AUSTIN — Salado’s Rachel Hildebrand is part of a District 16-2A power trio.
Hildebrand was one of three girls from the district to occupy the medal stand Friday at the UIL State Track & Field Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
Hildebrand won silver with her throw of 40 feet, 6¼ inches, finishing just three inches behind Cameron Yoe’s Kausion Wells (40-9¼). Little River-Academy’s Kacie Tuerck placed third (39-11).
“I’ve always said we’re like ‘The Trio,’ because at first Brianne Coffman (Jarrell), Kacie Tuerck and myself. And, now, Kausion is with us,” Hildenbrand said. “It’s just been like competitiveness, but it’s also been friendly. We’re all friends, so we push each other and it’s good fun. I like that.”
Despite being the ninth, ‘wild card’ qualifier in the event, Hildebrand still had the third-best qualifying throw coming into the meet. She finished behind Tuerck and Wells two weeks ago at the Region II-2A meet. Coffman, the defending 2A shot put state champion, finished fourth at that meet.
“I’m like overwhelmed. I don’t really know what to think right now,” Hildebrand said. “I’m just so excited and I just feel so honored to be here with all these great athletes.”
Hildebrand led after the first round of preliminary throws with a 39-3, but Tuerck took over the lead with her second throw of 39-11. Wells then passed them all with her winning throw on her first attempt of the finals.
“I’ve thrown 42, 43 and 44 in practice, but I’ve never been able to throw that far in a track meet and I just tried so hard to do it (on the last throw), but I couldn’t,” Hildebrand said. “But, Kausion’s a great thrower, so I’m satisfied with what I got.”
Cooke fifth in 3,200
Salado senior Alex Cooke finished fifth in the 3,200, falling back from first in the final four laps.
“It definitely hurt me down the stretch. Just the psychological weight of leading and ... not knowing what everyone else is doing behind you is bad strategy. I shouldn’t have done it,” Cooke said.
Quinlin McGregor, of Amarillo Highland Park, won the event in 9 minutes, 29.38 seconds, finishing nearly a second ahead of Eustace’s Evan Arambula (9:30.25) and nearly 10 seconds ahead of Cooke, who had the second-fastest qualifying time entering the meet.
Cooke, who’s signed with Texas Tech, finished in 9:39.75, more than six seconds slower than the 9:32.65 he posted at the regional meet two weeks ago.
“I thought I was in the best shape here, and maybe I could string it (the lead) out a little bit and then try to wait and kick at the end, but it didn’t end up happening. The race didn’t unfold like I thought it would,” Cooke said.
Cooke moved up from seventh to lead the pack in the first 200 meters and then led until Luling’s Ryan Flores took over just after the start of the fifth lap. Cooke was third to start the sixth and fourth to start the seventh. He dropped to a distant fifth in the final lap.
“I knew it was going to be a tough fight, so I don’t know why I didn’t stop myself from taking the lead early,” Cooke said. “I should have, but I was just in the moment of the race and thought, maybe, that was a good strategy, but I should’ve thought better.”