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Bay City's Mitchell sisters keep it all in the family

By BY MIKE FORMAN - MFORMAN@VICAD.COM
March 8, 2013 at 10 p.m.
Updated March 7, 2013 at 9:08 p.m.

Bay City's Shaniya Mitchell sprints during the Ricebird Relays at Ricebird Stadium in El Campo. Mitchell came in first place in the high jump, long jump, 200-meter dash, and the 800-meter relay.

Solid Gold Ladycats

• Shaniya Mitchell - Long Jump, High Jump, 800-meter relay, 200-meter dash

• Bren'Yae Mitchell - 100-meter dash, 800-meter relay

EL CAMPO - Mary Williams has considered racing her daughters.

The idea isn't as far-fetched as it may seem.

Williams went to the state track and field meet in the high jump during her freshman year at Bay City.

But Williams would still have a challenge on her hands, considering Shaniya Mitchell went to the state meet last year and won a bronze medal in the high jump, and Bren'Yae Mitchell, a freshman, could be the next to earn a trip to Austin.

"They have been athletic in everything," Williams said. "It's something they do. It comes natural."

The Mitchell sisters showcased their abilities Friday at the 49th annual El Campo Ricebird Relays.

Shaniya won the long jump, high jump, 200-meter dash and ran a leg on the winning 800-meter relay.

Bren'Yae arrived late because of cheerleading tryouts but still won the 100-meter dash and ran a leg on the 800 relay.

"I love watching them," Williams said. "I get super excited watching them in any sports."

The Mitchells grew up in Austin and resided in California for three years, before moving back to Bay City in March 2012 to be closer to their family, which includes father Rodney Mitchell, who played football and basketball and participated in track and field at Bay City.

"They're competitive to a point," Williams said. "Not in an ugly way. This one right here, (Bren'Yae) she's very competitive."

Bren'Yae is a self-confessed sports nut who has found a comfort zone on the track.

"I love sports," she said. "They are so fun that I will do anything. Field hockey, lacrosse ... well, swimming, not so much. Track was in my life. I just got on the track and ran."

Shaniya's favorite sport is basketball, even though she already has a state medal in track and field.

"I was surprised, but it really didn't hit me until I walked on the field at the University of Texas," she said. "When I walked on and saw everybody, it just hit me that I'm at state as a freshman."

The most enjoyable part of Shaniya's sophomore season has been the chance to run with her sister.

"It's actually fun," she said. "I've never had the opportunity to run with my sister. She's a smooth runner. She's one who wants to go out there and do it and make everybody look good. She'll fill in spots if she has to. She'll just do anything to win."

With the possible exception of their parents, the sisters are each other's biggest fans.

"When one of us runs, we're there cheering on the sidelines," Bren'Yae said. "When the other one runs, we're there cheering on the sidelines, too."

Williams hopes to be cheering for her daughters at this year's state meet and has already reserved a room in Austin in case they make it.

"I would be crying. I would be happy," Shaniya said. "That would mean it went from my mama, to me, to her. It's like a train for a generation."

NOTES: El Campo won the girls team title with 165 points. Richmond Foster won the boys team title with 177 points.

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