by Garrett Ross
Austin, TX – Records are meant to be broken and that was certainly the case at the 2018 UIL State Track and Field meet at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
We witnessed seven records set in boys events and four records set in girls events.
Rankin junior Calen Fouts reached new heights in the pole vault. Fouts was able to clear the pole set at 15-3.5, which broke the previous state record of 15-3 set by Guthrie’s Landon Roberts in 2017.
“I knew coming into the meet that I was capable of breaking the record,” said Fouts. “I have been jumping at some bars set that high, but to finally clear one was incredible.”
Fouts missed on his first two jumps, but he took advantage of his final attempt. The crowd was behind him, clapping in unison as he launched himself into the record books.
“When I started that clap and everybody was behind me as I was running down the runway, I felt an attack that I had never felt before,” said Fouts.
“That’s what really threw me up and over that bar. I can’t really describe how this feels, I’m incredibly happy at what I’ve accomplished at state.
I’m proud of my coach and my father who has always been behind me and the rest of my family and fellow athletes out here at state.”
Strawn junior Tanner Hodgkins was able to add discus state record holder to his resume, which already includes football state champion.
Hodgkins threw for 171-11 and his longest throw was 52.40 meters. The previous record was held by a fellow Greyhound Ross Allison, who threw 167-06 in 2015.
“My coach helped prepare me for this moment,” said Hodgkins. “My teammates and I are very competitive in practice and that helps us throw better.”
Medina senior Austin Zirkel used endurance to capture the record in the 3200 Meter Run, finishing with a time of 9:37.62. Zirkel surpassed the previous record of 9:38.23 held by Valley’s Jake Merrell.
Zirkel was happy to share his secret for success with future runners chasing his record.
“Work hard and put your mind to it and you can pretty much do whatever you feel is possible,” said Zirkel. “As long as you actually work for it and set a goal, then you can achieve it.”
Valley’s Jake Merrell set a new record of his own in the state meet. Merrell finished the 800 Meter Run with a time of 1:51.71, which was 2.39 seconds faster than the record he set last year in the event.
Merrell is a Baylor commit and one of the most accomplished runners in Texas sports history. Throughout his track career he has acquired 9 gold and 1 silver medals in state meets.
The Valley Patriots boys relay teams wasted no time establishing their dominance at the state meet. The Patriots set state records in the 4×200 and 4×400 relays.
In the 4×200 they finished with a time of 1:30.82 and they ran the 4×400 in 3:25.49.
The previous 4×200 record was 1:30.86 set by Water Valley in 2015. The previous 4×400 record was 3:27.04 set by Garden City in 2016.
Creed Goode of Cross Plains set the long jump record with a jump of 22-08.25. The previous record was set in 2016 by Laneville’s Ladarius Arnett, who jumped 22-02.
Alexandra Hensley of Menard set the new state record in the girls 100 Meter Hurdles. Hensley make quick leaps and bounds over the hurdles with a time of 15.67.
Hensley broke the previous record set by Blackwell’s Abbigail Sorrells in 2016 at 15.69.
The Blum Lady Bobcats 4×400 relay team etched their names in the record books with a time of 4:08.30. The Bobcats were able to shed two seconds off their previous record setting time of 4:10.09 set in 2017.
“We were able to stay positive, it was hard to come back from the 4×100, but I’m glad we did it,” said Gentrye Munden “It took a lot of energy and a lot of heart, but it was well worth it.”
Zoe Burleson of Rocksprings was able to launch a discus for 150-04, which gave her the record. Burleson was able to beat her 2017 record of 139-02, which she set while attending Nueces Canyon.
Groom junior Sydney Ritter competed in an astonishing five events, while claiming gold in two of them and the state record in Long Jump. Ritter flew through the air before landing at 18-03.75.
“It was an amazing experience competing for five events,” said Ritter. “I’m not sure that I will compete in five events next season, so this was truly a blessing.”
“Next year I want to get better in the jumping, a lot better in the jumping,” said Ritter. “I for sure want to jump a lot further and I believe that I can.”
Ritter dethroned Morgan’s Claudia Escamilla, who set the record at 17-04.75 in 2013.
Congratulations to all these great athletes who were able to claim the title “State Record Holder”.