Keith Stifflemire believes the best may still be yet to come.
After witnessing eight individuals and one of his relay teams advance from the District 8-5A meet last week at Waco Midway, Copperas Cove’s head boys track coach is confident the season will continue beyond the upcoming area meet if his athletes maintain their current attitude.
“Looking at the other district as a whole, almost every kid we have has an opportunity to advance,” Stifflemire said. “Some of them may have to run a little bit better or throw a little bit farther or jump a little higher, but right now, it looks like every one of them has an opportunity if they’ll perform.”
Along with the qualifying Bulldawgs, a pair of Lady Bulldawgs will return to Midway on Tuesday for the area meet composed of athletes from District 7-5A and District 8-5A with the top four in each event advancing to the Region I-5A meet in Lubbock later this month.
David Castillo headlines the list of Bulldawgs who will be in attendance after delivering the team’s lone gold medal at the district meet.
The junior easily won the discus, delivering a throw of 166 feet, 5 inches, clearing his competition’s attempts by more than five feet.
While most coaches would be searching for ways to add extra inches to their throwers distance at this point, Stifflemire is content with Castillo as he is.
“He shows up for work every day and every day, even including track meets, he’s just going to get out there and throw,” Stifflemire said.
“That’s the type of kid he is, and I think if he’ll just keep doing what he’s doing, he doesn’t have to do anything spectacular.”
Teammate Gabe Perez also advanced to the area meet in the discus after producing a throw measuring 151-9.
Other Bulldawgs to qualify for the area meet include junior Rashard Odomes, who placed second in the high jump with a leap of 6-4, and Derris Prater, who cleared 45-2 in the triple jump. Additionally, Jayson Cole advanced with a second-place finish in the pole vault (13-0), as did Jaylen Waters, who finished third in the shot put with a throw of 51-2, and Antonio Lealliiee after the sophomore placed third in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.17.
Rounding out the Bulldawgs’ individual qualifiers is junior Andrew Leuthner with a fourth-place time of 11.15 in the 100.
Copperas Cove will also be sending its 800 relay quartet of D.J. Paepaealalo-Bunn, Breyon Jackson, Justin Joe and Leuthner after the squad finished fourth in the event at district with a time of 1:29.87.
“We saw great improvement from the beginning of the season to the end, and almost every one of our kids set a personal record at the district meet,” Stifflemire said.
“So I think they all peaked at just about the right time.
“Every one of the kids who did advance, I thought they had an opportunity to peak at the right time, which they all did.”
The Lady Bulldawgs will be sending junior Mikayla Blount and Amber Boyd to the area meet in the pole vault and 800, respectively.
Blount placed second in the pole vault, clearing 9-0, while Boyd delivered a fourth-place time of 2:25.13 on the track.
“They are outstanding young ladies and outstanding athletes,” Lady Bulldawgs head coach Vance McAnally said. “Mikayla is the school record holder in the pole vault, and Amber is only a freshman competing on the varsity.”