Category: Track & field

ALL-BIG COUNTRY PREPS DREAM MEET: Boys field

While the UIL state track meet provides a fun and exciting end to the high school track season every year, giving the best athletes in each part of the state an opportunity to compete against the other top athletes in their classification, we here at Big Country Preps weren’t quite ready to say goodbye to the sport.

After adding track and field to our coverage for the 2020-21 school year, we’ve decided to end our season with the inaugural All-Big Country Preps Dream Track Meet.

As with our All-Big Country Preps teams for other sports, our Dream Meet is our way of honoring some of best athletes the Big Country had to offer this past school year. But our concept for this is just a little bit different.

Instead of being presented as a team, we’re treating this like a meet with an area-wide field in each event. There are no distinctions made for classification, just a collection of the top performers from across the BCP coverage area. 

Without further ado, we present our first All-Big Country Preps Dream Meet boys field. We hope you enjoy reading through our selections.

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ALL-BIG COUNTRY PREPS DREAM MEET: Girls field

While the UIL state track meet provides a fun and exciting end to the high school track season every year, giving the best athletes in each part of the state an opportunity to compete against the other top athletes in their classification, we here at Big Country Preps weren’t quite ready to say goodbye to the sport.

After adding track and field to our coverage for the 2020-21 school year, we’ve decided to end our season with the inaugural All-Big Country Preps Dream Track Meet.

As with our All-Big Country Preps teams for other sports, our Dream Meet is our way of honoring some of best athletes the Big Country had to offer this past school year. But our concept for this is just a little bit different.

Instead of being presented as a team, we’re treating this like a meet with an area-wide field in each event. There are no distinctions made for classification, just a collection of the top performers from across the BCP coverage area. 

Without further ado, we present our first All-Big Country Preps Dream Meet girls field. We hope you enjoy reading through our selections.

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FEATURE: Goldthwaite’s Bartek is not a typical three-sport state qualifier

Photos by Brandon Bartek and Ashley Spradley 

If one high school has one male that qualified for state in three different sports — all within the same academic year — most people would expect the guy to be 6 feet and 180 pounds.

Meet Goldthwaite sophomore Connor Bartek, a state qualifier in cross country last fall, plus track and golf this spring. He stands 5 feet tall and weighs just under 100 pounds. In cross country last fall, Bartek qualified for state for the second consecutive year and finished 11th individually in Class 2A.

In track, Bartek finished fourth in the 2A 3,200 meters Friday, May 7, and his time of 10 minutes, 12.77 seconds broke a 35-year-old Goldthwaite school record.

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STATE TRACK ROUNDUP (Day 3): Cross Plains boys, girls top Big Country teams on Day 3

With a a combined six boys and girls relay teams heading to Austin, backed by a loud contingent of fans, Cross Plains entered the 2021 UIL State Track and Field Meet feeling as though it had a shot to win two team state championships. Or at the very least, team bronze or silver. 

It just didn’t happen. 

Finishing in fifth place in both the girls and boys 1,600-meter relays, the exhausted Buffaloes were edged off the team medal stand with two fourth-place finishes. They were, nonetheless, the top boys and girls team performers among all Big Country Class 1A participants on Saturday, earning a combined total of four relay medals (two each).

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STATE TRACK ROUNDUP (Day 2): Vancleave wins discus state title at the last possible moment

How many of you once dreamed of hitting a game-winning homerun or shooting the game-winning shot to win a championship?

Hamlin senior Jenna Vancleave experienced the track and field equivalent of the same dream on Friday in Austin, only she had an even greater sense of urgency.

Not only did Vancleave win the girls 2A discus state title on the final throw of the competition at the state meet, but she did it on what she knew would be the final throw of her career. Her performance shares the spotlight with Wylie’s Kylor Aguilar, who took gold in the boys 5A pole vault. 

“I just came in hoping for the best,” Vancleave said. “It was all in God’s hands.

