AUSTIN — Aubrey Kelly did not earn a medal, but he made a memory.
Competing in his first state meet, Ellison’s senior wanted to cap off his career with a gold medal to match the ones he captured at the district, area and regional meets.
It did not happen, but it did not matter.
Kelly placed fourth in the final meet of his high school career, producing a throw measuring 182 feet, 6 inches in the Class 6A discus.
The heave eclipsed his previous personal best by 19 inches and set a school record for the event, and while it was not the first-place outcome he hoped for, Kelly admits the accomplishment is something he will never forget.
“This feels pretty good,” Kelly said. “No matter what happens, I can say that I made it to state forever, and I’m going to cherish that.
“I’m always going to be able to look back at this, and I’m going to tell kids that they should work hard to have a similar experience.”
Kelly is not the only member of the Eagles who care share similar advice, though.
Ellison teammates Antares Gillespie and Sullivan Sanders joined Kelly in competing at the state meet.
Gillespie, a senior, delivered a seventh-place showing in the shot put thanks to a throw measuring 55-0, while Sanders placed ninth in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.48 seconds.
Like Kelly, it was not the performance Sanders hoped for.
“I started off really well and had a break on everybody,” the senior said, “but I scraped over one of the hurdles and got a cramp.
“I couldn’t just quit, though. I had to keep going.”
Nevertheless, Sanders emerged from the meet with pride.
“Not a lot of people get to make it as far as I did this year,” he said. “Considering this is my senior year and I’m going out at state, it feels pretty good.”
Ellison was the only Killeen ISD program to compete in multiple events at state. Killeen and Harker Heights qualified in one event apiece.
Although the day did not result in three gold medals, Ellison head coach Jared Shaw believes the Eagles did something more important than winning — they set a standard.
“Those three kids really epitomize our program,” he said. “They’re each all about hard work and dedication to their craft through blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice.
“As a program, they’ve helped us get where we want to be, and now, we want to keep being successful over these upcoming years.”