Burnet High School sophomore Hudson Bennett captured double gold at the Class 4A Region III meet April 23-24, winning the 1,600 meters in 4 minutes 28 seconds and the 3,200 meters in 9:45 to advance to the Class 4A state meet.
He competes at the University Interscholastic League state track-and-field meet Thursday, May 6, at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas at Austin campus, 707 Clyde Littlefield Drive.
Bulldogs head coach Casey Carr gave Bennett high praise.
“Hudson works harder than any track athlete I have ever coached,” he said. “He runs every day. The day after regionals, he got up and ran 10 miles. He really wasn’t pushed this season until area and regionals, so I feel like his best is yet to come. If it is ever close on the last lap or last few meters or so, I will put my money on Hudson every time. He is the ultimate competitor and hates losing.”
Carr gave plenty of credit to distance running coach Jerod Rye.
“I feel like I am more of a cheerleader than anything for (Bennett),” Carr said. “He will work his tail off, competes, and lifts others up around him. I talked to him about certain goals and marks he wants to achieve and how we can make them happen.”
No matter the length of the workout or the challenges in it, Bennett makes them look easy, Carr said.
Coaches aren’t the only ones to notice the runner’s dedication to being the best.
“Everyone sees how hard Hudson works, and it is easy to point to him for inspiration when addressing other athletes,” the coach said. “Hudson gets his instructions on what his workout is and then doubles it. He is just that type of competitor. He is very selfless. We needed help on the mile (4×400-meter) relay, and he didn’t hesitate whatsoever. He knew his team needed help and wanted to do what the team needed.”
Bennett was the only Burnet athlete to advance to the state meet. The 4×400-meter relay, which included Bennett, junior Andy Urista, senior Cade Rye, and freshmen Grant Jones and Will Johnson, was ninth in 3:30.
Other Bulldogs competing at the regional meet were junior Carlos Olivera, who was 10th in the 3,200 meters in 10:54; Urista, ninth in the 800 meters in 2:07; and freshman Brayden Hill, tied for ninth in the pole vault at 11 feet 6 inches.
The Lady Dawgs performed well, too, said girls head coach Crystal Shipley, but their season ended at the regional meet.
“There were several heartbreaks but so much to build on for the years to come,” she said. “I know this ending left our girls hungry for more.”
Senior Teagen Tappe was third in the discus with a throw of 119-0 and eighth in the shot put with a heave of 33-5.75. Freshman Jacquelyn Contreras-Green tied for seventh in the high jump with a flop of 4-10.
Senior Phebe Musasa finished 11th in the 200 meters in 28.05 seconds.
The 4×100-meter relay team of Contreras-Green, juniors AnnaBella Poppell and Sydne Massoletti, and Musasa was 10th in 51.04 seconds.
The 4×200-meter relay team of Contreras-Green, Massoletti, freshman Molly McPherson, and Musasa had a stumble on the wet track and didn’t finish.
An official stopped Autumn Stires from finishing the 3,200 meters because of a lap miscount.
Bennett will use the next two weeks to fine-tune and prepare for the state meet, Carr said.
“Hudson will feed off of the level of competition,” he said. “So going to state and running against the best will bring out his best, I promise you.”
Spectators will be allowed at the UIL state track-and-field meet under COVID-19 protocols. Tickets are $15 for a single session and $25 for all day Thursday, May 6; Friday, May 7; or Saturday, May 8. Tickets are available online. Spectators can also purchase tickets at the meet, but no cash will be accepted. Everyone ages 2 and older will need a ticket.
For more information on attending the state track meet, visit the spectator information page.