“I was very nervous. My stomach hurt so bad, but my coaches talked to me and calmed me down. They were like, ‘You’ve just got to throw. Let it loose and relax.’ So I took that advice and and apparently it worked.” 

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STATE TRACK ROUNDUP: Cameron pulls off stunning performance, Brock boys win team title

Not since way back in 1982 had any girl wearing a Stephenville uniform clocked a 100-meter dash any faster than Victoria Cameron did on Thursday. 

She picked the right time to do it — ripping through the girls 4A 100 meters in a blazing 11.48 seconds to capture gold at the UIL State Track and Field Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium. 

Cameron’s effort not only obliterated her previous personal best of 11.85, but it also smashed a 39-year-old school record of 11.70 and left race favorite Kaylee Lewis of Melissa with a distant second-place finish of 11.78. 

Lewis did come back for a measure of revenge, edging Cameron for gold in the 200. But Cameron’s gold-silver combination still stood as one of the top highlights for athletes in the Big Country Preps coverage area on Day 1, which also saw the Brock boys capture a 3A team championship.

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FEATURE: Ballinger senior Vaughn relishing stretch run of injury-filled high school career

As a four-sport lettermen in his three years at Ballinger — and a freshman standout at Brady before that — Tyler Vaughn has been an impact athlete throughout his high school athletic career.

But with each of his last three years being derailed by significant injuries, Vaughn’s career has been marked by inevitable questions of what might have been had he been blessed with better luck.

Now serving as DH for the Bearcat baseball team after undergoing surgery in late January to repair a torn labrum, Vaughn isn’t focused on what wasn’t, however. With his team preparing for a bi-district series against District 5-3A champion Reagan County this weekend, and a college career at Howard Payne to look forward to after this school year, the Ballinger senior is devoting his energy to making the most of what remains of his time in a BHS uniform.

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FEATURE: Anson’s Reagan Jones excels in classroom and athletics

For Anson girls athletic director Ryan Dollar, there’s never been a student-athlete in his career that’s quite like Reagan Jones.

Calling her “smart, athletic and friendly” was just the starting point as Jones is in the middle of a week that’s included two berths in UIL state meets and seen her lead the Lady Tigers softball team into the second round of the playoffs.

It’s not just Dollar that feels that way about the junior, either.

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EVAN REN: Handicapping the boys state track meet.

Having already released our picks for the girls state track meet earlier this evening, we now present the boys event, using the same approach. 

We’ll comb through each event involving a Big Country athlete (or athletes) and assess if they are favorites, dark horses or long shots to get on the medal stand. 

Let’s not waste any time. Let’s dive in. 

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EVAN REN: Picking the favorites, dark horses and longshots at the girls state track meet

I don’t care who you are — even if you’re a non-fan when it comes to track and field. 

The excitement of the state meet in Austin will capture your attention if you catch sight or sound of it. It’s inescapable. 

And once per year, it is my pleasure to examine the multitude of Big Country athletes heading to Austin for the event and pick who we can expect to see on the medal stand from our area. 

Let’s begin with the girls side, looking at each event in which a Big Country athlete has qualified for state. 

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FEATURE: Wylie’s Aguilar perseveres through injuries to break vaulting records

Two-plus years of effectively handling adversity and injuries paid off in a big way for Wylie senior Kylor Aguilar at the recent Region I-5A track and field meet.

Completely healthy for the first time since his freshman season in 2018, Aguilar cleared 16 feet, 3 inches on April 23 in Lubbock. His vault broke the Region I-5A meet record, the Wylie school record and Aguilar’s personal record.

“To be honest, no, I didn’t sense something like that was going to happen,” Aguilar said of his record-setting day. “There was supposed to be some bad crosswinds, so going in, I was just trying to qualify for state.”

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FEATURE: Stephenville sprinter Cameron hoping to keep streak going at state

Victoria Cameron hasn’t been beaten to the finish line this year in the 100 and 200.  

