Panthers send 3 to state track meet

MHS trio of Fey, Songer and Ferrell in Austin looking for medals

Patty Hullett
Mirror correspondent
Maddie Fey

Track Coach Joey Foster says, “Midlothian High School is so proud that we will have two representatives advancing to the U.I.L. Track and Field Tournament in Austin on Friday and Saturday, May 13-14. The winning Panthers are Madeline (“Maddie”) Fey, Gabriel (“Gabe”) Songer, and Jade Ferrell. The trio of athletes will be competing against others in their specialized events from all over the state of Texas.”

Madeline (“Maddie”) Fey

Regional Discus Champ – 170’2 (and 179’9 – Personal Record)

Regional Shot Put Champ – 45’8 (and 46’3 – Personal Record)

Maddie Fey was the State Champ last year (2021) in discus throw, but she was a participant from Southwest High School (near San Antonio) back then. Her family, Billy and Jo Ann Fey, moved to Midlothian last summer, as her mother took over as the Midlothian I.S.D. Superintendent of Schools. Therefore, Maddie (now a Midlothian Panther) captured the Regional titles for discus and shot put last Friday, April 29, at Maverick Stadium in Arlington, on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington.

“I feel much more confident after making it to state for a second time,” Maddie shared. “At the beginning of this year I wasn't sure if I was gonna be able to live up to the successes of my previous track season. After making it though, all my worries washed away.”

This talented sophomore star is dazzling the crowds when she performs, as some of her throws are in the very same zip code as of a lot of the boy competitors. She is amazingly strong and always comes prepared to compete at the highest level.

Maddie’s throwing instructor is 1st year Coach (at MHS) Mallory Hibbert, and her specialties are discus and shot put. Hibbert says, “There are not enough words to express how proud I am as a coach to have two special athletes going to the State track meet soon. There is not a doubt in my mind that Maddie can take the gold medal again in discus, but she also has a great chance in the shot put event this year as well. She is a fierce competitor and a very hard worker”.

Maddie adds, “It's always funny knowing I'm better than most boys. Especially when people don't expect me to be as good as I am. I do have a private throwing coach besides Coach Hibbert at my high school. Dave Wollman is my private coach, he was my mom's college coach at SMU who is now retired and works with several high school athletes in throwing. He communicates with my coach and I on things to work on and practice.”

Coach Hibbert stresses that they will be training in the next two weeks prior to state – just like they have been preparing as before. In particular, they will be working hard on her rhythm and will tweak things in a few places here and there if needed. They will also continue on with their ‘champion mindset’ at practices and carry through with their prayers – as her group has been doing as a throwers’ family this season.

Gabe Songer

Gabriel (“Gabe”) Songer

Regional Runner-Up (2nd) Discus Throw – 170’2 (and 171’2 – Personal Record)

Junior Gabe Songer is heading to Austin for his first trip to a state track event. He was a bit disappointed in his shot put try on Saturday. He made it to the finals from the two groups of competitors, but only the top two advance to state.

Coach Hibbert explains, “When a thrower doesn’t do as expected in one event, there is no shutting down. You have to realize that you see an opportunity staring you in the face and you just seize it! This kiddo has a remarkable drive to want to do better and to achieve his goals. However, every failure is a stepping stone to success, as we learn from it and move forward to strive for greatness!”

Coach Hibbert carries on, “Gabe has his own routine that he uses. He knows his body well and does what it takes to compete. He is extremely analytical and a hard worker – and that’s what makes him so successful. There is definitely more in the tank when it comes to Gabe Songer, and I tell you that everyone better keep an eye on this kiddo!”

Songer expresses, “I hope to be a great competitor compared to many of the flights of athletes that I am bound to face in Austin. I would say that my biggest strength in this event is my consistency. I handle the pressure well by going to big track meets outside of regular school competitions and get more comfortable with even tougher opposition.”

Jade Ferrell

Jade Ferrell

Regional Runner-Up (2nd) High Jump – (and – Personal Record)

The last qualifier for State is high jumper and senior Jade Ferrell. She is 17 years old and has enjoyed track and field competition since her seventh grade. She has spent the last 6 years chasing her dream of winning the high jump. She latched onto that event during her eighth grade year in Junior High.

Jade says, “At first, it was just a kind of hobby to do with my friends, but it turned into my favorite event because it inspired me to do something much more interesting than just running around the track. Now, I truly love competing in high jump.”

She continues, “This will be my first time to go to the State Meet in Austin, but I am feeling more confident about this particular location where I will compete, as I participated earlier this year at the same place. That gives me some added assurance as to how I hope to perform in the State’s biggest track and field spotlight. I’m certainly going to give it all I’ve got.”

Evaluations by Head Track & Field Coach Joey Foster

“I am extremely excited for the Midlothian High School Track & Field Program to have 3 deserving athletes qualify for the U.I.L. 5A State Track Meet this year”, says Joey Foster. “This is actually the most we have had to qualify since my staff and I took over the program in 2015. All three of these fine athletes have a great chance to make it on the podium.”

Foster carries on by explaining, “Gabe Songer is going in ranked as the #5 thrower out of the 8 Boys Discus State qualifiers. Maddie Fey is going in ranked as the #1 Girls 5A Discus Champ and she’s ranked as the #2 female in the Girls Shot Put. This young lady is a super talented athlete and she is only a sophomore. Last, but not least, is Jade Ferrell and she is coming in ranked as the #2 female in the Girls High Jump. It should be a fun trip to Austin this year, as MHS is taking three outstanding competitors that might just surprise some folks. It will be a thrilling wait-and-see kind of 3-day event.”