By CLINT FOSTER
BULLARD – It's rare to hear Palo Pinto County rivals Gordon and Strawn not mentioned in the same breath and – thanks to some strong performances at their regional track meet – the same will hold true in just over a week in Austin, where both schools will be represented at the UIL State Track and Field Meet in the University of Texas' Mike A. Myers Stadium, May 9-10.
The Gordon Longhorns arguably have bragging rights, sending six athletes in four different events, whereas Strawn saw three athletes punch their tickets to state in as many events. But all three of Strawn's state-bound athletes were gold medalists, while Gordon only had two first-place finishers.
Xavier Castaneda was the Longhorn to toast, earning two silver medals and a gold at the Region III-1A Division II track meet in Bullard, April 25-26.
His gold came in the 4x400-meter relay, in which he joined Garrett Collins, Caleb Johnston and Seth Wheeler to post a 3:35.40 time.
Castaneda, Johnston and Wheeler raced again with Jacob Wigington in the 4x100-meter relay, where they registered an even 45 second time for a second-place finish.
Castaneda qualified for his final state event all by himself, earning his second silver medal in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 43.21 seconds.
Gordon's final state qualifier was also their only girl, as Tristen Johnson won gold in the 100-meter hurdles, crossing the finish line in 17.30 seconds. She also narrowly missed qualification in the discus, where she wound up third with a 99-foot-5 throw.
The lady that won the discus, however, was one of Strawn's three state qualifiers. Jayde Price took the gold and punched her ticket south with a 101-foot-9 toss.
The Greyhounds continued Strawn's discus dominance when Ross Alison took the gold for the boys on his 147-foot-11 throw. He beat out teammates Chase Mackey, who earned bronze, and Marcus Lopez, who was fourth.