JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
AUSTIN — As Marble Falls High School junior discus thrower Ryan Becker waited his turn for his sixth toss at the Class 5A state meet May 15, throwing coach Ricky Sparks reminded him it was his final chance to medal.
“I’m due for a good one because all I have to do is get a good one,” Becker said. “I’ll be ready.”
The junior had already set a personal best with his fifth throw of 158 feet and 7 inches. But he realized he didn’t put enough air under the discus, so he made a mental note to aim higher at the point of release.
And it paid off as he marked 164-10 to earn the bronze medal with his final throw.
Becker had fouled on his first attempt and marked 142-03 on his second and 133-09 on his third. From his fourth throw at 148-03, the Mustang was putting the discus farther from the circle. Part of the reason is because he was able to relax, the junior said, noting it took him a few minutes to get used to the atmosphere at the state meet in his first appearance there.
“It took me a little bit to get comfortable,” Becker said. “I was a little nervous. All my throws progressively got better. Nothing seemed to be clicking. But my second-to-last throw was really good.”
Red Oak junior Kevin Steward won the state championship with a mark of 173-02, while the silver medal went to junior Jorge Rios of Port Lavaca Calhoun with a toss of 169-04. Steward also won the gold medal in the shot put with a heave of 59-04 on his first attempt.
Becker said he had a chance to meet them as they waited their turn to get on the podium.
“I told them I hoped we are here next year,” he recalled saying. “But I hope I’m wearing the gold.”
Marble Falls junior hurdler Natalie Schulz was eighth in the 300-meter hurdles in 45.95 seconds and ninth in the 100-meter hurdles in 15.53 seconds.
Burnet pole vaulter Blake Skoog tied for fourth in the pole vault by clearing 11-0 feet. Burnet hurdler Ian Carter finished fifth in the 110-meter hurdles in 14.55 seconds. And the Burnet 400-meter relay team of Steven Gallardo, Chris Cromer, Brock Foster and Joel Johnson were sixth in 42.28 seconds.
Becker has enjoyed a busy and productive month. He has several offers to play college football so far as an offensive lineman, tight end and on the defensive side. Some of the offers are from Southern Methodist University, Rice University, University of Texas-San Antonio, University of Nebraska, Northwestern University, Texas Tech University, Air Force Academy and University of North Texas.
To help him make decision, his parents, Mark and Tracey Becker, gave him a thick notebook so that he can take notes during phone calls and visits.
“This whole recruiting process is more work than I thought,” Becker said. “I’m calling coaches all the time and keeping up with them on (social media). I’m enjoying the process.”
Becker said he doesn’t anticipate committing to a program for awhile.