By Angel Verdejo
Harker Heights Herald
AUSTIN - For the record, Kyle Thompson finished fifth in the 800-meter run at the state track and field meet as a freshman three years ago in Idaho.
He hasn't lost a state meet in his signature event since.
The Harker Heights senior made it 3-for-3 on Saturday at the UIL State Track and Field Championships at the University of Texas' Mike A. Myers Stadium, taking the early lead and never looking back.
Competing on the same track where he'll run in college, Thompson flashed the University of Texas' patented "Hook'em, Horns" sign when he crossed the finish line, winning the race with a time of 1:50.54, just ahead of Ellison's Hector Hernandez.
"It's just now hitting me," said Thompson, who ran 1:50.80 to win 5A gold last year after winning the 6A race in Kansas as a sophomore (1:56.21). "It's crazy - just coming into this seeing everyone else's times, it was almost up for grabs today. It's a good feeling being able to pull it off for three years."
Despite leading the entire way, Thompson said he wouldn't mind being behind at some point.
"I love to kick in a race - that's always the most exciting part for me," said Thompson, who also finished eighth in the 400. "There's nothing better than out-kicking a person - it's just a great feeling."
Gilbert finishes second in pole vault
Regan Gilbert would have liked a different color medal.
But despite a mild disappointment, the Harker Heights senior vaulter was pleased after qualifying as a wild card entrant to the 5A state meet.
"I really would have been happier with gold," Gilbert said. "Silver isn't a very pretty color."
Gilbert finished second in the pole vault with a
personal-best and school-record mark of 16 feet, 6 inches, a mere three inches behind junior champion Reese Watson of Spring. "Really, I wanted 17-0. But 16-6 is good," Gilbert said. "I'll probably be happier tomorrow."
Gilbert was the first athlete to clear 16-feet and was left waiting as his opposition went down one by one. When it was time to raise the bar to 16-6, only Gilbert and Watson remained. Again, Gilbert cleared it on his first attempt. Watson, meanwhile, struggled with the height, knocking the bar down on his first two attempts. On the third, though, he only nudged it and the bar remained in place.
Then at 16-9, Watson was the first and only one to clear the height, while Gilbert missed on all three jumps.
Belton's Ashlie Francis had the second best opening throw in the girls discus - setting a personal-best by more than five feet (132-9) - but it wouldn't last as she took eighth.
Salado freshman Ryan Simmons finished seventh in the 3A discus last Friday.
"I got a little bit nervous being at state, just got a little bit too much pressure. I'll get it next year," he said.
Simmons was one of seven Salado competitors at the 3A state meet. Junior Carling Urben tied for fifth in the high jump, senior Camryn Bintz placed eighth in the girls discus and the Eagles' 100-meter relay team finished ninth.
Urben, who cleared 5 feet, 4 inches to tie with Paris North Lamar's Kara Erickson, couldn't use the words "amazing" and "awesome" enough to describe her first experience.
"It's just like an awesome feeling. It's like you're down here all amped and everyone's watching you, but at the same time, it's just so amazing because you're (one of) only eight or nine people here. It's really amazing."
Contact Nick Talbot at email@example.com or (254) 501-7569.