WIMBERLEY — After last week’s UIL 4A Area 27/28 track and field meet, the Gonzales Apaches will be bringing a bus load of athletes to the UIL Region IV-4A track meet this week in hopes of qualifying for state.
Top four athletes in each event qualified for the regional meet, while fifth-place finishers can travel as alternates.
“I had to take a back seat and realize we did pretty good at district and coming out of district our girls team going into an area meet,” Head Coach Cully Doyle said. “No excuses but our area is loaded. We know that. The region knows that. The whole state knows that. There are a lot of girls that are staying home from our area that would be at the state meet if they were in other areas. It’s a tough area but we take pride in that and the fact that that’s the standard, that’s where we want to be. That’s what I tell the kids all the time.
“Our goal was 17 events to represent. We represented 13. It wasn’t bad, at all so we’re excited about our opportunities once we got there.”
Lady Apaches area competitors include:
• Samantha Barnick, eighth, 1:05.67
• Haley Garza, fourth, 2:22.80
• Veronica Moreno, sixth, 5:40.95
• Haley Garza, eighth, 5:54.78
• Haley Garza, fifth, 12:18.89
• Veronica Moreno, eighth, 12:50.20
• Peyton Ruddock, fifth, 16.73
• Maggie Barnick, eighth, 17.43
• Maraia Mathis, seventh, 50.09
• Madison Blundell, eighth, 50.18
• Tyla Dalton, Johnna Dalton, Jacey Henrichs, Madison Singletary, sixth, 1:51.36
• Samantha Barnick, Maraia Mathis, Madison Blundell, Krystalynn Buesing, seventh, 4:23.44
• Devon Williams, first, 35-5 ¼
• Aukievah “Kiki” Fryer, fifth, 32-9
• Devon Williams, first, 111-0
• Alicia Ramirez, fifth, 99-10 ½
• Ali Rocha, ND
• Maggie Barnick, fifth, 5-0
• Caity Blundell, second, 10-0
• Johnna Dalton, sixth, 34-5 ½
Gonzales boys area competitors include:
• Juan Jordan, fourth, 11.34
• Josh Branch, fifth, 11.51
• Seth Gibson, DNS
• Antonio Hernandez, second, 2:05.10
• Antonio Hernandez, eighth, 5:00.27
• Juan Jordan, third, 15.19
• Juan Jordan, fourth, 40.56
• Adam Martinez, Seth Gibson, James Martinez, Josh Branch, eighth, 45.55
• Juan Castillo, Antonio Hernandez, Marvin Cardoza, Seth Gibson, sixth, 3:34.32
• Kenneth Cavit, seventh, 41-5 ¼
• Kenneth Cavit, sixth, 124-4 ½
• Juan Jordan, fourth, 43-0
“Haley Garza qualified in three events to the area meet, then went on to qualify in the 800 at the regional meet,” Doyle said. “That was big. She’s working hard, obviously. She’s committed to Sam Houston State University, a Division I school that thinks she’s pretty good — we do too. Her work ethic speaks volumes for itself. Nothing I can really say to express my appreciation for her and what she’s done for herself and her program. Excited for her future.”
Doyle also gave props to Antonio Hernandez, who qualified in the 800-meter boys run.
“This is the first time he’s going to regionals in track, so that’s a big step for him,” Doyle said of the sophomore runner. “Haley’s been there and done it, so experience is going to help her. Antonio in track missed it last year, he was an alternate, so he gets to represent this year, so that’s cool.”
Devon William earned the area championship in shot put and discus.
“She’s really stepping up and really coming in to her own a little bit and realizing, we talk about being humble all year long, but she’s pretty good,” Doyle said. “She was the district champ in shot put and discus. And then she was the area champion in shot put and discus. That was big, because our area is really good. We know where we can go represent at that moment. She gets to go to the regional meet. It’s not going to be new to her because she was there as a freshman last year in both of the same events. The biggest difference is she didn’t win [the area meet] last year. This year she did.”
Another medal winner was Caity Blundell who took second in pole vault. Blundell reaches the regionals as a freshman.
Doyle also highlighted Peyton Ruddock. Despite missing out on a qualification, the freshman track athlete will travel with the team as an alternate.
“All alternates are one call away from being able to run,” Doyle said of the “special athlete,” as he calls her.
One athlete Doyle couldn’t speak enough about is Juan Jordan. Jordan has never competed in the area meet, and now, as a senior, will be able to compete in four different events in the Region IV-4A meet after his area triumphs.
“Juan Jordan is special,” Doyle said. “Not just track. Just a special kid, a special person. Just sitting here, I can sit here and talk a whole newspaper, not just an article, and fill up on Juan Jordan and he deserves it. He’s come a long ways. He’s lived a life of opportunities to go the wrong way and a lot of kids have chosen the wrong path and he’s chosen the right path, he’s chosen to be around the positive influences and Coach [Kevin] Johnson has done a good job with him. We’re super crazy proud of that kid.”
Jordan bested his personal record for each of his four events — 100-meter run, 110-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles and the triple jump.
“It was amazing to watch,” Doyle noted. “In seventh and eighth grade he was the slowest kid in our program. Here we are taking him to regionals in four events. It’s amazing. Just a kid that never gave up. Real testament to the phrase ‘hard work.’”
The Gonzales Apache regional qualifiers will travel to Kingsville for the UIL Region IV-4A track and field meet at Javelina Stadium in Texas A&M University – Kingsville this week, April 27-28.