AUSTIN- Follett made the most of the school’s first ever relay appearing under the thousands of fans and pressure that Mike A. Myers presents at the UIL Class 1A state track and field championships on Saturday.
Running in Austin for the first time ever, the 1600-meter relay team of Julian Barton, Jayden Watson, Eugenio Chavez and Shayne Franks, didn’t show any nerves, breaking down the doors of history by running toward the gold medal stand with a time of 3:29.36.
Watson had a very strong first leg, followed by Watson and Chavez that kept Follett right at the top, and Franks was able to take the stick on the final 400-meters and bring the gold home to Follett.
“It feels amazing,” Watson said. “We’ve never had a relay ever make it to state. It feels like us seniors really accomplished something. I was able to leadoff and stayed with the guy in front of me. We just were able to keep that lead and our middle guys made up ground on Garden City.”
Franks echoed Watson’s comments.
“I just wanted to maintain the lead where they couldn’t catch up,” Franks said. “This just feels amazing, and I can’t believe it.”
Barton didn’t just medal in the mile relay. Opening Saturday morning in the pouring rain, Barton fought off the elements to win a silver medal in the 3200-meter run with a time of 10:11.63.
Nazareth Swiftettes finish second place in team standings
Thanks to two relays earning spots on the medal stand and Chloe Birkenfield getting points with a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter run, the Nazareth Swiftettes were able to tally 40 points for a runner-up finish behind UIL Class 1A state champion Roby on Saturday.
The Swiftettes scored 36 of those points behind two strong relay performances. The highlight was definitely the 1600-meter relay team of Tatum Peterson, Chloe Birkenfield, Maddie Brockman, and Caroline Myrick. That foursome ran a time of 4:09.47 beating Roby’s mile relay by three seconds to win a gold medal in the always most anticipated race of the night.
Earliler in the night, the Nazareth 800-meter relay squad of Clementine Myrick, Peterson, Brockman and Caroline Myrick, scored 16 points with a silver medal time of 1:47.89. Birkenfeld’s fourth place finish of 1:00.11 in the 400-meter was also clutch getting the Swiftettes four more points that help solidify second place as a team.
A Francis family affair
Francis is a household name in Silverton and now it’s becoming a household name at the UIL Class 1A state track and field meet.
The sister combination of Maddie and Brenna Francis, along with their cousin Sawyer all won medals on Saturday.
Maddie was the highlight of the day earning a gold medal in the 300-meter hurdles as she blazed to a time of 46.96. Her sister, Brenna, won two bronze medals. Brenna took home her first bronze on Saturday afternoon in the long jump (16-2 1/2), and then won another bronze in the triple jump with a leap of 35-3 1/2.
Sawyer then capped off the stellar night for the family by getting a silver medal in the 110-meter hurdles by clocking a 14.72.
Hudson and Byrd end stellar high school careers on medal stand
Miami’s Anna Hudson and Wildorado’s Makenna Byrd both wrapped up unbelievable high school careers with superb performances in their final appearance at the UIL Class 1A state meet.
The highly decorated Hudson wasn’t able to three-peat in the 100 or 200-meter races, however, Hudson did leave with two silver medals. Hudson missed out on gold by a tenth of a second in the 100-meter dash by clocking a 12.60 right behind Loop’s Kamryn Dyck (12.59) for her first silver of the night. Later, Hudson just missed another gold medal by running a 26.26 to finish second behind Alliyah Harrison’s of Veribest (25.90). Hudson ends her storied Texas Panhandle career as one of the best to ever wear a Miami uniform finishing with eight medals in three years.
Like Hudson, Byrd is no stranger to running on the fast track of Mike A. Myers Stadium. The former gold medal winner ended her high school career with an outstanding effort in the 100-meter hurdles by grabbing a silver medal with a time of 15.66. Byrd has set the bar high at Wildorado leaving with six medals over three years.
Claude’s Holland and Lee win gold medals
Andi Holland and Javon Lee put Claude on the map as both left Austin with heavy hardware on Saturday afternoon.
After a silver medal performance last season, Holland was back and motivated for gold and she was able to claim it. Holland made this year count by clearing 5-feet-2 inches to win her first gold medal.
Lee displayed his speed in the evening session by outrunning the field to win the 100-meter dash by clocking an 11.12 holding off Roby’s Jordan Daniel by two tenths of a second to capture his first ever gold medal.
Valley gets on medal stand
Though the Valley Patriots didn’t repeat as UIL Class 1A state team champions, it was a site to see this relay squad get back on the medal stand.
The team of Brayson Cruse, Parker Hartman, Adrian Valdes, and Blake Beard will get to go home with a medal once again claiming bronze in the 800-meter relay with a time of 1:32.08.
It’s been a long year for the Valley boys’ athletic program as the Patriots have battled through injuries over the past eight months. There was no sweeter joy for a comeback than senior Blake Beard who ran the anchor leg of the 800-meter relay. Beard broke his fibula during fall workouts in August and was able to make it back in time to run track in the spring.
Bressler leaves Austin a Happy Cowboy
Happy’s Hayes Bressler made the most of his first opportunity competing at the UIL state track and field championships.
Bressler had to fight through starting the pole vault event, then waiting through a near three-hour rain delay, before getting to vault again but the sophomore came off unphased clearing 12-feet-6 inches to win a silver medal.