AUSTIN — The best track and field athletes from across Texas converged on the capital city to show off their skills as they competed at the 2019 UIL State Track and Field Championships on Friday at Mike A. Myers Stadium, the home of the University of Texas Longhorns. Class 5A kicked things off on Day 1 with multiple RGV athletes striking success and heading home with new, shiny hardware, including two state champions from PSJA ISD.
GOMEZ CRUISES TO GOLD
PSJA Memorial’s Cruz Gomez finished as the runner-up in the 3,200-meter run at last year’s UIL State Track and Field Meet.
This time, he brought home the gold.
Gomez shattered a Rio Grande Valley record in the Class 5A boys’ 3,200-meter run for his first gold medal as the University of Texas commit took first in 9 minutes, 2.17 seconds on the same track he’ll be running on next year while wearing burnt orange. As he crossed the finish line with his hands raised and a face full of emotion, Gomez went down to his knees.
“I just couldn’t believe that I had just won my first state championship. I’ve been working so hard these past four years, and to finally achieve it is something amazing,” Gomez said. “Coming in, I was like this is my future track, so I got to represent here. I can say I won a state championship on this track my senior year.”
In order to capture the gold in the 3,200, Gomez had to take down two-time defending state champion Graydon Morris, a junior from Aledo who took gold as a freshman and sophomore. The race became tight around the fourth and fifth laps with Gomez and Morris neck-and-neck, but a burst from Cruz down the final stretch carried him to victory.
“He had won the previous two years, so coming in here, I knew it was going to be tough, but I knew I had it in me,” he said. “If it came to the last lap, the last 200 meters, I was confident in my speed and it came down to that and sure enough, we took the win.”
Immediately after crossing the finish line, Morris was the first one to congratulate Gomez as the two shared a handshake and a hug after leaving it all out on the track. Morris’ time of 9:03.67 was a personal record for him, but it wasn’t enough to top the PSJA Memorial Wolverine.
“People started coming up, I just tried to stay relaxed. It’s the state meet, there’s going to be people running the same as you, so all you have to do is see who has more speed because my coach always says ‘speed kills,’ and sure enough, it does,” Gomez said.
Gomez also posted a fifth place in the 1,600-meter run.
TREVIÑO THROWS WAY TO TITLE
Mother’s Day might be right around the corner, but PSJA Southwest thrower Diego Treviño already has a gift to give his mom: a state championship.
Before warming up to compete in the 5A boys’ shot put finals, Treviño texted his mother and told her, “this is for you.”
The University of Oklahoma signee proceeded to dominate the competition as his throw of 63-feet, 9.75 inches set a personal record and gave him the gold as he finished 6-3 ahead of the second-place thrower.
“I promised my mom that this was going to be for her and this is for her. Right before I threw, I texted her and I told her that this was going to be for her, for Mother’s Day, so I’m proud that I’m coming back with a medal for her,” Trevino said.
The senior ramped up his game as the competition went on, something that stresses out his coach Eloy Garza. But when it was all said and done, there was no stress, only celebration between a thrower and coach who just finished who are bringing back a gold medal to PSJA Southwest.
On his second to last throw, Treviño set a personal record with a toss of 62-04, only to shatter that mark on his final throw with the 63-09.75.
“I always had a thing to throw the farthest on my last throw, and that stresses coach out every time I do that, but it’s all worth it, I got the throw in,” Treviño said. “It took a lot of hard work and dedication over the past four years and I’m just proud that I got to this point. Not many people get to be here, but I’m just very blessed to be able to stand here at the University of Texas track stadium with the gold medal.”
His performance was so pure that the opposing coaches and throwers watching couldn’t help but clap it up for Treviño’s final attempt.
“The throwers’ community is amazing. It’s nothing like I’ve ever seen before. We’re all really united, and I really like that about this sport. If someone succeeds, everyone is behind you, it’s amazing. As soon as it left my hand, I felt it was going to be a good throw,” he said.
Treviño also posted a sixth-place finish in the discus with a throw of 154-02.
ON THE MONIE
Sharyland Pioneer thrower Daizy Monie qualified for state as a freshman, but finished in ninth place in discus at the state meet.
There would be no sophomore slump for Monie. Instead, she struck silver by taking home second place in 5A girls’ discus with a throw of 134-00.
“It was definitely a lot of nerves, I was feeling a lot of ways, but I told myself you need to relax, you need to control yourself and just throw and have fun,” Monie said.
With two more years ahead of her, she’s determined for more.
“Next year, I want to come back stronger, and that means this summer I’m going work a lot harder. During the offseason I’m going to work a lot harder and hopefully next year I can come back with the gold,” she said.
Fellow Diamondbacks Michael Landovazo and Parker Barrett finished in ninth place in the boys’ 110-meter hurdles and high jump, respectively.
LOOKING BACK ON DAY 1
McAllen Memorial sophomore Suzannah Swanson, the only RGV athlete to compete in three different events on the opening day of the UIL Track and Field State Championships, brought home the bronze in the girls seated shot put with a distance 10-07.75. Swanson followed that up by taking sixth in the Wheelchair 100-yard dash with a time of 24.85 and seventh in the wheelchair 400-meter dash.
Mission Veterans Charlee Salinas competed in both throwing events as the senior and lone representative from her school finished fourth in the shot put with a throw of 40-02.75, while coming in seventh in the discus with a distance of 122-03.
Three Yellow Jackets competed at the state meet as junior thrower Mackenzie Contreras finished seventh in the shot put with a heave of 40-02.75. Carlos Guerrero, a junior pole vaulter, cleared 15-00.00 to take eighth place, and sophomore Vanessa Cerda earned a sixth-place finish in the 5A girls 800-meter run with a time of 2:18.71.
The Rio Grande City pair of long-jump state qualifiers, senior Abelardo Lopez and junior Daniella Muñiz placed ninth in the boys’ and girls’ categories. Lopez’s best mark was 21-00.00, while Muñiz jumped 17-06.00. Muniz also competed in the 100, earning an eighth place in 12.58.