Lampasas was running for more than a medal.

A season of success culminated for Luke Palacios, Brady Carroll, Ace Whitehead and Cameron Everts at Saturday’s UIL Class 4A state track and field meet, where the quartet raced for gold in the 1,600-meter relay.

Along with hopes of a state championship, the Badgers were focused on setting a school record in the event.

It was not because they wanted to rewrite history, though. They were told to.

“Earlier in the year,” Carroll said, “Johnny ‘Lam’ Jones died, and thankfully, I got to meet him before he passed away.

“He said he wanted us to break his record.”

Despite earning a silver medal in the race, completing the course in 3 minutes, 20.26 seconds, the Badgers’ benchmark of 3:17.10 that Jones helped set in 1976 lives on.

Whitehead, however, knows the Lampasas legend was honored in the process.

“With this being the year Johnny died,” the sophomore said, “we really wanted to run to the best of our ability for him, and I think we did that.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get the record, but we did the best we could.”

Earlier in the evening, Everts, who ran the anchor leg of the 1,600 relay, dominated the 300 hurdles, posting a personal-record time for the season of 38.07 to claim the state championship.

Although the junior emerged with a pair of medals, he is not completely satisfied.

“I can still improve my time by a lot in both events,” said Everts, who placed second in the 300 hurdles last season. “But that’s a good thing, because there is a lot of fire to push me toward getting better next year.”

Whitehead, who placed fifth in the 300 hurdles with a personal record of 39.02, will also receive additional opportunities to collect championships and break records, but Carroll and Palacios will not.

The seniors saw their careers come to a close at Austin’s Mike A. Myers Stadium.

Palacios could not envision a better conclusion, though.

“This is very fulfilling,” he said. “Some of us have been running together for three or four years, and we have great chemistry. We know we are all going to pull our own weight and put in the work.

“It shows during the race.”

While the intention was always to excel in the 1,600 relay, the Badgers received additional motivation earlier in the evening, when Palacios, Carroll, Everts and senior Dylan Alpha failed to complete the 800 relay after dropping the baton on the final exchange.

“I just thought about the seniors,” Everts said, “and how dropping the baton ruined their chances to get a medal.

“So, in the 1,600 relay, I just wanted to run as hard as I could for them.”

Even with the various streams of inspiration, the Badgers were unable to break the school record in the 1,600 relay, but Carroll believes they still accomplished their goal.

“I think we did Johnny proud in all of our races,” he said. “When he passed, all of our races were dedicated to him.

“That made competing at state incredibly special, and I loved every minute of it.”

Contact Clay Whittington at

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