Panhandle Ettes claim share of UIL Class 2A track championship, Stratford’s Bryce Braden wins gold, wheelchair athletes impress


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The Panhandle team of Leah Land, from left, Makenna Austin, Grace Sims and Sydney Adee, helped the Ettes to a share of the UIL Class 2A state championship on Friday night at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. [Joe Garcia III/ Press Pass Sports]
AUSTIN- In one of the more improbable performances the Panhandle Ettes claimed a three-way share of the UIL Class 2A state championship with only four athletes competing in two races under the bright lights of Mike A. Myers Stadium.

Thanks to the foursome of Makenna Austin, Sydney Adee, Grace Sims, and Leah Land, Panhandle was able to nab two silver medals in the 800-meter and 1600-meter relays to score 32 points tying Refugio and Stamford for the state title. It’s the Ettes second state championship in the past three years after a runner-up finish last season.

Panhandle’s Leah Land sprints down the back stretch to help the Ettes to a silver medal in the 800-meter relay on Friday night. [Joe Garcia III/ Press Pass Sports]
Austin, Adee, Sims and Land won their first 16 points and silver medal by running a season best time of 1:43.43 in the 800-meter relay event. In the nights final race, the same foursome running in the order of Austin, Land, Sims and Adee, clocked a season top time of 4:01.07 for their other 16 points to tie for the state championship.

Stratford’s Bryce Braden won the only gold medal involving Texas Panhandle athletes on Friday. [Joe Garcia III/ Press Pass Sports]

Stratford’s Braden wins Texas Panhandle’s lone gold 

In what was a tame Friday in medal count for Texas Panhandle athletes, Stratford sophomore Bryce Braden won the lone gold medal for the entire Amarillo-area between Class 5A and Class 2A.

Braden, the standout quarterback and linebacker for the Stratford football team, won the Class 2A discus event with a launch of 168-feet-10 inches on his final throw. Braden clinched the title on his fourth throw when he tossed a 165-7. Braden’s brother, Luke, was also competing in the state meet in the Class 2A high jump finishing fourth clearing 6-foot-4 inches.

In another note, coach David Lantelme has been the throwing and high jump coach for 13 years at Stratford and has taken an athlete to the state meet all 13 years.

Tascosa’s Kendra Murray won a bronze medal in the wheelchair shot put event on Friday. [Joe Garcia III/ Press Pass Sports]

Wheelchair athletes impress 

The Texas Panhandle had an unprecedented six wheelchair athletes competing in various events on Friday with two earning spots on the medal stand.

Tascosa’s Kendra Murray made history in more ways than one. In her first year competing in the wheelchair shot put, Murray put her name in the record books by becoming the first Amarillo ISD wheelchair athlete to not only throw at the UIL state track and field championships, but also medal at the event. Murray’s last throw was her best throw as the senior tossed out a 16-0 1/4 that earned her a bronze medal.

Randall’s Tahlie Brandt won two bronze medals on Friday night at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. [Joe Garcia III/ Press Pass Sports]
Not to be outshined, Randall’s wheelchair star Tahlie Brandt left Austin with a handful of hardware. The Freshman took home a pair of bronze medals in the 100-meter and 400-meter races. Brandt clocked a time of 21.32 to earn third in the 100-meter. Brandt then set a new season best mark of 1:23.16 in the 400-meter to gain another bronze medal.

Amarillo High’s Gracee May gets set to handoff to Keely Harper during the Class 5A 1600-meter relay on Friday night. [Joe Garcia III/ Press Pass Sports]

Amarillo ISD brings strong effort 

Amarillo ISD had a strong showing between the Amarillo High Lady Sandies and Tascosa’s Ke’Mauri Pinkard.

The AHS mile relay team of Gracee May, Keely Harper, Madyson Castellion and Sierra Cornell, placed fourth in the 1600-meter relay event, however, set a new school record with a Texas Panhandle best time of 3:51.51. Cornell also ran in the 800-meter run placing seventh (2:16.06).

Tascosa’s Ke’Mauri Pinkard ended his high school career on a high note as he was able to climb from fifth to second place and earn a silver medal in the triple jump with a leap 48-10 1/2 on his fifth attempt. Pinkard was also in the long jump placing fifth (22-3 3/4).

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