• November 16, 2019

HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD: Permian's Jimenez ready for another chance to compete at area meet - Odessa American: Sports

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HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD: Permian's Jimenez ready for another chance to compete at area meet

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Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2019 6:54 pm

Not many athletes in the state of Texas can say that they’ve qualified for the area meet in both their freshmen and sophomore seasons

Permian’s Maria Jimenez is one of the few exceptions.

The Lady Panthers’ sophomore will be making her second appearance at the area track meet today at Frenship High School in Wolfforth, qualifying in the 400 meters and as part of the 1600-meter relay team and 800-meter relay team.  

While she’s grateful to be able to accomplish such a feat, she knows that being only a sophomore forces her to compete stronger and live up to expectations.

“Being younger, it forces me to work harder to be able to compete with the older girls so it pushes me to go further,” Jimenez said.

At her last meet, at the District 2-6A championships at Ratliff Stadium two weeks ago, Jimenez won the 400 meters in a time of 58.24 seconds, which was her best time in that event.

But she knows that her best meet is only the next one.

“I’ve had to work harder and I’m still trying to set a personal record in the 400,” Jimenez said. “I want to bring my time down.”

She’ll get a chance to do that today when she competes for a spot at the Region I-6A Championships, which will be held at the University of Texas-Arlington.

“I’m just going to come out and give it my best shot like always,” Jimenez said.

She doesn’t feel there’s too much pressure heading into this event meet, saying that the district meet prepared her well for this opportunity.

“The last meet, I felt like it really prepared me very well for area,” Jimenez said. “It showed me what I can do to improve in the 400 and come out and get a better sprint and give it everything that I have.”

She’s earned plenty of praise from her coach Hilberto Ochoa.

“Maria is one of the top athletes here, not just in track but in the whole school here at Permian,” Ochoa said. “If you look at her, you’d probably say she doesn’t pass the eye-test when it comes to any sport but man, she’s done a great job. She’s really kept it up and is a young talent as a sophomore. She’s competed very well. Her maturity is outstanding, especially as a sophomore.

“I think she’s got a lot of good competition. There are a couple of girls in our district and area that can give her a run. The thing about Maria, though, is that she’s very competitive. She knows what she’s going to do.”

Ochoa also added that Jimenez’s versatility is what sets her apart from the other athletes.

“It says a lot about the talent that she has,” Ochoa said. “She’s very diverse. She’s a track athlete and she’s very diverse.

“I put her in the 800 meters, she’ll probably win it. She’s truly a sprinter but she can be competitive in anything. She’s very versatile.”

The Lady Panthers’ 1600-meter relay team finished first at district as well, with Jimienez competing alongside Aniya Ramos, Timiris Chadwick and Kei’ausha Williams as they posted a time of 3:57.96.

“We want to make sure that we get our handoffs perfect,” Jimenez said.

>>Follow Michael Bauer on Twitter at OAMichaelba

Odessa, TX

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