ABILENE- The Bushland Lady Falcons and Childress Lady Bobcats both left their mark at the Region I-3A track and field on Friday and Saturday on the campus of Abilene Christian University.
Both Bushland and Childress were able to tie for third place with 60 points behind standout relay performances. Holiday was the Region I-3A team champion with 85 points.
The Bushland sprint relay of Kenley King, Leah Ruthardt, Bayleigh Eason and Jessie Fowler set the tone in the opening race clocking a 48.92 to punch a ticket to the UIL Class 3A state meet for a second straight year. Fowler wasn’t done. The speedy senior, that’s going to run at Utah Tech, then earned a silver in the 100-meter dash and was asked to join the 800-meter relay just this week and help anchor that squad to a silver thanks to a time of 1:44.03.
“This is an amazing feeling,” said Fowler who qualified for state in three events. “Being a senior, this is all I’ve wanted for myself and the team. Coach said I was going on the 800-meter relay this week, so I knew I had to step up for this team. We all just work hard, and it showed. I don’t like to lose.”
In a more unexpected turn, Childress came out of nowhere to get two relays to state along with a magnificent double gold performance in the field events from Taylor Wiseman.
The 800-meter relay squad of Clarissa Gamboa, Chloe Churchill, Kate Taylor and Chloe Carroll, opened eyes by stunning the field running a season-best time of 1:43.55 to get on the gold medal stand and earn a trip to Austin.
“This team stepped up,” Childress girls track coach Kirk Stephens said. “The goal all year was to have our best day at the regional meet. We made some changes to the 800-meter relay putting Clarissa Gamboa, Chloe Churchill and Chloe Carroll on the team. Not one of them ran on this relay at district. They could have ran as individuals but they are for the team and they decided to switch.”
Childress was far from done as the mile relay team of Hailey Holder, Churchill, Taylor and Carroll, set a new school-record by clocking a 4:02.20 to get silver and advance to state.
Wiseman also put Childress in the conversation over the weekend with back-to-back top performances in the shot and discus. The sophomore won her first gold medal in the shot put on Friday with a toss of 41-feet-4 inches. However, on Saturday, Wiseman really opened eyes by uncorking a throw of 150-feet-1 inch for a new personal best to claim gold in the discus.
“Taylor did a fantastic job,” Stephens said. “Taylor has a very high ceiling and a very high work ethic. She’s only going to get better and worked herself into a position to be a prospect at the next level.”
Friona’s Yvonne Legarreta was another local regional champion taking gold in the 3200-meter run with a time of 11:28.89.
Like the Bushland girls sprint relay, the Bushland Falcons sprint relay followed the momentum during the boys action. The four-some of Ivan Soto, Tanner Adams, Tate Butcher and Baylor King, soared to not only a season best time but set a new meet record with a 41.76 to grab a spot at state and win a gold medal.
“I’m so proud of these guys,” Butcher said. “We’ve been working hard for this and now it’s time to go to Austin and take what is ours.”
Canadian’s Preston Miller is also headed to the UIL Class 3A state meet after a superb outing in the field events. On Friday, the talented junior leaped 22-feet-9 1/4 inches for his first gold medal of the weekend in the long jump. Miller followed that by breaking his own school record and earning his second gold with a leap of 45-feet-1 3/4 inches to win the triple jump.
“I’m very proud of Preston,” Canadian track coach Morgan Brady said. “He didn’t start of great early but got into the finals on both days. He nailed his last jump to win the triple which was exciting. He does a lot of events, and we depend on him a lot, so I’m just thrilled he gets a chance to go compete in Austin.’
The top two finishers in each event qualify for the UIL Class 3A state track meet set for May 11-13 at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. For a look at the full results from the Region I-3A meet please click https://live.athletic.net/meets/24303