That the Stephenville sophomore is undefeated in the sprints heading into Thursday’s Class 4A state meet isn’t a surprise to Cameron’s coach.  

Jeremiah Butchee has worked with plenty of prolific track athletes during his career. What makes Cameron special is that she has one of the best starts out of the blocks Butchee has ever seen.  

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FEATURE: Hamlin bids farewell to an old friend

Photos courtesy of Gary Ford

HAMLIN — The first time Charlie Shira sat behind a microphone to work PA at Hamlin High School, Ronald Reagan was President, “Dallas” was the top-rated show on television and the Space Shuttle had yet to get off a launch pad. 

That’s a long time ago. 

Some four decades later, Shira was honored prior to Tuesday’s Hamlin baseball game with Forsan in a brief ceremony to commemorate his years of service to HHS and to acknowledge his retirement from PA announcing. 

It brought to a close a career that included 40 years of track, 30 years of baseball and 25 years of football as the “Voice of the Pipers.” 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Clyde’s Phillips earns this week’s spotlight

In a week filled with unforgettable moments, several of our nominees handed in by area coaches could justifiably be called our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week. 

We finally settled on Clyde sophomore Payton Phillips, who stunned attendees at the Region I-3A meet by taking gold in both the long jump (18 feet, 6 inches) and the 100 hurdles (15.12) — breaking school records that were 25 and 15 years old, respectively. 

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CLASS 1A REGIONAL TRACK RECAP: Cross Plains boys, girls have big showing in San Angelo

The Cross Plains girls and boys track teams topped the list of Big Country teams competing at LeGrand Stadium in the Region II-1A meet on Friday and Saturday. 

Fueled by wins in the 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter relay teams , the Cross Plains girls (60 points) earned a second-place finish behind regional champion Irion County (71.33). 

Cross Plains’ Addison Long, Tori Taylor, Abbigale Shepard and Katie Goins combined for gold in both the 400 and 800 relays.  Cadence Wediking joined Long, Shepard and Goins for the win in the 4×400. 

Other top area teams included Munday and Blackwell, which tied for fourth in the 30-team field, along with Roby, which finished sixth. 

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REGION IV-2A TRACK RECAP: San Saba, Goldthwaite combine for six medals, four state bids

KINGSVILLE — Despite being the only two schools representing the Big Country Preps coverage area in the Region IV-2A track meet, both San Saba and Goldthwaite had their share of highlights Friday and Saturday at Texas A&M-Kingsville.

Both schools had athletes earn state meet berths, with San Saba claiming two gold medals and a silver and Goldthwaite earning a silver and two bronzes.

Both San Saba squads earned top-10 team finishes as the boys placed seventh with 26 points the girls took eighth with 28 points. The Goldthwaite boys, meanwhile, finished eighth with 24 points, while the girls were 11th with 20 points.

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REGION I-2A TRACK RECAP: Three Coleman athletes, Forsan’s Nelson headed to state

CANYON — With only one area district in Region I-2A, the Big Country didn’t have a huge contingent of athletes at the regional meet Friday and Saturday at West Texas A&M. But that didn’t keep the area from making an impact.

Coleman jumper Devinar Roberson claimed a pair silver medals to earn state berths in the high jump and triple jump on the boys side, while three area girls earned four spots at the state meet next month in Austin.

Coleman’s Abbi Allen claimed two of those, finishing second in the high jump and long jump, while teammate Jordan Rae took silver in the triple jump and Forsan thrower Aleena Nelson earned the area’s only gold medal in the shotput.

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REGION I-4A TRACK RECAP: Stephenville’s Cameron, Big Spring boys duo headline strong area showing

LUBBOCK — Big Country athletes accounted for 16 medals and clinched eight berths to the state track meet over the weekend at the Region I-4A meet Lowrey Field.

Area athletes claimed four gold medals, four silvers and eight bronzes during a strong all-around showing by the Big Country’s representatives Friday and Saturday.

