Boys take 2nd at Regionals, girls finish 19th

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By Lance Catchings

The Liberty Hill track teams competed at the 4A Regional Track Meet held at Sam Houston State University April 27-28. Athletes who finished in the top two of each event advanced to the State Track Meet held May 11-12 at Mike A. Myers Stadium at the University of Texas. Three Panthers advanced to the State Meet this season: Alex Albarran and Gabriel Diaz in the 800-meter run and Brandon McKissick in the 400-meter dash.

McKissick said he went into the race knowing it could be his last.

“I went into the Regional Final knowing this could be my last chance to run and could be my last track meet ever,” McKissick said. “I really focused on giving it my all and hopefully making it. My race was not my fastest, so I was a little disappointed in my time. Hopefully when it comes to the State Meet, I will run my fastest time.”

McKissick ran a 49.59, edging out Justin Sawyer of Waco La Vega who timed a 49.63 for second place.

“At first, I didn’t know I had got second place,” he said. “Myself and the runner in third finished so close that I was just looking at the jumbotron waiting for my time. When it finally came up, it hit me that I was moving on to State. This is something only a few other kids in Texas get to do, and it blew my mind when the score came up.”

McKissick set his goal of making it to the State Track Meet long before the season started, but did not initially think he would reach it.

“At the beginning when I set my goal to make it to State, it was kind of just a dream to get there,” he said. “Seeing all that work, that I actually fulfilled it and I am actually going to the competition is amazing. It’s like that saying you always hear of put in the work and you will get it back out.”

Although only a handful of runners advanced to State for Liberty Hill this year, the team had a strong showing at Regionals and set several personal bests in multiple events. The boys’ team took a second-place finish, overall, scoring 50 total points. Head Boys’ Track Coach Kent Walker said the season was a great success.

“All of our track athletes that qualified for Regionals competed very well,” Walker said. “We ran our best times of the year in the 4×100 and 4×400-meter relays and placed second as a team in the region. We have had a really good track season. I am excited for the three athletes that qualified for State. They have worked extremely hard this season and it will be fun watching them run at State.”

Kevin Berber finished seventh in the 3200-meter run in a time of 10:23.98. The 4×100-meter relay team finished fourth in a time of 42.93. In the 800-meter run, Albarran (1:59.39) finished first and Diaz (2:00.61) took second. The 4×200-meter relay team finished in fifth with a time of 1:30.51. McKissick finished second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.59. In the 1600-meter run, Albarran (5:01.61) finished 11th and Diaz (5:09.78) finished 13th. The 4×400-meter relay team finished third with a time of 3:19.74. Matthew Carter finished 14th in shot put with a throw of 39-02.

Head Girls’ Track Coach Gretchen Peterson was proud of all the Lady Panthers who competed at the Regional Track Meet. The Lady Panthers tied for 19th place as a team.

“This is a special group of kids,” Peterson said. “We will miss them all very much and know they will go on to do amazing things.”

Rachel Gallander finished eighth in the 400-meter dash in a time of 1:00.04. Bethany McLeod finished fourth in the 300-meter hurdles in a time of 46.51. Nya Casebolt took eighth in the high jump, clearing 5-0. Brooke Wright finished fifth in the pole vault, clearing 9-06. Amanda Mena took 10th in shot put with a toss of 33-03.50. McLeod finished fifth in triple jump with a leap of 36-08.50.

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