MARBLE FALLS — The goal was simple. Earn 200 points and the district crown was theirs.
That was the message Marble Falls Middle School boys coordinator Kevin McLean told his eighth-graders.
IN PHOTO: Aidin Parnell (left) takes the baton from Keelan Gamble in the 4×100-meter relay. They helped the Marble Falls Middle School eighth-grade boys track team win nine events at the district meet to be crowned the district champions. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro
But the Ponies did better than that. By scoring 217 points, they left no doubt they were the best team there and ensured second-place finisher West Ridge never threatened with 149 points.
“With 200 points, you can’t hardly lose,” McLean said. “Psychologically, it depends on how many are in the track meet. If you have 200 points, you’re going to win. Our whole drive was the score.”
But equally impressive was the fact that in 11 meets, Marble Falls has won them all.
Of the 17 events, the Ponies placed first in nine events.
Garrett Gray won the 100-meter dash, long jump and triple jump.
Bruce VanBuskirk was first in the discus.
J.T. Watson captured the crown in the 800 meters.
Jesùs Perez was first in the 400 meters.
Cody Skipper was first in the 300 hurdles.
The 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams of Keelan Gamble, Aidin Parnell, Carson Bowen and Gray were first.
The Ponies also received points in other events.
Parnell placed third in the high jump and second in the triple jump.
Austin Fryar finished sixth in the high jump.
Justin Torres was third in pole vault.
Perez finished fourth in pole vault and third in the 200.
Carson Bowen placed fourth in triple jump and second in discus.
Nicholas Cano was second in the 2,400 and fourth in the 1,600.
Jordan Wright finished fourth in the 2,400 and fifth in the 1,600.
Chance Daniels placed second in the 800.
Austin Bird came in fourth in the 110 hurdles and second in the 300 hurdles.
Steven Petrosky finished sixth in the 110 hurdles.
Austin Jones was fifth in the 400 and sixth in the 200.
Ben Stripling came in third in the 1,600 run.
The 4×400 relay team of Gamble, Parnell, Bowen and Skipper finished second in 4×400 relay.
McLean said the the impressive win came down to one factor.
“Depth is the biggest thing,” the coach said. “The big thing with the eighth-graders is they are so much deeper in track than we realized. We have a couple of guys who are talented. We have some who are not far behind and more of them than we thought.”
One was Gamble, the coach said.
“He’s a hard worker,” he said. “He comes off the blocks good. He did a good job all year long.”
Bird improved from where he started, McLean said.
“Bird went three seconds faster in the hurdles,” he said. “He really improved, especially in technique.”
Not to be outdone, the seventh-graders finished third with 115.5 points behind Lake Travis, with 133.4 points, and Hill Country, with 129.
McLean credited Coach Dale Heath with the results.
“Dale Heath had a lot more impact,” McLean said. “Coach Heath oversees the seventh grade to a degree.”
Hunter Marino won the 300 hurdles in 47.10 seconds, placed fourth in the 110 hurdles in 18.40, and finished second in the high jump by clearing 5-0 and second in the pole vault by going 8-6.
Travis Dilworth was fifth by clearing 7-0.
In the long jump, Emanuel Montoya was sixth with a mark of 15-8 1/2, while Robert Jeffcoat finished seventh with a leap of 15-7 1/2, and Dilworth was eighth by marking 15-5.
David Salinas came in fourth in the triple jump with a leap of 33-11, while Erik Salgado was eighth in 30-9 1/2.
Fabian Suarez finished second in the discus with a throw of 107-09, while Jacob Bryer was fourth with a toss of 99-01 and Drake Harkins came in fifth with a mark of 91-07.
Bryer was fourth in the shot put with a heave of 33-8 1/2, while Chris Farley was sixth with a throw of 33-01 and Suarez came in seventh with a mark of 32-09.
Jesùs Arreguin placed second in the 2,400 meters in 9:04.16.
David Salinas won the 800 meters in 2:29.82, while James Ramos finished third in 2:30.52.
Farley came in seventh in the 100 meters in 12.92 seconds.
Montoya was third in the 400 meters in 1:00.66.
Salinas finished second in the 1,600 meters in 5:3.51, while Jesùs Arreguin placed fourth in 5:39.22.
The 4×100 relay team of Farley, D.J. Jackson, Tyler Horn and Robert Jeffcoat was sixth in 53.15 seconds.
The 4×200 relay team of D’Anthony Wall, Aiden Park, Montoya and Nathan Henderson came in fifth in 1:51.39.
The 4×400 relay team of Alredo Mata, Dilworth, Montoya and Marino finished third in 4:14.
McLean said the third-place finish was unexpected.
“They surprised us,” he said. “We knew they had talented kids, strong kids. They surprised us by how well they did in the running events.”