STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — In her only meet on Leonel Manzano Track, Marble Falls High School freshman 800-meter runner Bailey Goggans didn’t disappoint March 24.
She led from start to finish in the event, which was part of the Daybreak Rotary Club Mustang Relays, clocking in at 2 minutes 11.39 seconds officially to break the meet record and her own school record that she previously set Feb. 24 at the Dripping Springs Tiger Relays. That time in February was 2:11.62, which was the second-fastest in the nation.
Since then, other schools have turned in faster times. Goggans’s February finish currently ranks fifth in the the nation behind:
• Bolles High School senior Caitlyn Collier of Jacksonville, Florida, who leads the country with a time of 2:04.87, set over the weekend at the Florida State University Relays;
• California High School senior Alyssa Brewer of San Ramon, California, who turned in a time of 2:08.99 at the Dublin Distance Fiesta on March 17;
• Santa Cruz High School senior Mari Friedman of Santa Cruz, California, who clocked 2:09.79 to finish second behind Brewer;
• and Saugus High School senior Mariah Castillo of Saugus, California, who turned in 2:10.70 at the New Balance Azusa Meet of Champions on March 24.
Goggans helped propel the Lady Mustangs to a first-place finish at their own meet by scoring 162.5 points, while Fredericksburg finished second. The Marble Falls junior varsity squad finished second in team standings in the underclassmen division.
While head coach Anthony Torns commended Goggans’s finish in the 800 meters, the races that stood out to him were the three relays.
Going into the meet, Torns said he was eager to see the relay runners compete. If they did well, that would be the order of the runners for the upcoming District 26-5A Meet on April 4-5 at Antler Stadium, 1310 Sidney Baker in Kerrville.
The 4×100-meter team took third in 50.53 seconds, while the 4×200-meter team placed first in 1:45.37, and the 4×400-meter team earned silver in 4:01.79.
Leander led the 4×400-meter relay virtually from the start, but the Lady Mustangs were running second, about 20 meters behind. When Goggans got the baton in the anchor leg, she caught the Leander runner soon after the first curve.
The Leander runner, however, kept her composure and found another gear to propel the Lady Lions to gold with a time of 4:00.96. Marble Falls finished in 4:01.79. That time ranks in the top 10 in program history in the event, Torns said.
“They put her in a better position,” he said of Goggans running the anchor leg. “If she was any farther back, she wouldn’t have been able to close the gap. We have to get her the baton within 10 meters (of the leader). In two weeks at district, they’ll run faster. It’s my estimation they’ll break the school record.”
That record of 3:58 was set a year ago.
As for the other two relays, Torns noted the biggest improvement needs to be on handoffs.
“If we clean up those, it’ll give us a better shot at winning,” he said.
Other athletes who set new personal bests include:
• junior Nomi Pegues, who was second in the 200 meters in 26.13 seconds;
• senior Trinity Ware, who was fourth in the 200 meters in 26.82 seconds;
• sophomore Alexis Torns, who finished sixth in the 200 meters in 27.27 seconds;
• sophomore Kendall Ulbricht, who was sixth in the 400 meters in 1:03.31;
• and sophomore Rylie Ulbricht, who was second in the 300-meter hurdles in 50.03 seconds.
Other athletes who turned in their season bests include:
• junior Natasha Villalobos, who was third in the 200 meters in 26.68 seconds;
• and sophomore Jesse Stephenson, who cleared 9 feet in the pole vault.
The Lady Mustangs will compete at the Texas Relays in the sprint medley at 5:20 p.m. Friday, March 30, at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus, 707 Clyde Littlefield Drive in Austin.
Representing Marble Falls will be Villalobos, Ware, Pegues, and Goggans. Kendall Ulbricht and Alexis Torns are the alternates.
Llano senior thrower Ray Dixon heaves the discus at 4:15 p.m. Friday and the shot put at noon Saturday.
The Burnet 4×100-meter relay team of sophomores Brayden McPherson, Blaine Burkhalter, and Grant Trey, seniors Ian Carter and Tyler Torres, and freshman Jaxson Denton will run at 9 a.m. Saturday. Carter returns at 2:10 p.m. to compete in the 110-meter hurdles.