Headlining the effort on the girls side was Stephenville sprinter Victoria Cameron, who swept the girls 100 and 200 meters, running the former in 12.12 seconds and the latter in a personal-best time of 24.81 to win the event by almost a second over Argyle’s Ja’Liyah Patterson (25.70).

On the boys side, the area’s gold medals came from Big Spring discus thrower Braxton Pearson (personal-best 160 feet, 1 inch) and Big Spring high jumper Kyler Seymore (personal-best 6-6).

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REGION I-5A/I-6A RECAP: AHS triple jumper Ebengo, Wylie pole vaulter Aguilar headed to state

Two local athletes are headed to the UIL state meet after earning gold medals at their respective regional meets this week.

Abilene High’s Perside Ebengo is headed to Austin for the 6A meet after winning the triple jump at the Region I-6A meet in Arlington, while Wylie’s Kylor Aguilar earned his second state meet appearance with a gold medal in the pole vault at the Region I-5A meet in Lubbock.

The state berths highlighted a solid regional showing by Abilene’s three public high schools, each of which had athletes place to earn points in the team standings.

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REGION I-3A TRACK DAY 2: Brock sweeps team titles, Big Country fares well at 1-3A meet

For years now, the Region I-3A title in most sports has gone through the Brock Eagles.

Now, you can add track and field to that list as well.

The Brock boys and girls swept the team titles at the Region I-3A track meet Saturday at Abilene Christian University’s Elmer Gray Stadium, claiming their first region title on both sides to headline a strong day all around for athletes in the Big Country Preps coverage area.

In all, area athletes and relay teams claimed 35 medals and 26 state meet berths on the meet’s second day, adding to that which was accomplished on Day 1 on Friday.

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REGION I-3A TRACK DAY 1: Clyde enjoys double gold on first day of meet

ABILENE — While there is still much to be decided in the Region I-3A meet at Abilene Christian University, at least two Clyde Bulldogs can rest assured that their tickets to Austin have already been punched. 

Payton Phillips, a sophomore girls long jumper and Jacob Roberts, a senior boys high jumper, both claimed regional gold on Friday, clinching a berth in the UIL State Track and Field Meet on May 6-8 at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. 

The pair was part of a group of several athletes from the Big Country Preps coverage area to lock up trips to state. Wall’s Tate Williams and Brock’s Nathan Jones had already finished 1-2 in the boys’ shotput  earlier in the day, shortly after Kylee Willis of Breckenridge had claimed silver in the girls high jump.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Escalon takes this week’s accolade

Our Big Country Preps Player of the Week for the Week ending April 17 could have only been better had he thrown a no-hitter. 

Breckenridge freshman Camden Escalon came within one hit of a no-no on Saturday in an 18-0 rout of Wichita Falls City view. 

Along the way he fanned 10 hitters against only two walks to improve his personal record to 2-0 on the year. 

As a team Breckenridge enters this week at 13-6 and 6-3 in district play. 

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FEATURE: Pandemic couldn’t halt progress for Jim Ned sophomore Saling

His favorite sport was on hiatus. His freshman track season was on the verge of being canceled before it even really began.

But that didn’t keep Jim Ned’s Chris Saling from pounding the asphalt once a week, timer in hand.

When the UIL halted athletics last spring because of COVID, Saling still made it out to the track on days the Indians had meets scheduled. He detailed his progress in the 400, 800 and 3,200 meters by recording his times and sending them to coach Dustin Todd. 

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FEATURE: May’s Reese Chambers seeking return to state in sprints

The present and the future will intersect this week for Reese Chambers.

The May senior will compete in the sprint races at the Region II-1A track and field meet at San Angelo. This is the week in which Chambers can qualify for next month’s UIL state meet after finishing fifth in the 100 meters and ninth as a member of the 400-meter relay at state as a sophomore in 2019.

