arble Falls High School sophomore runner Bailey Goggans led the pack to the finish line of the 800 meters during the District 17 and 18-5A area track meet championship in a time of 2:08.34. She is the state’s No. 1 800-meter high school runner. Courtesy photo
STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Marble Falls High School track-and-field team earned three gold medals and a silver at the District 17 and 18-5A area meet April 17-18.
Sophomore runner Bailey Goggans took home two golds and a silver medal. She won the 800 meters in 2 minutes 8.34 seconds and the 400 meters in 55.57 seconds. Goggans, Kendall Ulbricht, Anie Turquia, and Natasha Villalobos finished second in the 4×400-meter relay in 4:02.51, grabbing the silver.
Sophomore high jumper Kason O’Riley won his event after clearing 6 feet 4 inches.
Those athletes will compete at the Class 5A Region III meet April 26-27 at Challenger Columbia Stadium, 1955 W. NASA Blvd. in Webster.
Boys head track coach Chad Bishop said O’Riley did exactly what he needed to do: jump well enough to win on a day where the wind gusts were high.
“It’s not about how high you jump; it’s about how you perform and how you finish,” Bishop said. “When he was finished, he was pleased.”
O’Riley qualified for area last year but didn’t advance to the regionals. After he took home the gold medal this year, his coach reflected on how far the athlete has come in 12 months.
“He’s grown, and he has a tremendous amount of confidence,” Bishop said.
Distance running coach Chris Schrader commended Goggans’ finishes, especially in helping the relay team advance to regionals.
“Bailey is at a level where she can handle all three events,” he said.
She had about an hour in between each event to rest before heading to the starting line.
Schrader noted that regionals will be different from district and area meets. Regional meet officials will conduct preliminaries in the relay and the 400 meters, which means Goggans might have to run both events on back-to-back days if the Lady Mustangs finish in the top eight for the finals. The 800 meters doesn’t have a preliminary, so Goggans will run only in the finals for that event.
Junior Bryer Atkinson finished fifth in the 3,200 meters in 10:29.68 in windy conditions and is the first alternate. Bishop said Atkinson has improved on his times and his training has changed under Schrader’s instruction.
“This is his first year of training at this level,” Bishop said. “He knows how much more he can improve.”
Jesse Stephens finished fifth in the girls 300-meter hurdles and is the first alternate for that event. The first alternate advances if one of the top four athletes in a particular event doesn’t attend the regional meet.