AUSTIN — The talk on the first day of the District 25-4A track-and-field meet was that the race for the team championship was wide open.
Too bad no one told the Lady Mustangs. Because by the end of the 300-meter hurdles, Marble Falls won the meet after sweeping the medals stand in that event.
It’s the first district title for the Lady Mustangs since 1990. The last Marble Falls track district championship was captured by the boys in 1998.
Not to be outdone, the junior varsity boys won the district championship by scoring 133 points. Leander was second with 107¾.
Still, Marble Falls head coach Kyle Futrell challenged his runners before the start of the varsity girls 1,600-meter relay since three of them — Chase Martin, Natalie Schulz and Sarah Lewis — had just won all the medals in the 300 hurdles and basically had about 10 minutes of rest before the start of the 1,600-meter relay.
“I told them, ‘We want to be district champs in the 4×4,” he said. “If it was close, I knew it would be to our benefit. We knew we really hadn’t been pushed. We were anxious to run against Leander and Rouse.”
They heard every word and ended the meet in the proper way. They captured the gold medal, edging Leander by six-tenths of a second and set a new school record again. In all, the Lady Mustangs scored 148 points. Dripping Springs was the runner-up with 96.
“They got after it,” Futrell said. “That’s the icing on the cake. I knew in the hurdles, we’d score well.”
Indeed. In each event, there’s a total of 31 points up grabs. Marble Falls took 24.
And that included the 100-meter hurdles, too, where Martin, Schulz and Blanca Fonseca finished first, second and fourth. Again, the Lady Mustangs scored 20 points.
“You have to get in and score and keep people from catching you,” the coach said. “They gave us a little bit of a cushion. All of them contributed.”
It also helped that freshman Lauren Loader finished in the top four in multiple events to add to the scoring. Coaches were counting on her having a solid meet, but her adding to the team score was a bonus, Futrell said.
“We didn’t really anticipate that,” he said. “Every time we scored, it kept someone else from scoring.”
Distance coach Anthony Torns said he couldn’t be prouder of the way the athletes competed.
“Better than any sport achievement I have had, even my own state 4×400 title,” he said. “Being able to help these kids means everything to me. The girls just executed. No other explanation.”
And while the talk of the meet was the Lady Mustangs, Futrell noted all relays in every division turned in the fastest times of the season.
He said the junior varsity Lady Mustangs were in first place when Kelsie Walker got the baton, then fell back to fifth only to win it by three-tenths of a second.
“It was exciting and funny,” he said with grin. “Of course, at the end, everyone is excited. That makes if fun.”
Marble Falls had earned so many medals and ribbons that Futrell asked assistant coach Brandon Murdock to help him carry it all to the bus. He recalled being the coach who congratulated the coaches of the other teams for winning the team titles, adding it felt great to be on the receiving end of those conversations.
“In the past, we’ve never been this deep,” he said. “We knew we had a good group. We want to thank the seniors for being loyal to the program. We’re really proud of them.
RESULTS:Varsity boys, 7th overall with 50 points (top 4 individuals advance to the area meet)— 100: 6, David Spurlock, 11.94; 800: 5, Cody Skipper, 2:05.01; 1,600: 2, Jordan Wright, 4:30.96; 3,200: 1, Wright, 9:47.30; 4×100 relay: 6, Marble Falls (Travis Walker, James Bryer, Jacob Metcalf, David Spurlock), 44.13; 4×200 relay: 5, Marble Falls (Walker, Bryer, Aidin Parnell, Spurlock), 1:32.44; 4×400 relay: 6, Marble Falls (Parnell, Metcalf, Brennen Wooten, Bryer), 3:32.16; high jump: 5, Travis Walker, 5-10; pole vault: 5, Rafael Villarreal, 11-0; shot put: 3, Hanner Shipley, 43-8 1/2; 6, Sam Kohutek, 42-6 1/2; discus: 3, Ryan Becker, 129-6; 4, Shipley, 125-9;