• August 22, 2014

Coach's Corner Little Lometa has big day on state’s biggest stage

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Posted: Monday, May 12, 2014 12:18 am

Of the nine area schools competing at the UIL State Track & Field Meet over the weekend, Lometa produced one of the best showings.

The tiny Class 1A, Division II program sent four athletes in five events to Austin and emerged from Mike A. Myers Stadium with a pair of gold medals and a silver medal.

In the senior’s third consecutive appearance, defending state champion and Texas-Arlington commit Tricia Williams swept the throwing events, breaking her own conference records in both the shot put (44 feet, 1½ inches) and discus (134-1).

Despite some controversy, Lady Hornets junior Mikhaila Barnett placed second in the high jump, clearing 5-2 to improve on her third-place finish at last year’s state meet.

Additionally, senior Gunner Bradley placed seventh in the discus with a throw measuring 129-4, while teammate Justus Alaniz capped off his high school career by clearing 5-8 to finish ninth in the high jump.

On Sunday afternoon, Lometa head track coach Aaron Nuckles spoke with Herald reporter Clay Whittington about his team’s performance at the state meet and the season as a whole.

What are your overall thoughts on how things went?

It was a good weekend, and it was a good season too. It was a good year. I’m pretty pleased with the way everything turned out because we only had two boy seniors doing anything and only one girl. It was a lot of underclassmen.

And you were still well represented at state.

Yeah, it was a nice way to finish. I would have liked to have gotten a couple places higher with Gunner in the throwing and I wish Justus could have got a couple places higher in the jumping, but considering where they, especially Justus, came from, having not done it until late in his sophomore year, him getting to state was pretty successful.

Williams dominated once again, but that’s no surprise.

I don’t think there is much left to say. I think if she would have left with anything less than double gold, it probably would have been a disappointment for her. That was the only way she wanted to go out. Now, she can go on to the collegiate level and see how good she can be. It will be good to get to see her move on.

Bradley finished seventh in the discus, but regardless of placing, how nice is it to see a senior get to end their career at state?

Gunner is an exception to the rule because he is involved in a little bit of everything. Not many people know this, but he actually wasn’t even in Austin on Saturday morning. He was at an interview for an FFA scholarship in Waco. He had to give a speech and go through an interview at 7 a.m. and then his mom drove him over to Austin. So he’s been extremely busy, and he’ll be back in Austin because Lometa’s one-act play group has made it to state. Gunner is a guy who has got a lot going on, and track is just a little blip on the radar for him.

Barnett was involved in some controversy after a foot fault on her final attempt to clear 5-4 — a mark that would have won state. What did you see happen?

As far as the last jump goes, from where the coaches’ box was, it was impossible for me to see, and I’m a believer that unless I have a point, I’m not going to argue a call. From there, I had no vision of it. I didn’t see it, but they said her foot broke the plane. That’s the rule, and if that’s what she did, then that’s what you’ve got to go with.

There was also some question about whether it was a run-through or not.

The second mistake she made was not jumping. Her and Justus had made run-throughs throughout the season, and I told them, “When you start making run-throughs, you are putting yourself up to human error.” When it’s time to jump, you should jump, and I just wish she would have jumped. I don’t know why she wanted to take a run-through. She hadn’t taken a run-through all day, but it was a decision she made, and we’ve got to go with it. But I still thought when I was leaving there that she was the best jumper. She made it over 5-2. She had the best-looking jump. She had the best-looking jump at 5-4 because she cleared it once, but she just didn’t kick. To me, she looked the best, but she didn’t perform the best, so there you go.

At the rate she is going, though, her future is still bright.

Yeah, you can’t beat up a kid because at the end of the day, she’s a kid. I’m not going to beat up a kid that got to state her sophomore year and got third, and then got back her junior year and got second. There are a lot of kids that wanted one of those medals and didn’t get it, so it was a very, very, very successful year, and she’s still got another year to build on it, so that is big.

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