons, not to think about any of the weather delays.

Visualize what your start is going to look like. Visualize yourself getting out of the blocks. Visualize what your finish is going to look like.

No one could have envisioned how close the finish in the boys’ 400-meter dash was going to be.

Lake Dallas freshman Keonde Henry was running neck-and-neck with Northwest sophomore Andrew Lutkenhaus and Azle senior Billy Heath as they approached the finish line. But, Henry put his body on the line. He dove forward at the finish line to finish in fourth place in a time of 51.16 – outlasting Heath, who took fifth in 51.18, to earn the final qualification into the Region 1-5A meet.

“I didn’t even see him because I was standing at the 150-meter mark and telling him, ‘Come on. Let’s go, let’s go. You’ve got to move,’” said Darrell Dennis, Lake Dallas boys head coach. “I was trying to cheer him on and all of a sudden, I looked and thought that he got third place. And then all of the kids were saying, ‘Coach, he dove.’”

Henry was one of four Falcons who placed in the top four at the area meet, held Thursday and Friday at Brewer High School, and punched their ticket into this week’s regional in Lubbock.

Lake Dallas junior Mackenzie Buss added another chapter to her comeback from a knee injury that forced her to miss all of her sophomore season. She captured the area championship in the 100 dash (12.54) and added a second-place finish in the triple jump (34-9 3/4).

“She doesn’t stop working hard,” Urban said. “Every day. Every sport. She’s there. She’ll compete. She’s just an athlete. With her mentality, I wish that I can make carbon copies of her.”

Falcon senior Kelsi Vonnahme also qualified for regionals in two events. She finished second in the long jump, posting a leap of 17-4 1/2 and ran to a personal-best time of 48.75 in the 300 hurdles, good for fourth overall.

“For her to go in both is great for her senior year,” Urban said. “I can’t wait to see what she can do at regionals.”

Lake Dallas junior Ashley Machuca is bound for regionals in the pole vault, and did it in record fashion. She broke the school record in the event by clearing the bar at 9-6.

“She’s improved all season and got to district and tied that school record,” Urban said. “Coming into the area meet, it was her goal to break it and vaulting that 9-6 was a huge thing for her. I think the record had been there since 2006. She’s been doing work outside of practice to get in the work. I was really glad to see her break that record.”

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