LAMPASAS – Aaron Nuckles knows times, distances and heights win track meets, but he believes something else determines the outcome.
Lometa won its second consecutive area championship Wednesday evening at Lampasas, earning four individual gold medals before capping off the day with a victory in the 1,600-meter relay and advancing the Hornets in 10 events at the upcoming regional meet.
Following the victory, Lometa’s head coach said his athletes’ secret to success has little to do with form, finesse or technique.
“Track takes some skill, but it is mostly hard work and guts more than anything,” Nuckles said. “A month ago, we wouldn’t have advanced in most of these events, but they’ve just been outworking people.”
Lometa finished the day with 110 points as a team, beating second-place Calvert by 24 points with Evant (71), Jonesboro (65.5) and Fayetteville (59) following in the standings.
The Hornets were paced by Kyle Molter, who joined R.J. Haggard, Ivan Jasso and Reid Moore to win the 1,600 relay in 3:51.58, along with placing first in the 300 hurdles (45.84) and second in the 110 hurdles (18.11).
Gunner Bradley swept the throwing events, winning both the discus (122-9) and shot put (45-1), while teammate Justus Alaniz won the high jump by clearing 5-10, placed third in the 100 (11.78) and was part of the Hornets’ fourth-place 800 relay team along with Willie Kemp, Jasso and Haggard. The quartet finished the race in 1:42.53.
Haggard also advanced in the long jump, placing third with a distance of 19-1 ¾.
Connell Barnett also qualified for the regional meet by finishing third in the high jump with a leap of 5-8, and Nuckles credits the Hornets’ ability to deliver in the field as being a major factor for winning the meet.
“That kind of jump-started everything,” he said. “Now, we don’t have to catch anybody. We just had to stay ahead of them.”
In addition to the Hornets’ big day, the Lady Hornets delivered a strong showing as well, finishing fifth as a team, while qualifying for eight events at the two-day Region IV-1A meet beginning April 25 at Kingsville’s Javelina Stadium.
Mikhaila Barnett delivered the most impressive performance, advancing in all five events she competed in.
Along with joining Maclinta Alaniz, who finished fourth in the 100 (13.84), Angela Arellano and Alissa Tobias, who produced a third-place time of 55.41 in the 400 relay, Barnett won gold in the high jump (5-4), finished second in the long jump (14-11 ¾) and 400 (1:05.75) and placed third in the 200 (29.15).
Tricia Williams was the only Lady Hornet to emerge with multiple gold medals, winning the discus (126-1 ½) and shot put (44-6 ¼), to give Lometa a clean sweep of the throwing events.
Moving forward, Nuckles believes anything is possible as his athletes now attempt to earn berths at the state meet.
“You never know what can happen,” he said. “I didn’t think we would get this many through to regionals. Each week, the competition gets better, so all you can do is show up, compete and see where it gets you.”