SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - Everything did
not go perfect for any of the Region IV-5A/6A championship teams on Friday and
Saturday at Heroes Stadium, but each team persevered through the unexpected
obstacles to come out on top. When the dust settled on Saturday it was the Smithson
Valley girls and Boerne Champion boys winning the 5A meet and the Reagan
Rattlers swept the 6A titles, a fifth straight for the girl's program.
Smithson Valley's Alyssa Jones was the brightest star in the 5A girls meet. The sophomore won the long jump on Friday with a leap of 19-2. On Saturday, she anchored the winning 4x200m relay team that set a meet record in the prelims and then she blew away the competition in the 200m with a winning time of 23.78.
Despite Jones' performance, the Rangers had not wrapped up the team title heading into the final event, the 4x400m relay. SV trailed Boerne Champion by one point and needed to finish ahead of the Chargers to secure the win. Jones got the relay started on the right foot with a blistering 57.20 lead leg and then her teammates Favour Uduji, Mia Perez and Jazmyn Singh made sure there was no doubt as they won the race by nearly seven seconds in 3:50.70.
Daisha Shular thrilled the crowd early on Saturday. First, she ran an amazing
anchor leg in the 4x100m relay that saw her get the baton down by 10 meters before
coming back to win. Then, in the 100m she exploded out of the blocks to win in
a meet record time of 11.44. She was also the runner-up in the long jump on
Friday. Wagner was the runner-up in the 4x100m relay.
Jones and Shular were not the only San Antonio area athletes to have a good meet. Singh and Wagner's Harmoniey Rector each advanced to the State meet in the 400m by going 1-2 for the third straight meet. Elizabeth Leachman of Champion won the 1600m one day after collapsing near the end of the 3200m and not being able to finish. Pieper's Caroline Peterson, the 2022 4A State Champion in the high jump, will get a chance for the 5A championship after clearing 5-6 to win the event. Canyon senior Grace Conley has been the best triple jumper in the Region all year long and she won with a leap of 38-9.5. Erin Fallon of Champion qualified in the 300m hurdles and Ella Pickron of Smithson Valley moved on in the pole vault.
There were a pair of sister duos that advanced to the State meet. Melody Espinoza and Marissa Espinoza of Brackenridge flip-flopped their finished in the 3200m and 1600m races. Melody came from way back in the 3200m to win on Friday while Marissa was fourth and then it was Marissa nabbing second place in the 1600m while Melody was third on Saturday. Champion's Mariela Gonzalez and Vanesa Gonzalez took turns in the sprint events. Vanesa was the runner-up in the 100m while Mariela was second in the 200m. The Champion 4x200m relay team also finished as runner-ups with both Gonzalez's on the team.
The 5A boys meet featured some unfortunate events for some of the top relay teams but it likely evened out in the end as Champion and Smithson Valley each dealt with issues. The SV 4x100m relay team entered the meet with the #2 seed time and were leading their preliminary heat when they were unable to complete the final exchange. The Chargers were #2 in the 4x400m relay and they had a dropped baton prevent them from advancing to the finals. Despite this, Champion had numerous individual step up to lead them to victory.
On Friday, Boerne Champion picked up huge points from horizontal jumpers Hayden Brace and Joshua Hierholzer. The duo was projected to score a total of eight points in the meet, but they ended up with 26 points in the long and triple jumps. Hierholzer was third and Brace was fourth in the long jump and then Hierholzer won the triple jump with a mark of 46-4 and Brace was third with a leap of 45-4.25.
On Saturday, Luis Tovar got the Chargers started on the right foot by taking second in the 800m. Then, Brock Lewis and Benjamin Blomqvist took over. Lewis won the 100m hurdles and added a fifth place in the 300m hurdles while Blomqvist was third in the 110's and second in the 300's for the team's final points leaving them comfortably ahead of second place Smithson Valley.
The San Antonio area is sending a lot of 5A boys to the State meet this year. Southwest Legacy's Anthony Zapata controlled the 800m race going start to finish to win in a time of 1:55.00. In the 400m, Smithson Valley pulled off a rare feat by having the top three finishers: Freddie Dubose, AJ Breault and Kevin Uduji. Dubose and Breault teamed with Jalen Davis and Elijah Hudson to win the 4x400m relay in 3:18.87. Joseph White of Alamo Heights entered the meet as one of the lowest seeded milers in the meet but surprised everyone by taking second place in a time of 4:21.28. Seguin opened the final day of the meet by getting their 4x100m relay into the State meet.
On Friday, Leo Bowen of Alamo Heights took care of business in the pole vault winning the meet with a clearance of 16-0. Meanwhile, SV's Jaxson Maynard knocked off some of the top contenders to take the silver in the discus with a throw of 172-1 to beat out Champion's Connor Warzecha by 10 inches for a berth in the State meet. Jefferson's Henok Hagos also opened the meet by taking second place in the 3200m with a nice time of 9:18.86.
