BROWNWOOD – Gus Ortiz’s recipe for success was simple.
Fresh off of winning the program’s second district championship in school history, Lampasas’ head track coach knew his team possessed the potential to deliver another strong performance at Wednesday’s area meet. The Badgers simply needed to be consistent.
“I just told the kids if they did what they did a week ago, we have a really good chance to win this area meet,” Ortiz said.
He was right.
Like they did at the District 8-3A meet, the Badgers used a solid showing in the field events to catapult them to victory, securing the championship with senior Gary Spencer’s first-place finish in the 200-meter dash.
Highlighted by Oklahoma-commit Steven Jazdyk, who won two gold medals and advanced in four events, every Badger at the competition qualified for the upcoming Region I-3A meet in Lubbock.
Along with Cale Walker, Chase Birck and Spencer, Jazdyk was part of Lampasas’ first-place 800 relay team and won the 100, along with joining Birck, Spencer and Walker to finish second in the 400 relay and placing third in the pole vault (14-6).
After battling injuries all season, Steffen McCarter won district gold in both the long jump and triple jump and appeared to be on course to repeating the feat after a first-place long jump leap of 23-10 ½. A nagging hip injury forced him to withdraw from the 110 hurdles but he still managed to finish second in the triple jump with a distance of 43-1 ½.
However, Ortiz believes there is little reason to worry.
“He was going to do the hurdles, but after talking to the coaches, he was the eighth-best time,” Ortiz said. “He had an outside shot, so we felt it was best not to run him in it. If he hampered that injury a little bit more then he might not be able to make those jumps next week, and those are the two best things he does – long and triple jump.”
It turns out the conservative approach was the right one.
Thanks to three more top-two performances in the field events, the Badgers held a large enough lead to account for McCarter’s absence in the hurdles.
Shonderius Howard improved on his gold-medal winning height at district, clearing an additional eight inches with a first-place leap of 6-8. Teammate James Franklin finished second in the event with a height of 5-10, and Marcus Morrison placed second in the discus, delivering a throw measuring 133-0.
“All the kids did well in the field events,” Ortiz said.
Now, the Badgers turn their attention to the regional meet, where the competition becomes stiffer, but Ortiz has a simple approach to the meet.
“We are going to have our hands full, but I told the kids that our goal is to make the finals,” he said.
“Then, we will worry about everything else.”
Two Lady Badgers advance to regional
Despite heavy winds, Lampasas managed to overcome the gusts and send two Lady Badgers to the regional meet.
After finishing third in the high jump at the district meet with a height of 4-10, Sarah Porter cleared 4-8 to place second in the event Wednesday afternoon.
In the triple jump, Faith Veroneau produced a leap measuring 34-6 ½ to finish in fourth place.
Gatesville pole vaulter sets record
Days after signing a letter of intent to Texas, Gatesville pole vaulter Nick Meaders made school history by clearing 16-6, smashing the record he held by four inches.
The showing earned him a gold medal and a spot in the upcoming regional meet, but he was not the only Gatesville athlete to deliver an impressive performance.
Teammate Andraque Jones and four Lady Hornets emerged from the meet with gold medals around their necks.
Jones won the 300 hurdles with a time of 39.75 while finishing second in the 110 hurdles (14.97) and joined Nicholas Gibson, Jake Kee and Elmer Ramirez to place third in the 1,600 relay (3:30.44).
Kat Cross and Sarah Hogan each won two gold medals for the Lady Hornets, teaming together with Robbie Clarke and Alli Richardson to win the 400 relay (49.02) in addition to excelling individually.
Cross won the long jump with a leap of 16-2 and Hogan’s time of 1:00.9 in the 400 earned her a gold medal.
Jordan Brock advanced in the 800, finishing second with a time of 2:21.75, and was part of the Lady Hornets’ second-place squad in the 1,600 relay (4:05.00), joining Hogan, Richardson and Clarke, who also placed second in the 100 (12.38).
For the Hornets, Abate Hennessy and Rayven Jones both qualified for the regional meet, placing third in the 3,200 and 300 hurdles, respectively.