Strong team efforts lead to Region I-2A titles for Panhandle girls and Gruver boys

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Panhandle’s Leah Land celebrates after helping her mile relay team to a gold medal during the Region I-2A track and field meet at WTAMU on Saturday. [Joe Garcia III/ Press Pass Sports]
It may have been unseasonably cold, but in no way did that hamper Panhandle’s parade on Saturday as the Ettes stood behind a complete team effort to claim the Region I-2A team championship at a packed house on the campus of West Texas A&M.

When it was all said and done, the Ettes stacked up 90 points for the team title beating second-place Ozona (62) by 28 points.

As it’s been all year, the Ettes relays were once again dominant and that showed in a big-time way as Panhandle scored 60 of those 90 points by sweeping the sprint relay, 800-meter relay and the 1600-meter relay.

The fearsome foursome of Ell Robinson, Carly Land, Makennah Austin, and Leah Land, put the region on notice to open the meet sprinting to the gold medal stand behind a 48.48 almost two seconds better than silver medalist Ozona’s 50.00.

The same happened in the 800-meter relay this time of Austin, Riley Segura, Lexi Durst, and Leah Land, that won a second gold clocking a 1:44.83.

The Panhandle mile relay team celebrates after winning a gold medal during the Region I-2A track and field meet on Saturday. [Joe Garcia III/ Press Pass Sports]
The hat-trick then came on the days final race. Panhandle’s Austin, Carly Land, Seguara, and Leah Land brought home the third gold with a winning time of 3:59.16.

“We talked about having a good day to start off on Friday,” Panhandle head coach Corby Maurer said. “We then wanted to be great on Saturday. I think that this team did a nice job of that. This is a grind, but they embraced it. Leah was solid all day at the anchor spot. She increased our lead a couple of times and had to go take the lead in the mile. Leah and Makennah Austin have state experience that will be invaluable for us in a couple of weeks. We still have a lot of work to do but this was an exciting day.”

Carly, the sensational freshman, earned Panhandle 18 big points in two other events. On Friday, Carly claimed a silver medal by clearing 10-feet-6 in the pole vault. However, on Saturday on top of her relay performances, Carly gave fans a treat that haven’t seen her race by winning the 300-meter hurdle event thanks to a 43.15.

Clarendon’s Madilyn Benson won the gold medal in the 800-meter race on Saturday. [Joe Garcia III/ Press Pass Sports]

Girls Amarillo-area gold medal winners 

On Friday, Sunray’s Mia Gray punched a ticket back to state as the star thrower went double gold in the shot put and discus events. Gray tossed a 41-2 for gold in the shot followed by a 133-9 to win the discus.

Gruver’s Candace Holland won the pole vault event and another trip to Austin by clearing 10-9 on Friday.

Clarendon’s Madilyn Benson ran an impressive 800-meter race clocking a gold medal time of 2:25.71 to qualify for state.

Isabella Jaime of Farwell ran a 59.73 to edge Sterling City’s Molly McPherson for a gold medal in the 400-meter race.

Michael McCloy helped the Gruver Greyhounds to a Region I-2A team championship on Friday and Saturday. [Joe Garcia III/ Press Pass Sports]
In another complete team effort from start to finish, the Gruver Greyhounds used every point where it counted to win the Region I-2A team championship holding off Plains by four points.

Gruver totaled 58 points between Friday and Saturday as the Cowboys scored 54.

University of Alabama commit, Pratt McLain, leaped 15-6 in to win the pole vault and the sprint relay team got fifth for key points. Though he didn’t medal, Saul De Santiago getting fourth place in the 100-meter dash gave Gruver a key four points.

Then there’s Michael McCloy. McCloy has arguably been Gruver’s MVP this postseason and he was once again at the regional meet.

The senior qualified for state in three events and ended regionals scoring 26 points individually.

McCloy made his mark in the 300-hurdles winning his lone gold medal with a superb time of 39.49. Earlier Saturday, McCloy took a silver in the 110-hurdles (15.52) and on Friday won silver to his teammate and cousin Pratt McLain in the pole vault at 15-feet-6 inches.

“It was awesome seeing things come into place for us,” Gruver head coach Steven Livingston said. “We picked up enough points in everything that qualified. The sprint relay moved up two spots, Michael came through big in the hurdles and it gave us just enough. I couldn’t be prouder of how these guys competed and supported each other.”

Wellington’s DeMarcus Lewis won the 200-meter race on Saturday afternoon. [Joe Garcia III/ Press Pass Sports]

Boys Amarillo-area gold medal winners 

Wellington’s DeMarcus Lewis had a big afternoon bringing home two gold medals. Lewis blazed to a time of 22.45 to win the 200-meter event. He was also part of the Skyrockets gold medal 800-meter relay team with Travon Lewis, Anthony Ortiz, and Brendon Garcia that clocked a 1:28.86.

Stratford junior and multi-sport standout Bryce Braden won double gold medals on Friday. Braden uncorked a throw of 173-1 to win the discus and then followed that with a toss of 50-4 for another gold medal in the shot put.

Vega’s Diego Martinez had quite the regional meet. Martinez won gold in the 110-hurdles thanks to a time of 15.19. On top of that, Martinez took silver in the 300-hurdles.

Miguel Lopez of Bovina continued his stellar season earning a trip to Austin by winning the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.36.

Highland Park’s Ben Ho popped off a leap of 44-1 1/2 to win the triple jump and qualify for the state meet for the first time.

The UIL Class 2A state track and field meet is set for Friday, May 5, at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.

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