The 6A girls team title came down to the 4x400m relay, but Reagan took control from the beginning and did not allow Judson to think they could pull off the upset. The Rattlers won the final race in 3:53.58 to cap off their fifth straight Regional title. It was twin sisters Isabella Dagrosa and Mackenzie Dagrosa who led they way just like they have all season long.
Isabella was the leading point-getter for the Rattlers. She won the 100m hurdles in a meet record time of 13.89 and she grabbed the 300m hurdle title with a time of 42.18 in addition to running the lead leg of the 4x400. On Friday, she took third in the long jump and missed the State meet by a half inch. Mackenzie won the high jump on Friday with a clearance of 5-8 and added a third-place finish in the 400m before anchoring the winning 4x400m relay.
Reagan was not the only girls team to have a good meet. Judson opened Saturday by winning the 4x100m relay behind Brianna Guidry, Aaliyah Henderson, Alexis Jessie and Darinasia Taylor. Henderson, Taylor and Jessie teamed with Jenisis Cordero to take second in the 4x200m relay. Jessie will also be competing at the State meet in the 200m and triple jump after earning runner-up honors in each.
Caila Lyons of Brennan, Ariana Sutton of Clemens and Mya Robinson of Taft each qualified for the State meet with a second-place finish. Lyons was in the 800m, Sutton made it in the 400m for the third straight year and Robinson advanced in the 100m hurdles.
The long jump was all local talent as Alyssa Rodriguez of Brandeis won and Iyanna Webb of Harlan was second. Dagrosa was third, Jessie finished fourth and Steele's Justice Boston was fifth to round it out. Webb and Jessie went 1-2 in the triple jump with Boston third and Rodriguez fourth. Ella Vajdos of New Braunfels was runner-up in the pole vault.
In the race for the 6A boys team title, Round Rock still had a chance to win the meet heading into the 4x400m relay if they could win the race and Reagan did not score. Round Rock did win the race in 3:18.90, but the Rattlers squad of Joshua Torres, Jadon Johnson, Carnell Weatherspoon and Jay Esquivel were able to finish fifth and earn the four points needed to win the meet.
Reagan was led by sprinter Ikenna Opara who anchored their winning 4x200m relay team in 1:27.40 and won the 200m in a fast time of 21.29 despite getting a slow start. Pole vaulter Samuel Abati gave them an important 10 points by winning with a clearance of 16-0. Their 4x100m relay team also picked up big points with a second-place finish in 41.73.
The local San Antonio athletes dominated the hurdle events. Malik White of Taft and Kyree Wilson of Brennan each broke the meet record in the 110m hurdles with White running 13.62 and Wilson running 13.64. James Voss of Brandeis was third and William Davis of Steele took fourth. Davis and Jacob Redding of New Braunfels came across the finish line together in the 300m hurdles with Davis winning in 38.53. Sotomayor, a first-year program, saw junior Elijah Hernandez qualify for the State meet in the 400m with his runner-up finish of 48.99.
The field events featured some of the best performances by local athletes. Rafe Clendenin of Brandeis won the discus with a throw of 181-8 while Michael Pinones of East Central broke his own city record in the shot put with a winning throw of 66-6.25. Brennan's Armando Acevedo continued his outstanding season by clearing 7-0 in the high jump for the second time this year en route to winning the event. Johnson's Thomas Bucks was runner-up in the pole vault while Exavion Harris of San Marcos moved on in the triple jump after a leap of 46-5.
While this is a recap of the San Antonio Metro area athletes, I would be remiss if I did not at least mention a few of the top performances from outside the city. San Juanita Leal of Edinburg North won the 6A girls 3200m on Friday with a great time of 10:31.54 and then capped it off by running away in the 1600m with a winning time of 4:51.93. Kevin Sanchez of Vandegrift and Ayden Granados of McAllen Memorial accomplished the same feat in the 6A and 5A boys, respectively. Keyshawn Garcia of Edinburg North pulled off the difficult task of winning the 400m-800m double in 6A boys by relying on an outstanding final kick in each event. Austin Westlake's Austin Torns set a meet record by running a 10.28 in the 100m and he also won the 6A long jump. Faith Franklin of Harlingen attempted to win the 100m, 200m and 400m. She won the 400m in 54.26 and the 200m in 24.29 and finished second in the 100m. Chesni Scott of Cedar Park Vista Ridge set a new meet record with a throw of 158-3 in the 6A girls discus while Chukwubueze Ikondu of Sharyland won the 5A boys with a throw of 193-2. Cedar Park's Amani Graham swept the 5A girls hurdle events winning both races. Gael Romo of Weslaco East put on an impressive performance in the 5A boys sprints, winning the 100m in 10.37 and the 200m in 21.28.