With a girls’ area championship already in hand, the Gonzales Apaches track and field teams competed at the Region IV-4A meet in hopes of qualifying multiple athletes to the state meet. After some tough competition, the Apaches will be represented in three events in Austin, with Devon Williams qualifying for the girls’ shot put and discus events and Antonio Hernandez running the boys’ 800-meter race.
“Overall I thought the kids did pretty awesome,” head girls track coach Cully Doyle said. “The goal is to get to the state meet ever year. That’s the number one goal.”
Williams will be competing at the state meet for the second year in a row after winning the Region IV-4A shot put event for the second year in a row, beating out Giddings’ Ebony Wolridge who won the state meet last season. Williams took silver in the discus behind Rio Grande City’s Abigail Flores.
“This year’s region is the toughest it’s ever been in the discus and the shot put,” Doyle said. “[Williams] went out there, she threw 146-8 [in discus], that is currently the number three in the state of Texas now. That’s huge. Our goal is nonetheless to win the state championship. Second goal is if you can’t win the state championship, get on the medal stand. We’re past the point of ‘glad to be at state.’ now the expectation is to get on that medal stand. Super excited for her, she’s got a big opportunity. Currently now we can say she’s the two-time defending regional champion in the shot put. Won it last year as a sophomore, won it again this year.”
Hernandez will be making his state-meet debut after taking second in the 800-meter run to Stafford’s Sterling Riles.
“That kid runs with me 12 months out the year,” Doyle explained. “He goes through a grind. And then gets to soccer season and then we’re running and getting through soccer. We modify a little bit through soccer season just to keep him healthy but I’m going to tell you, that kid is special. I predicted he was going to win the regional meet, he ended up second. Maybe I jinxed him, I don’t know, but I’m going to tell you, he is that good. We just got to continue to learn how to race. His workouts have been really on par. Of course, you got to have a little luck, stay healthy and have a little luck.”
Competing on the girls side was Veronica Moreno in the 800-meter, 1600-meter and 3200-meter races.
“That’s tough to do,” Doyle said. “Off my notes she was the only one in the region who ran all three races. She did well. She earned those opportunities, so I’m proud of her. She ran the two-mile on Friday morning, she came back and ran the 800 and came back and ran the mile. Just super proud of that girl.”
Peyton Ruddock was another competitor with multiple events, qualifying in the 100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles, long jump and 100-meter dash. Doyle and the coaching staff opted to pull her from the 100-meter dash to allow for some rest time in between races.
“We gambled on that, just trying to get her some rest time in between, try to keep her focused on some things throughout the day,” Doyle added. “She did really well in the 100-meter hurdles. She ran PR, ran a personal best, 15.7, ended up fourth place. She made the finals in the 100-meter hurdles, ended up fourth place, so she did really good there. Obviously did good in the long jump, did good in the 300-meter hurdles, did good in those races.”
Sophomore Sam Barnick competed in the long jump and triple jump while Caity Blundell took part in the pole vault.
Doyle noted that he was “super proud” of both sophomores and said he was excited for their future and progression.
On the boys side, Zach Davis ran the 100-meter dash, Will Knox competed in the pole vault, Jared “JT” Esparza took on the discus while Kenneth Cavit barely missed out on making it to state with his fourth-place finish in the discus and shot put throws. The 4x200-meter relay team also competed at the regional meet.
The UIL Track and Field State meet takes place at Mike A. Myers Stadium from May 10-11.