Lady Cardinal Caryss Carpenter surpassing goals, setting more in great senior run

Published 12:28 am Tuesday, April 5, 2022

BRIDGE CITY – There is no question that the Bridge City girls track program has been amazing for years.

However, arguably one of the best ones ever to put on spikes is wrapping up what has been a tremendous senior season.

Caryss Carpenter has simply been a young lady on a mission in her last campaign, making her mark in the 100-meter hurdles, the high jump, long jump and triple jump, plus she even finds time to run a relay leg.

“It’s been such an awesome and fun season, and I can’t wait to continue to make progress,” Carpenter said. “I’m the type of person who likes to set goals, chase them and keep making progress and keep beating personal goals. I’m really different this year, too. If I fail, I pick myself up and continue to push myself to be the best I can be, whether it’s at track, but at life as well.”

Carpenter set a new standard for Bridge City last week at the Cardinal Relays in Orangefield, running the 100-meter hurdles in 14.69 seconds, beating the old school-record held by Krista Vicknair, which was 14.89 way back in 1989.

“That felt so great, because I was chasing it,” Carpenter said. “I love the hurdles and I want to consistently run under 15 seconds, because that’s where a lot of times are at when you go to State. I missed out last year because I stumbled. This year my goal was to shake that off and keep dropping my times.”

Carpenter went to State as a freshman in the high jump after she went 5-5 that season. She ended up going 5-2 at State in sloppy weather conditions. Her best jump at a meet was 5-6 at the Bobcat Relays her sophomore year, but after that meet, COVID reared its ugly head and the season was canceled.

She has been hovering around 5-5 mark season. Her 5-5 effort in the high jump and her 14.69 time in the 100-meter hurdles are tops in Southeast Texas this season.

“I felt I had a really good freshman year and couldn’t wait until the sophomore season but that was all wiped out with the pandemic,” Carpenter said. “I had some good moments my junior year, but it just didn’t feel right at times and I know I could have done better. That really pushed me going into this year. My goals are so high and I really push myself to the limit in trying to be the best I can be.”

Lady Cardinal track coach Jamie DeShazo has loved watching Carpenter rise to the occasion, ever since she was a freshman.

DeShazo said Carpenter’s work ethic is top-notch and has been upped this year.

“She’s matured so much, especially in the last year and is such a leader for our program,” the coach said. “She’s great with the younger kids and is so patient with them. I just love, love, love being her coach.”

Carpenter echoed the same sentiments for her coach.

“I can say Coach DeShazo is the best coach I’ve ever had,” said Carpenter. “She knows how to push all of the right buttons and gets the best out of you. That’s her biggest quality. That, and she truly cares so deeply about every kid or person she works with. She’s definitely special.”

And also, Carpenter’s jumping skills can’t be ignored.

She just long-jumped a personal-best 17-7 ½ inches at the Cardinal Relays and has been triple-jumping superbly as well, hovering near and around 36 feet most of the season.

She is just about five inches away from eclipsing another school-record. Kelsey Smith holds the long jump record, going 17-11 in 2015.

“I would so love to go 18 feet, so I’m chasing that one, too, and I would love to get it before I’m done,” said Carpenter. “Hopefully I can get four more opportunities to have a shot at it because I will be going for it.”

Carpenter will continue to hone her track skills after inking a track scholarship with Sam Houston State University.

She will be looking to thrive in something Lady Bearkat coaches are wanting her to do – the heptathlon. The heptathlon features seven events that includes the 100 hurdles, shot put, long jump, high jump, 200 meters, javelin and 800 meters.

“That’s what the coaches there want me to do and I think I’m going to love that challenge,” Carpenter said. “I might not be the greatest in each individual event but I can go for being one of the best all-around. I’ve always liked being in as many events as possible.”

Carpenter’s parents Jill and Roman push her to be the best she can be and are always at every meet possible, offering her so much support.

“My Mom, she’s so awesome and has helped me clear so many hurdles in life,” Carpenter said. “She would jump over every hill and mountain to make sure I’m doing what I’m suppose to be doing. My Dad has pushed me, especially since the eighth grade, to get out there on the track because he thought I was fast and knew I could jump. They have brought me to individual meets in Houston and have paid for private lessons. My grandparents are awesome too. I’m fortunate to have such a great family fan club.”

Carpenter will be taking her skills to Huntsville in the future, but the memories she has made at BCHS are priceless.

She was also part of two straight District 22-4A volleyball champions on teams that went a perfect 24-0 in district play the last two seasons. She was First Team All-District and First Team on the All-Leader Team this past season.

And another thing she is so proud of – she made the Academic All-District Team as well.

“Those volleyball runs were great, especially the one last year, being seniors and all,” said Carpenter. “The friendships and families I have got to know over the years are something I will always cherish. It’s been such a great time. Memories that will last a lifetime for sure.”

The District 22-4A Track & Field Championships are right around the corner. The field event portion starts April 11. And of course, Carpenter has goals.

“I want our team to win the district title and I want to go for 40 points or more,” Carpenter said. “That would be a perfect final district meet.”