Mineral Wells Index
By TONY EIERDAM
Although area schools accounted for just 12 athletes who qualified for their respective state meets, there are several story lines accompanying those who have made it to the ultimate annual track meet.
The University Interscholastic League State Track and Field Meet will be held Friday and Saturday in Austin at Mike Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.
A neat story involves the Gordon boys, who won two of three relay races at the regional meet.
A second ‘Horns relay team finished second, meaning all three of Gordon’s boys’ relay teams have a chance to earn gold medals at the Class A meet.
Three Longhorns – Jacob Wigington, Emory Allen and Coletyn King – will run in two relay races, the sprint relay and 800-meter relay.
Michael Cherry will run in sprint relay, while Garrett Collins, Christopher Lynn, Xavier Castenada and Caleb Johnson make up the Gordon boys mile (1,600 meters) relay team.
Just one area-schools girl has made it out to state as Millsap runner Haley Younger has qualified for the girls’ 400-meter dash.
It is the second year in a row younger has qualified for state.
Strawn is unique as it has two boys – Owen Alison and Tyler Bayes – qualify for the state meet in pole vault. Alison placed first and Bayes second at the regional meet.
Perhaps the best story heading into the state meet involves Alison, who at this time last year was in rehabilitation nursing a broken back.
Strawn coach Dale Pustejozski, who handles Strawn’s vaulters, thought Alison’s high school career was over last year as a junior.
He said the accident occurred during practice.
“He was just running down the runway last year and missed the box,” he said. “He landed hard and broke his back.”
Alison said making it to the 2013 state track meet, or any meet at all this year, was far from his ind a year ago.
“When the accident happened I had no idea how long it would take to recover,” he said. “That had never happened before so I had no idea.
“I went through a lot of physical therapy and worked hard to try and see if I could get ready for (2013) track season. I put in the work and here I am.
“It feels good to not only be able to get back and compete, but to make it to state was something I didn’t think was going to happen at this time last year.
“I am excited about going to state.”