After an entire day of fighting for points, Belton and Copperas Cove were forced to share the glory.
Entering Saturday’s final event of the Big Red Relays, the host Tigers trailed the Bulldawgs, who were situated in first place, by a dozen points in the overall standings.
Belton quickly made up the deficit, though, winning the 1,600-meter relay by more than eight seconds to clinch a share of the meet championship. The victory gave the Tigers 169 points, tying them with Copperas Cove, while Killeen (121) and Shoemaker (64) rounded out the top four.
The quartet of Anthony Mirabel, Andre Ewing, Johnny Rodriguez and Braden Hammond posted a winning time of 3 minutes, 25.62 seconds for Belton in the 1,600 relay, but Killeen’s second-place finish proved to be the reason the Bulldawgs did not take home the title.
Joshua Immormino, Eddie Adams, Jamari Wade and Michael Mouton delivered a time of 3:34.00 for Killeen, beating the Bulldawgs’ team of Antonio Lealliiee, Michael Summeral, Michael Onco and Trent Canion by 2.74 seconds, and the four-point difference between second and third place prevented Copperas Cove from earning the championship.
Individually, Belton produced three of the top four athletes in the meet.
William Watson finished second in the standings after being a part of the Tigers’ first-place 800 relay team and winning the 110 hurdles. He helped the 400 relay team to a second-place finish and was fourth in the triple jump.
Ewing and Mirabel were second and third individually, scoring 21 and 20 points, respectively. Along with each running in the pivotal 1,600 relay, Ewing won the 300 hurdles (40.87) and was third in the 110 hurdles (15.98). Mirabel ran in all three relay races for Belton and finished third in the 400.
The Tigers did most of their damage on the track, placing either first or second in each of the relay races, winning both hurdling events and getting a gold-medal showing from John Jennings, who won the 3,200 with a time of 10:35.00.
Copperas Cove’s Zack Watts won the other distance running event, finishing the 1,600 in 4:48.00.
The Killeen foursome of Keondre Parker, Jimmerick Martin, Devin Johnson and Joshua Shemwell narrowly prevented Belton from sweeping the relay races, winning the 400 relay over the Tigers by 0.11 seconds with a time of 44.53.
The back-and-forth between Belton and Copperas Cove began early and was on full display during the throwing events.
Between the combined top 12 spots in the shot put and discus, the Tigers and Bulldawgs occupied nine.
In the shot put, Justin Murphy easily won the event with a distance of 57 feet, 5½ inches, while Copperas Cove’s Jalen Waters (52-0½) placed second followed by Belton teammates Sam Hussey and Reagan Francis.
The Bulldawgs dominated the discus, claiming the top two spots, with David Castillo (154-2) earning gold and Gabe Perez (152-7) taking silver.
The trend continued in the pole vault as Jason Cole’s first-place height of 11-6 led three Bulldawgs in the top four, while Belton’s John Holmes carved out a second-place performance by clearing 11-0.
Killeen’s best showing came in the jumping events, with the Kangaroos winning the triple jump and high jump while finishing second in the long jump.
Parker’s leap of 43-1½ in the triple jump was slightly better than Copperas Cove’s Derris Prater, who finished second with a jump measuring 43-0.
In the high jump, Anthony Oliver cleared 6-0 to earn another gold medal for the Kangaroos. Copperas Cove’s Milosz Deskins (5-10) and Killeen’s Justin Glaze (5-8) followed him in the standings.