Valley Patriots claims third UIL State Track title in six years

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Valley’s Parker Hartman was a part of the Valley Patriots two gold medal relay teams during the UIL Class 1A State Track and Field Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin on Saturday. [Joe Garcia III/ Press Pass Sports]
AUSTIN- Once again the Valley Patriots are the kings of Class 1A.

For the third time since 2017 Valley took home the UIL Class 1A team championship during the State Track and Field Meet on Saturday night at Mike A. Myers Stadium.

“This is phenomenal,” Valley boys track coach and athletic director John Stanaland said. “We challenged these guys early in the year. We had a successful football season, we had a successful basketball season, and now a great track season. These guys do everything we ask them to do. Everyone contributed and everyone got a point.”

The is a completely different team than the old guard of the great Jake Merrell, Jayton Smith, Dax Allen, Juan Villarreal, Joe Carrera and Adrian Espinoza, that won back-to-back state titles in 2017-2018.

The new generation of Jaxon Edwards, Adrian Valdez, Parker Hartman, Blake Beard and Gunnar Bowles made it a complete team effort to ensure the Patriots were once again on top of the medal stand by night’s end.

Bowles didn’t think his four points of a fourth-place finish in the discus was going to matter at 11 a.m., however, it did.

When the running finals started in the evening, the Patriots then went to work. Valdez, Hartman, Edwards and Beard, set a new school-record in the 400 meter relay with a gold medal time of 43.04. In the 800 meter relay, the same team went back to the gold medal podium with a time of 1:29.68.

Moments after the 800 meter relay, Beard, who ran the third leg of that relay, showed his grit leaving it all on the track in the 400 meter run to score six big points with a bronze medal performance of 50.42.

“I emptied the tank in those back-to-back races,” Beard said. “I just wanted to do whatever I could to help my team win a state championship. I was gassed after it was over, but it was worth it.”

At this point of the meet Valley had 50 points to Cross Plains 34. With Cross plains having a 1600 meter relay team left to go, the Patriots had to lean on Hartman for points in the 200 meter run, and did Hartman ever deliver.

Hartman did just enough by scoring one point with a sixth-place finish that gave Valley 51 points and a 17-point point advantage forcing Cross Plains to have to win the mile relay.

“Coach Stanaland told me what I needed to do,” Hartman said. “I knew there was pressure on me but after those relays I knew I had enough to go out and get at least sixth place. Fortunately I did it.”

Cross Plains put a scare into Valley finishing a close second in the 1600 meter relay, but in the end the Patriots came away with a thrilling one-point win and a third state championship that will last a lifetime.
“We looked up to those studs in 2017-2018,” Beard said. “But it was awesome and an honor to break their record in both the sprint and 800 meter relay. This just feels so good. We can’t wait to get one of those state championship stones in front of the school.”

Stanaland echoed Beard’s comments.

“We’ve had some amazing track teams here at Valley prior to when I got here,” Stanaland said. “But these guys are second to none and I’m just so proud of what they accomplished.”

 

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