The top two finishers in each event at regional guarantee themselves a spot in the UIL Class 1A state meet on May 8 in Austin.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Wylie senior Aguilar vaults way to honor

Kylor Aguilar’s high school athletic career has been filled with obstacles, but after beginning it with such promise as a state silver medalist as a freshman, the Wylie pole vaulter is on track to finish it in style.

Aguilar, who had his sophomore season derailed by a rare bone disorder and had his junior season shortened by the COVID-19 stoppage, is having his best high school season to date as a senior.

And after vaulting a career best 15 feet, 9 inches at the District 4-5A meet in Lubbock, he’s our Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week for the week ending April 10.

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FEATURE: Sweetwater multi-sport star Foster finds stride on track as one of area’s top hurdlers

To trace the origin of Harrison Foster’s breakout in track, one must look back months ago to Sweetwater’s football season.

Foster emerged as a key player for the district champion Mustangs, catching 10 touchdowns and becoming the team’s second-leading tackler on defense.

“The success I had during the football season brought me with more confidence, and I started believe that I can do more than I thought I could,” Foster said. “With the success we had during football, it brought our team a lot closer. Especially with all the multi-sport athletes, those relationships can carry over and start us off on a good note.”

Foster’s 2020-21 athletic season has a chance to end on a great note as the junior is one of the Big Country’s top hurdlers. Foster owns the area’s top time in the 300-meter hurdles (39.96) and has also run a sizzling 15.12 in the 110 hurdles.

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FEATURE: With focus solely on track, Brock’s Torrye Tyler now a threat in the 800 and 400

Photos by Tommy Hays Photography in Brock

Eleventh-year Brock girls’ track coach Keith Shoush always wanted to see what Torrye Tyler could do in the 800 meters.

“Torrye was a Division I recruit in basketball, and the team was always making a deep run in the playoffs,” Shoush said. “I never had her for longer than spring break to the district meet as far as choosing events. We didn’t try the 800 because we didn’t have time to get her in shape for it.”

Until this year.

Tyler, a senior, made a tough decision to stop playing basketball and focus solely on track. With more time to train, Tyler leads the Big Country in all classifications in the 800 meters with a best time of 2 minutes, 19.75 seconds.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Aspermont junior takes this week’s award

A strained hip may have slowed Aspermont junior Sadie Gentry, but you’d never know it by watching her compete. 

A week ago, Gentry took gold in the high jump (4-8) and the 400 meters (63.8) at the District 15-1A meet. She then helped the 400- and 1,600-meter relay teams take district titles as in 52.9 and 4:33, respectively.

Her four district titles were more than sufficient to earn her our Capital Farm Credit Player of the Week/BCP Player of the Week award for the week ending April 3. But when you add the fact that she was nursing a sore hip and following orders to not overdo it, her performance becomes even more significant. 

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FEATURE: Albany’s Chapman on track despite loss of 2020 season

Photos courtesy of Albany High School student Elia Hebel

No 2020 track and field season. No problem in 2021 for Albany sophomore Cole Chapman.

Some athletes feel like they lost a year’s development after COVID-19 prematurely shut down the 2020 spring sports season. But Chapman appears to be on schedule. His top triple jump mark of 43 feet, 7 inches led the Big Country through last week’s track meets, and his best of 21-7 in the long jump ranked No. 2.

He contributes a lot of his success this spring to working on Saturdays with Albany assistant coach Ryder Peacock, a former state champion high jumper from Woodson who also competed collegiately.

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FEATURE: Anson’s Gallentine crashes through the 40-foot barrier in shot put

Meadow Gallentine felt confident before last week’s District 10-2A Meet.  

But even the Big Country’s top thrower was a little surprised when she surpassed the 40-feet mark, reaffirming her chances of making a trip to Austin next month.  

“When I hit 40 feet, it was such a surreal feeling,” Gallentine said. “I couldn’t believe it. I remember telling my teammates that I had it in me to throw 40 at that meet.”  

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