The Melissa Lady Cardinals track team traveled to Prosper on Feb. 28 for the 16th annual Dan Christie Relays. Each year the meet features some of the top Class 4A and 5A track programs in Collin County and beyond.

This year the meet also featured some of the top 3A programs as returning state champion Frisco Lone Star joined perennial 3A powerhouses Celina and Argyle. Though short-handed, the Melissa Lady Cards finished eighth behind schools from Plano, Denton and Prosper.

"We didn’t bring any of our distance runners to the meet and that usually gets us some points," Melissa Coach Michael Bardgett said. "Additionally we had a lot of girls running in their first high school track meet against some stiff competition. So I’m really proud of where we finished."

Complicating things further for Melissa is the fact that the boys and girls track teams are practicing this year without any track facilities. Cardinal Stadium is currently in demolition mode to make way for the new football and track stadium which is scheduled to be completed by the summer.

"It’s a challenge every day for both teams," Bardgett said. "Right now we’re running on our football practice field which works out okay until you have to work relay handoffs, hurdles and field events; things that you just need a track to practice. This was our first meet of the year, so the fact that we managed to stay in our lanes is impressive enough."

Scoring for the Lady Cardinals were:

Bridie Burchett, who placed sixth in discus with a new personal best throw in her first meet of the season.

Sophie Bennett ran a personal best time in the 800, placing sixth.

Freshman Maddie Kane placed fourth in the 300 hurdles in her first high school meet, narrowly missing the school record.

Freshman Karrington Lewis placed fourth in the 100 and 200. Her 200 meter time was enough to break a seven-year-old school record. She might have broken the school record in the 100, as well, but the meet inadvertently had the girls run 110 meters.

Capping off the meet and the scoring for the Lady Cards was the mile relay team of Lewis, Emily Bates, Kane and Bennett, which placed second to 5A Denton Guyer and also narrowly missed setting the school record from 2013. The Lady Cardinals time of 4:08.39 ranks as the fastest 4x400 time in the state for 3A so far this year.

"I’m really impressed by how those two freshmen – Maddie and Karrington – handled themselves," Bardgett said. "After seeing them run in middle school, I knew they were talented, but I wasn’t sure how hard they would work to be good. But now, seeing them work every day in practice I have no doubt that they have what it takes to be really good. Their races today were a byproduct of their work ethic.

"With those times they are probably ranked top two or three in the region for their events with legitimate shots at state. They are also great additions to our mile relay team which finished two spots away from state last year and has already basically eclipsed their time from the regional meet. Overall it was a great start to the year."

The Lady Cardinals will next be in action on Thursday at the Anna Coyote Invitational.