Ryan Simmons was simply forgetting to throw. The Salado junior, who struggled at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays less than two weeks ago, began his quest Thursday to make amends with Mike A. Myers Stadium, which hosts both the Relays and the UIL state track and field meet.
Simmons easily won the discus and shotput at the District 16-2A track and field meet in Lexington on Thursday.
With a toss of 173-feet, 11 1/2 inches, Simmons distanced himself from the rest of the field in the discus, with Florence’s Christian Gomez placing second (138-9 3/4).
“He’s trying to be so perfect with his spin he forgot to throw it,” Salado track coach David Simmons said. “This week I said, ‘You’ve just got to start throwing it, use your arm,’ and he started doing that and he was like, ‘OK, that’s what I was doing last year.’ He’s just been trying to over think things, really.”
The same two finished first and second in the shot put, with Simmons again coming out on top with a throw of 55-8. Gomez’s toss was 45-5 3/4.
“He’s got a lot more in him. He’s starting to kind of peak, he’s starting to put it together and be a lot sharper now,” Simmons said.
Salado’s Bryce Martin won the pole vault, going over the bar at 14-0. Florence’s Zach Shelton finished tied for fourth at 10-6.
“(Martins’) one of the best ones in the state, and our distance guys in the 800, the mile and the two-mile, they did really well today,” Simmons said.
Florence also qualified its 400- and 800-meter relay teams for the area meet next week in Lubbock. Both teams consisted of Jimmy Struble, Clay Navarette, Tyler Eldridge and Joseph Ramirez. The 400 team placed fourth with a time of 44.74 seconds and the 800 was third (1:33.83).
The Eagles garnered the majority of their points — besides Simmons — in the distance events. Robert Pereira won the 800-meter run with a time of 1:59.11 and his teammate Nick Cooke was second (1:59.24), fractions of a second behind.
“They didn’t really have any competition, they just jogged it and (finished) 1-2-3,” Simmons said. “They’re strategizing right now.”
Salado finished second overall at the meet with 128 points, falling behind Rose-bud-Lott, which dominated the relays and finished with 143 points. Cameron Yoe was third with 123, Little River-Academy was fourth with 67.5 and Florence finished fifth with 59 points.
Lady Eagles easily win district title
The Salado Lady Eagles dominated behind a strong relay performance, its hurdlers and distance runners.
Salado finished second in both the 400 and 800 relays with times of 49.76 and 1:50.40, respectively to earn a whopping 32 points.
Molly Colvin, who was on both relays, also finished third in the 100-meter dash (12.86). Ariana Rangel was second in the 400 with a time of 1:03.71.
Rachel Lea won the 100 hurdles (15.39) and teammate Morgan Hill was second (15.80). Hill took third in the 300 and Taylor Atwood took fourth.
In the field events, Rachel Hildebrand took silver in the discus with a throw of 116-8 and Lea was fourth in the triple jump (33-11). Averi Fischer won the pole vault for the Lady Eagles with a height of 8-6.
Salado had dominated the 3,200 run on the first day of the meet, with three runners earning a top-four finish.
Overall, Salado finished with 178 points, easily outdistancing second-place Rogers, which had 112.
“It feels great to be back in 2A,” Salado girls track coach Cindy Mewhinney said. “What else can I say? We’re competing with people with the same kind of numbers.
“We like being the big fish.”
Alex Byington contributed to this report.