AUSTIN — Ryan Simmons said he was happy to be back at the state track meet through gritted teeth.
The Salado junior wore another silver medal around his neck, his second of the meet, but it could’ve been a gold.
Just minutes before, it was.
Schulenberg’s Tristan Wendt took the 2A boys shot put state championship medal from right around Simmons’ neck, throwing a title-clinching mark of 55 feet and three-quarters of an inch on his final throw Saturday at the UIL State Track and Field Championships at the University of Texas.
And Simmons, who led the entire event, couldn’t take it back.
“It’s rough. My dad kept telling me this guy’s going to get a big throw and he did, he had a 56,” Simmons said. “It wasn’t a huge surprise, but, it happens.”
Simmons, who also placed second in the 2A discus on Friday night, finished behind Wendt with a throw of 54-5¼, which he posted on his second attempt.
After scratching on his first two throws of the finals, Simmons’ final throw measured 54-3.
“The first few just came out right and the other ones, they just ... I don’t know, they didn’t come out of my hand right, just didn’t get a good release on it,” Simmons said.
Simmons placed third in the 3A discus and fifth in the 3A shot put last year and bettered his end results with the silvers in 2A this year, but that was little solace to the junior, who had aspirations of winning both.
“I feel about the same as I did last year. I’m happy to be here, but I wish I could’ve thrown good,” Simmons said.
“I think I’m going to come back a lot more motivated, more intense,” he added.
Cooke finishes second in 2A 1,600
Alex Cooke was not feeling it.
The Salado senior’s side was cramping. He did not feel ready and he was a bit nervous after finishing fifth in the 3,200 meters Friday night.
But, then he got to the line and it all went away. Cooke finished the 1,600 run three-tenths of a second behind Quinlin McGregor of Amarllo Highland Park and claimed the silver medal Saturday.
“I had a cramp in my side for the last couple of hours and I was really nervous because it was my last race and I knew everyone was going to watch me,” Cooke said. “I was so negative and I just cleared my head right when the gun went off and I ran a good one.”
Salado’s other qualifiers Saturday did not medal.
Bryce Martin came close, though.
The pole vaulter tied for third place with Aaron Dixon of Ballinger, but Dixon cleared 14-6 on his first attempt. Martin did it on his second and had to settle for fourth place. Daven Murphy of Big Sandy Harmony won the 2A pole vault with a height of 15-3.
Robert Perriera placed eighth in the 800 run, despite holding second place with 150 meters to go. However, the Eagles senior ran out of gas down the stretch and fell into the back of the pack, finishing with a time of 1:59.57, more than three seconds behind Cody Hammond of Warren (1:56.35).
In the girls 100 hurdles, Rachel Lea also placed eighth with a time of 16.37, almost a second behind her time at regionals (15.39). The 400 relay team of Molly Colvin, Jaylee Sebek, Morgan Hill and Taylor Atwood finished sixth with a time of 49.52. The time was fractions of a second faster than the time they won the gold medal with at regionals, but not enough to capture a medal.