Behind a strong relay performance, the Panhandle boys were able to claim the Region I-2A track and field championship for a second year in a row at West Texas A&M University on Friday and Saturday.
The Panthers won two of the three relays starting with the sprint relay to open Saturday. Behind the team Brayson Choate, Cooper Neil, Landon Durst, and West Texas A&M football signee, Landyn Hack, Panhandle took gold and punched a ticket to state thanks to a time of 43.74. The Panthers weren’t done as the 800-meter relay team of Wyatt Brookshire, Neil, Hank Heck and Durst clocked a gold medal time of 1:31.68. Though they didn’t advance to state, the mile relay team still earned key points with a bronze medal time of 3:28.48.
Brayden Freeman of Sanford-Fritch made quite the splash with his great speed to earn a trip to Austin by winning two gold medals. Freeman first blazed a time of 10.59 to win the 100-meter dash. The senior then followed that performance with a 22.05 for a victory in the 200-meter race.
The Stratford brother combination of Luke and Bryce Braden will get to participate at the state track meet together. Luke cleared 6-foot-3 to find the gold medal stand in the high jump while Bryce was flat out impressive uncorking a season best and Texas Panhandle best throw of 178-feet-11 inches to win the discus event.
On the girls side, Panhandle finished second behind regional champion Eldorado.
Like the boys’ team, the Panhandle girls relays were very strong. The 800-meter relay squad of Makennah Austin, Sydney Adee, Grace Sims and Leah Land ran to a 1:44.09 for the first gold. Then in the final race of the day the Ettes defended their mile relay crown behind a tremendous effort from Austin, Land, Sims and Adee by clocking a a season best time of 4:05.62.
The Boys Ranch girls showed up to run on Saturday. The sprint relay team involving Oriana Artz, Dana Beam, Saige Conner and Aletha Usanga, opened the meet with a gold medal winning effort of 50.42. Usanga then showed her top speed running a 12.31 for another gold in the 100-meter dash.
Vega’s Kami Drinnon will head to Austin in two events. The senior took home a pair of silvers in the triple jump (37-feet-11 1/4 inches) and the 100-meter hurdles (15.45), and Gruver made it a sweep in the pole vault event. Pratt McLain is headed back to Austin after clearing 15-feet for another gold as Candace Holland won the girls pole vault clearing 10-feet.
The top two finishers in each event qualify for the UIL Class 2A 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-2A meet please click https://www.spatotrack.us/results/highschool/2023/wtreg/